April 4, 1998
Wildcats Drop Two at Illinois
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois pitchers Brett Weber and Cody Salter allowed just six hits over 14 innings of work as the Fighting Illini swept a Saturday afternoon doubleheader from NU, 8-0 and 8-0. Illinois is now 16-11 and atop the Big Ten at 5-1. NU drops to 14-9, 2-4 Big Ten.
In game one, Weber allowed only a first-inning single to shortstop Jeremy Kurella, who was picked off shortly thereafter. The only other Wildcat to reach base was first baseman Patrick Thompson, who was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. Illinois built their lead slowly, scoring at least one run in each of the first five innings. NU starter Chris Hargan (2-2) scattered nine hits in six innings in the loss. Four of the eight Illini runs were unearned. Weber (5-2) fanned five batters and walked none in the one-hitter.
Game two looked like it would be different as Kurella knocked a one-out single in the top of the first. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brian Baron. Thompson followed with a single to right field, but Kurella slipped at third base and had to hold up. Ollie Dunn grounded out to end the scoring threat. Again, Illinois slowly built the lead, the big blow a three-run homer in the third inning by Kevin Rudden, giving UI a 4-0 lead off Wildcat starter Nick Franzese (2-2). Salter (3-4) went the distance, allowing five hits while walking one and fanning two batters. Offensively, Kurella went 2-for-3 in game two and ended the doubleheader with three of NU's six hits.
A bright spot for NU continued to be the team's ability to turn the double play. The 'Cats turned four twin-killings on Saturday, improving their Big Ten leading total to 34 on the season. NU and Illinois will end the weekend series with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Sunday.
NU 000 000 0 0-1-3 (2 LOB)
Illinois 121 130 X 8-9-1 (7 LOB)
WP - Weber (5-2). LP - Hargan (2-2).
NU 000 000 0 0-5-1 (6 LOB)
Illinois 013 112 X 8-10-0 (4 LOB)
WP - Salter (3-4). LP - Franzese (2-2)