From last night: IU wins opener against Illinois

Brad Hartong drove in three runs and Joey DeNato struck out eight batters in five innings to lead Indiana to a 9-3 win over Illinois in the opener of that key Big Ten series, taking a three-game lead in the Big Ten standings. The release from IU follows.


The senior LHP improved to 9-1 this year by going eight innings for the win 

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The Indiana Hoosiers (27-11, 12-1 Big Ten) scored in six different innings and went on to claim a 9-3 victory against Illinois (22-16, 9-4 Big Ten) in the first game of a three game series at Illinois Field.

Senior pitcher Joey DeNato (9-1) went 8.0 innings and gave up three runs on 11 hits while striking out five on his way to the win. Luke Harrison recorded two strikeouts in the ninth to close things out.

Indiana saw eight different players record at least one hit and have five players with two hits in the game. Brad Hartong led the way with two hits and three RBI, giving him eight RBI in his last two games.

Sam Travis, Scott Donley, Dustin DeMuth and Will Nolden all had two hits and two runs scored for a balanced Indiana offense.

The 13 hits in the game marked the 19th game with 10 or more hits this season.

The Hoosiers opened the scoring in the top of the second inning with back-to-back singles from DeMuth and Hartong getting things started. A sac bunt by Nolden advanced both runners and then DeMuth scampered home on a groundout by Nick Ramos to give IU the 1-0 lead.

In the third inning, Travis drew a two out walk and was followed by a single by Scott Donley. DeMuth singled again to push Travis across the plate before Hartong double to right center to score two more and make it a 3-0 edge.

The next inning started with a Nolden single before he stole second and moved to third on a ground out. Then, with two outs, Casey Rodrigue lined a triple to left field to drive in a run. Kyle Schwarber wasted no time and tripled into the right center gap to drive in Rodrigue and make it a 5-0 game.

After Illinois scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Hoosiers manufactured a run that culminated with a sac fly by Hartong.

Travis clubbed his sixth home run of the year in the seventh inning, a solo blast to left field to make it 8-3.

When the top of the eighth inning rolled around, Nolden was back at it, doubling to right center. He was still there with two outs in the inning when Tim O’Conner hit a slow chopper into the gap on the left side of the infield. The shortstop fielded the ball and threw off-balance to first but O’Conner beat it out for a hit. Nolden was hustling the whole way from second base and was able to score on a nifty slide around the catch at the plate.

The teams will continue the series at Illinois Field on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.