The Illinois Fighting Illini (0-2) kept the game close, but could not beat the No. 25 Louisville Cardinals (1-1).
Lefty SP Rob McDonnell (L, 0-1) started the game for the Illini, pitching 5 and 2/3 innings, collecting 4 strikeouts and 2 walks while allowing 2 ER. Meanwhile, the Louisville starter, SP Jeff Thompson (W, 1-0), pitched bullets through the first six innings. Thompson struck out 8 batters and walked only 2 through his first six frames, but he hit trouble in the seventh as the Illini offense woke up.
Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the 7th, LF Justin Parr slashed a single to right on a 1-1 count -- only the Illini's third hit in the game. Back-to-back walks from 3B Brandon Hohl and 2B Reid Roper chased Thompson from the game, leading to a CF Willie Argo RBI single, an RBI ground into double play and a RF Davis Hendrickson RBI single, bringing the Illini in close with a 4-3 deficit.
The Louisville bullpen settled down after that, as RP Derek Self and RP Matt Koch combined for 3 scoreless innings, 3 strikeouts and no walks, ending the game with a 4-3 Illini loss.
Illinois will be back in action on Sunday, taking on the St. John's Red Storm at 9:00 a.m. CT.
Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more on Illini baseball throughout the season. For more on the Illini check out Hail to the Orange.