STILLWATER, Okla. — When 184-pounder Tony Dallago pinned Oklahoma State's Chris McNeil to give Illinois a 15-13 lead against the top-ranked Cowboys with two matches remaining in Sunday's national semifinal, it looked like the fifth-ranked Illini might be headed toward a banner day.
But host Oklahoma State won the next two matches to claim a 19-15 win and a berth in the national championship dual.
Illinois would drop the third-place match to No. 4 Iowa 28-6 later on.
"The Oklahoma State match was very emotionally charged for our guys," Illinois coach Jim Heffernan said. "I think it took a lot out of us judging by the outcome of the Iowa match."
Eric Terrazas and Mario Gonzalez picked up wins for the Illini against the Hawkeyes.
Jesse Delgado, Jackson Morse, Conrad Polz and dallago posted wins in the semifinal against Oklahoma State.
Kravetz rescues Illini. Brandon Hohl and Jordan Parr both homered to back a solid outing in relief by freshman John Kravetz in Illinois' 9-4 win against No. 27 St. John's in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in Clearwater, Fla.
The right-hander came on in the first inning in relief of starter Nick Chmielewski, who allowed three earned runs while retiring just one batter.
Kravetz pitched 6- 2/3 innings, of scoreless relief for Illinois (1-2), allowing two hits and striking out six.
"We did a great job in a lot of areas and got away with a win," Illinois coach Dan Hartleb said. "It's important for our guys to learn how to win and to start winning, so it was a big day for us and I'm very pleased with the performance. We got in trouble early in the first inning and brought John Kravetz in for his first college appearance. He gave us six scoreless innings and was very, very good. He came in with the bases loaded and got a ground ball for a double play, then cruised from there. Offensively, I thought we did a very good job of moving runners and we had a couple big home runs early to get us right back in the game."
Davis Hendrickson had three hits, an RBI and scored two runs. Hohl (two runs), Kelly Norris-Jones (two RBI) and Reid Roper all had two hits.
Illini walk off with win. Meredith Hackett singled home Kelley Wedel in the bottom of the seventh, lifting Illinois to a 1-0 win against Pittsburgh at the Texas Invitational at Austin.
The walkoff heroics backed a seven-inning, two-hit shutout by right-hander Pepper Gay who struck out six.
Wedel had two of the four hits for Illinois (3-5). Jess Perkins also had a hit.
In women's gymnastics:
Joannides shines in win. Kelsey Joannides won the vault, beam and all-around in helping No. 18 Illinois to a 195.775-195.525 win at No. 25 Arizona State.
Alina Weinstein finished second to Joannides on the beam and the Illini scored big on the floor exercise with Weinstein, Amber See and Joannides finishing second, third and fourth, respectively.
In women's tennis:
Illini fall at Notre Dame. Rachael White and Chelcie Abajian each won singles matches for Illinois but it wasn't enough in a 4-3 loss at No. 23 Notre Dame.
White teamed with Akkison Falkin to win in doubles and the Illini claimed the doubles point, thanks to a victory by the team of Marisa Lambropoulos and Melissa Kopinski.
But the Irish swept the top four singles matches to secure the win.