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April 18, 1999

Champaign, Ill. – The Ohio State baseball team completed its sweep of Illinois with 10-4 and 9-6 victories in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Illinois Field. The Buckeyes have now won six straight games and sit in first place in the Big Ten with an 11-1 conference mark. OSU is 27-7 overall. It marks the second four-game Big Ten sweep for OSU this year.

Game One – Ohio State 10, Illinois 4

The Ohio State baseball team scored nine runs in the final three innings for a 10-4 come-from-behind victory over Illinois Sunday afternoon. It was the third game of the four game series and the third straight win for OSU. The first-place Buckeyes improved to 26-7 overall and 10-1 in the Big Ten. Illinois falls to 20-15 overall and 7-8 in the conference.

OSU knocked 14 hits – including a season high nine doubles – in the win. Chad Ehrnsberger led the Buckeyes offensively by going 2-4 with a home run, a double, and three RBIs. Trent McIlvain went 3-4 with three runs scored for OSU.

Freshman pitcher E.J. Laratta notched his second ever complete game and improved to 5-1 on the year. Laratta surrendered four earned runs over the seven innings and struck out three.

Illinois jumped to a 2-0 lead in its half of the second when Kevin Rudden homered to right field, scoring Todd McClure who had singled an out earlier.

OSU cut the Illini lead in half in the top of the third. Trent McIlvain led off the frame with a bloop double to center, and Mike Lockwood followed with a single to right, scoring McIlvain.

Illinois played longball again in the third. Designated hitter Luke Simmons lined a two-run homer to rightfield off his former high school teammate – OSU starter E.J. Laratta – to give the Illini a 4-2 lead. The home run scored Jon Anderson, who had started the rally with a double to center. After three, Illinois led 4-1.

Illinois pitcher Tim Lavery stymied OSU hitters after surrendering the run scoring single to Lockwood. Lavery retired seven straight after that point, but Trent McIlvain eventually broke that streak with a single to center in the fifth. Lockwood followed with a double to center, advancing McIlvain to third. Tom Durant then provided a clutch two-run double off the wall in right-center, scoring Lockwood and McIlvain. After Jason Trott grounded to the right side to advance Durant to third, Chad Ehrnsberger stepped in and drove an outside pitch over the right field wall for a two run home run. The shot gave OSU a 5-4 lead after four and a half innings.

OSU extended its lead in the sixth. Jason Driscoll and John Mayor led off the inning with singles up the middle. Matt Middleton then grounded out to the right side, driving in Driscoll. Trent McIlvain stepped in and drove a hard ground ball down the third base line for a stand up double, scoring Mayor. Tom Durant reached on a walk an out later, and Jason Trott then cranked a two-run double off the right-center field wall, scoring McIlvain and Durant. Ehrnsberger then doubled to center, scoring Trott. OSU sent nine batters to the plate in their five run sixth and hit three doubles. After five and a half innings, OSU led 10-4.

After surrendering the home run to his high school teammate Simmons, Laratta settled into a groove. The Cherry Creek, Colo. Native retired 10 of the next 12 batters and surrendered only one hit – an infield single. He also retired the Illini in order in the seventh and final inning.

Game Two – Ohio State 9, Illinois 6

Ohio State completed its sweep of Illinois with a 9-6 victory in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon. OSU improves to 27-7 overall and 11-1 in the Big Ten.

Jason Turner led OSU in the victory by going 2-4 with five RBIs. The win was the sixth straight for Ohio State.

Ohio State scored first in game four for the first time in the series. Mike Lockwood led things off with a walk and, one out later, Jason Trott also drew a walk. Chad Ehrnsberger then delivered a two-run double, scoring Lockwood easily and Trott on a close play at the plate. Ehrnsberger advanced to third on the throw home, then later scored on a wild pitch by Illinois starter Travis Rehrer. After a half inning, OSU led 3-0.

The Buckeyes got three runs on just one hit in the next inning. Trent McIlvain was hit by a pitch, and Tom Durant and Chad Ehrnsberger both drew walks before Jason Turner delivered a clutch two-out double to right-center field. After one and a half innings, OSU led 6-0.

Illinois scored three runs in its half of the second with some help from the Buckeyes. Craig Marquie led off the inning by reaching on an error. Kevin Rudden then singled to left. Jon Anderson followed with a single to left one out later, scoring Marquie. T.J. Jackson then blooped a single to left, driving in Rudden and Anderson.

The Illini scored again in the bottom of the third when a Kevin Rudden groundout scored D.J. Svihlik.

OSU cracked the scoreboard again in the fourth with help from Illinois starter Travis Rehrer, who continually battled control problems. Tom Durant led off the inning with a walk, Jason Trott was hit by a pitch, and Chad Ehrnsberger drew a free pass to load the bases. It was Turner again who delivered with the bases loaded, this time with a bloop single to center scoring Durant and Trott. After three and a half, OSU led 8-4.

Illinois continued its home run barrage in the bottom of the fourth. T.J. Jackson went deep to center, scoring Jon Anderson who had led off the inning with a single. Nate Smith then entered the game for OSU, taking the mound and relieving starter Kurt Fullenkamp. Smith retired three of the next four hitters and got the Buckeyes out of the inning without any further damage.

OSU got a run back in the fifth. Lockwood led off the inning with a single and promptly stole second. Jason Trott then singled to right field, scoring Lockwood easily. In the middle of the fifth, OSU led 9-6.

— OSU —