Feb. 16, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The bats were quiet in game one and big innings burned the Boilermakers in the nightcap as Purdue baseball dropped both games of a season-opening doubleheader at Tennessee, 3-0 and 20-2, Sunday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (0-2) were limited to just one hit in game one, suffering their first season-opening loss since 2010. Purdue was shutout for the first time since the finale of the Ohio State series in March of last season and blanked for the first time in a season opener since 2007.
The Volunteers (2-0) scored three or more runs in an inning four times while pounding out 23 hits in game two. The Boilers used eight pitchers in the nightcap after starter Kyle Wood was only able to record one out.
Conner Hudnall doubled off the wall in right field in both games. But on both occasions, Purdue failed to fully capitalize on the extra-base hits.
Game one starter Jordan Minch got off to a good start, striking out the first two batters of the game and three of the first six batters he faced. But a pair of two-out hits and a walk in the bottom of the third allowed Tennessee to score a pair of runs to build a lead it would not relinquish.
Even though it was a slow day for the Purdue offense and the pitchers struggled in the nightcap, the Boilers were not really done in by giving away free bases and playing sloppy baseball. Despite not being able to practice outside during the preseason due to the harsh winter throughout the Midwest, Purdue was not charged with a fielding error Sunday. The Boilermakers were also able to put the ball in play consistently, striking out only 10 times in 67 plate appearances over the two games. Three of those 10 Ks came in the ninth inning of game two.
Seven Purdue newcomers made their team debuts, four at the plate and four on the mound. Freshman Ted Snidanko started both games in left field and freshman Jordan Lewis was in the lineup in right field for game two. Jeff Evak singled in his first collegiate at-bat, which came in game two. Lewis was robbed of a hit in his first at-bat on a nice diving stop by the Tennessee second baseman. Newcomers Matt Frawley and Brett Haan were the first Boilers used in relief, respectively, in the two games.
The series finale is set for Monday at 4 p.m.
Game One Recap
Purdue had an opportunity to take an early lead after Hudnall doubled to begin the second inning. He took third on a well-executed sacrifice bunt by Snidanko, who bunted the ball down the third base line on the first pitch he saw. But after Jack Picchiotti was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners, Tennessee starter Hunter Martin escaped the jam by striking out Kyle Johnson and getting Steve Maniago to ground out to first base.
The Boilermakers only had three base runners the rest of the game and all three were erased on the base paths by double plays and a caught stealing. The Volunteers' Nick Williams worked five innings of hitless relief, retiring 13 of the 15 batters he faced and 10 in a row at one point.
Nick Senzel's two-out double in the third inning gave Tennessee its first run of the season. He later scored on a base hit from David Houser. Minch bounced back with a 1-2-3 fourth inning but couldn't finish off the bottom of the fifth before his pitch count climbed over 80.
After Frawley walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, he responded by striking out the next two hitters. He worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning, but left the game with two outs in the seventh after getting hit in the side by a line drive.
Catcher Sean McHugh threw out a pair of would-be basestealers, eliminating the runner after a leadoff single on two occasions in the process. Mike Lutz went on to work a scoreless eighth inning after the assist from his battery mate.
Game Two Recap
Wood walked the first two batters he faced and gave way to the bullpen after consecutive RBI singles made it 4-0 Tennessee with still only one out in the first inning.
Purdue got back in the game with a single tally in the second and third innings, but it failed to fully capitalize for additional runs in both frames. Johnson drove in the Boilers' first run of the season with an RBI single in top of the second, plating Snidanko from second base. But Tennessee's Will Maddox made the nice diving stop to take away an RBI single from Lewis moments later. The Volunteers then retired Brandon Krieg to strand runners on second and third.
An inning later, McHugh was thrown out a home by a wide margin as he tried to score from first base on Hudnall's second double of the night. Cody Strong did score on the two-bagger after drawing a walk to begin the frame.
Tennessee blew the game open with a seven-run third inning, sending 11 men to the plate. Six consecutive UT batters reached base safely, including four straight run-scoring hits, during the rally.
Haan induced an inning-ending double play ball off the bat of the first batter he faced to end the rally in the first inning. He pitched over a pair of singles in a scoreless second inning but got roughed up in the seven-run third.