Nashville, TN – In the first game of the Nashville Regional, No. 3 seed Illinois defeated No. 2 seed Georgia Tech, 6-4, May 31st at Hawkins Field.
Illinois advances to play the winner of Vanderbilt University and East Tennessee State University contest on June 1st, at 7:00p.m. CT.
Georgia Tech will play the loser of Vanderbilt and ETSU game June 1st, at 2:00p.m.
The Fighting Illini were led by Jordan Parr’s two home runs and three RBI on the day. Parr was 2-for-5 at the plate overall. His brother Justin Parr was also 2-for-5 with an RBI.
Kevin Duchene went seven innings and ran his record to 9-1 on the season for Illinois. Duchene struck out five batters, while allowing three runs on eight hits. Bryan Roberts came in to record his eighth save of the season.
Georgia Tech’s Daniel Palka was 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored. Starting pitcher Dusty Isaacs took the loss (4-8) after going five and one-third innings and giving up four runs on five hits with three walks.
As a team, Illinois finished with nine hits, while the Yellow Jackets registered 10.
Georgia Tech Postgame Notes
** Junior RF Daniel Palka finished the game 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and two runs. In his nine-game NCAA postseason career, he’s hitting 14-for-31 (.452) with three doubles, a triple, two homers, six RBI and seven runs.
** Palka also pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, lowing his team-leading ERA to 0.69 this season. He’s allowed just one run in 13.0 IP.
** Sophomore 2B Thomas Smith had the first two hits of his NCAA postseason career (2-for-15) and his home run was the third of his career. All three homers have come this season.
** Tech falls to 65-58 all-time in NCAA postseason play, including a 37-39 record award from home in postseason play.
** Tech out-hit Illinois, 10-9, and fell to 30-9 when outhitting the opposition this season.
** Sophomore 1B A.J. Murray was 2-for-3 and extended his hitting streak to four games.
** Junior LF Kyle Wren had two hits to extend his ACC-leading hit total to 93 this season.
Georgia Tech Coach Danny Hall
“I really want to credit Illinois. The two home runs hurt us early because it got them out to a big lead. The Parr brothers definitely did some damage. Offensively, I thought we hit some balls awfully hard, but right at them. We just couldn’t quite get that two-out hit. They really just limited us to one run at a time it seemed like. I thought we did a good job of getting back into the game, but couldn’t quite crack the code.”
On closing the lead to one, only to have Illinois stretch it back open:
“I felt like we were chipping away for sure and we got within one run. You really need your pitcher to put a zero up in that situation, but we couldn’t do it. I thought we were really close and sometimes the difference between winning and losing is inches on a pitch or inches on a play and it just didn’t go our way today.”
On starting pitcher Dusty Isaacs:
“I thought he walked too many guys. He really didn’t have good command of anything and he hung a breaking ball to Jordan Parr, and good hitters like that don’t miss them, so he hit that one (out of the park). Then again, Jordan (Parr) led that inning with his second home run. The last thing (assistant coach) Jason Howell said to him was attack him (Jordan Parr) down in the zone and the pitch was literally belt high, and again he didn’t miss it. We didn’t make the pitch we wanted to, but give him credit. Two home runs on the opening day of the NCAA Tournament is a pretty good day.”
Georgia Tech third baseman Sam Dove
On what the team saw from Illinois starting pitcher Kevin Duchene:
“He was throwing fastball, slider and a couple change-ups. He was locating his fastball down in the zone and did a good job of moving it in and out (of the strike zone). Give him a credit because he did a good job of keeping us off balance.”
On his triple:
“When Dan (Palka) hit his I noticed the wind was blowing pretty well and his carried. The center fielder had been playing pretty shallow, so when I hit it I knew it had a pretty good chance of getting over his head.”
Coach Dan Hartleb opening statement:
“I thought our guys played extremely well today. To start the game off, Kevin Duchene was outstanding. True freshmen stuffed into a tough situation this year when our number one went down, and we have not skipped a beat. I was really pleased with his composure. He put a lot of zeroes up early. We capitalized in the middle innings when Jordan hit the big home run- got us on the board, and from that point on, we were able to run and put pressure on the opposition. I thought we did a good job with our scoring position for the most part, and as usual, we played really well defensively, and we continued to do that today. It’s nice to stay in the winner’s bracket, and I thought our guys played extremely well.
Starting pitcher Kevin Duchene
On Georgia Tech getting runs and staying in the game:
“I wanted to stay in. After they put together that two run inning, I came in and told them I feel good, and I want to go back out there. They had gotten through the order a couple times and they put a couple big swings on good pitchers.
On emotions starting this game:
“This was one of the first times I’ve had butterflies. Coming into the regional, I knew that it was going to be a big situation, and I just stayed as down to earth as I could and told myself it was just another game. There were a couple times I got a little excited, knocked a couple balls up, but other than that, I thought I channeled it pretty well.”
Jordan Parr on his two home runs:
“I didn’t know either of them were gone when I hit them. That second one got a little lucky, the wind was blowing out. They were two good swings, just kind of thankful for them.”
“You’re just so thankful when you can help your team win. Baseball is a really tough game, and I came off a really rough Big Ten tournament. The team has picked me up and we got a win there. It’s good to go out there and have a good game.”
Coach Hartleb on two runs in the 8th:
“They started to get some swings off Kevin, and he did a good job battling. Right out of the bullpen I thought we had some butterflies and walked too many people, so those run allowed our relievers to have a little bit of a margin there, and give them a little more right piece of mind. Any time you have a lead and you get to add on, it helps the psyche in your dugout. I was really proud of our offense to get a lead, and we continued to add on to get ourselves in a good position.”
SectionsBaseball, NCAA, Schools, Southeastern Conference, Sports, Vanderbilt University
Topics2013 NCAA baseball Championship, A.J. Murray, ACC, Atlantic Athletic Conference, Baseball, Big 10, Big 10 Conference, Bryan Roberts, Dan Hartleb, Daniel Palka. Dusty Isaacs, Danny Hall, East Tennessee State University, ETSU, Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech University, hawkins Field, Illinois, Jason Howell, Jordan Parr, June 1st, Justin Parr, Kevin Duchene, Kyle Wren, May 31st, Nashville Regional, Nashville TN, NCAA, Sam Dove, The Fighting Illini, Thomas SMith, University of Illinois, Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt University, Vandy, Yellow Jackets