April 30, 1997

Purdue Defeats Valparaiso in Rain-Shortened Game

VALPARAISO, Ind. - The old adage "defense wins games" rang true at Emory G. Bauer Field in Valparaiso Wednesday afternoon. Valparaiso made two costly errors early to spot Purdue a pair of runs and a lead that the Boilermakers would never relinquish en route to a 6-3 five-inning victory. Then second baseman Rod Metzler fielded a difficult ground ball in the bottom of the fifth to start a double play that would seal the victory.

Freshman Jeremy Ballard pitched the full five innings to earn the win for the Boilermakers. The righthander struck out eight in his first start of the season. At the plate, Purdue scored first with two unearned runs in the second. With one out, junior Robb Ramacher doubled off the wall in left field. Lafayette native Ryan Cole grounded a 3-2 pitch to the right side, advancing Ramacher and an errant throw by Crusader second baseman Josh McInyre allowed Ramacher to score and Cole to advance to second. After a groundout, Cole scored on a single by freshman Chris Walker.

Purdue added another pair in the third on a single by designated hitter Bill Bennett and a triple by first baseman Mike Rothstein. The Boilers scored their final two in the fifth. Bennett led off the inning with his sixth home run of the season. Catcher Anthony Grieco singled and scored on a triple by Cole. The double play started by Metzler in the bottom half of the inning made the game official. The timing was critical, because minutes later after Walker had ledd off the sixth with a triple to left-center, rain and lightening forced the teams to the dugouts. A torrential downpour caused the game to be called.

"I'm glad that we got a chance to play this one," said head coach Steve Green. "Ballard got the chance to work on some things on the mound, and he responded by sitting down eight guys. We continued to hit well, and that has our expectations high as we enter this crucial series with Indiana this weekend."

The Boilermakers have won 16 of their last 21 and improve to 24-23 on the season. They return to action with a four-game series against Indiana. Friday and Sunday the two teams square off with nine-inning games in Bloomington. Saturday they will play a pair of seven-inning games at Lambert Field.