April 28, 2000
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Ohio State baseball team (27-17 overall, 8-9 in the Big Ten) lost game one of a four-game series against the Illinois Fighting Illini (30-16 overall, 14-7 in the Big Ten), 5-2, in front of 1,018 at Illinois Field. Chris Alvord (Jr., Mentor, Ohio) and Mike Check (Jr., Bay Village, Ohio) drove in OSU’s only runs of the ballgame.
“We had opportunites early in the ballgame,” head coach Bob Todd said. “You can’t expect to beat a good team like Illinois when you strand nine runners.”
In the bottom half of the third inning, Illinois took the first lead of the ballgame. Brady Ballard and Joe Parenti led off with back-to-back hits. Two batters later, Ballard scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Basak and Craig Marquie followed with a one run double to bring home Parenti and give the Fighting Illini a 2-0 lead.
Illinois added another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs, Basak reached base on a fielding error by OSU second baseman Chad Ehrnsberger (Jr., Kalida, Ohio). Marquie quickly made OSU pay for the mistake with a double down the right field line to score Basak and increase the Fighting Illini lead to 3-0.
The Buckeyes cut the UI lead to 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs, Alvord and Jason Driscoll (Sr., Middlefield, Ohio) drilled back-to-back singles. Check then followed and continued his torrid hitting with runners in scoring position by lining a single to left field to score Alvord and give OSU its first run of the game.
In the bottom half of the seventh, D.J. Svihlik hit a two-run home run over the right field wall off a 1-0 offering from OSU starting pitcher E.J. Laratta (So., Englewood, Colo.) to give UI a 5-1 lead. In the top of the ninth, Trent McIlvain (Jr., Louisville, Ohio) drilled a one-out triple to the right field alley. Alvord immediately followed with a double to score McIlvain and cut the UI lead to 5-2.
Laratta tossed a complete game but saw his record drop to 5-4. He gave up 12 hits, five runs, four earned runs and stuck out a pair. Jason Anderson pitched a complete game for Illinois and improved his record to 9-2.
Tomorrow, the two teams return to Illinois Field for a twi-night doubleheader at 5:05 p.m.