Nine-Run Inning Burns Boilers in Challenge Loss to USF

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Mike Gaglianese induced a double play ball & struck out a pair in his two innings of scoreless relief.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Mike Gaglianese induced a double play ball & struck out a pair in his two innings of scoreless relief.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 16, 2013

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CLEARWATER, Fla. -- South Florida scored nine runs in the first inning and added onto its lead in six of the final eight frames, rolling past Purdue baseball, 20-2, Saturday evening on day two of the Big East/Big Ten Challenge.

The Boilermakers' five-game win streak at the season-opening event was snapped Saturday evening. Purdue's last lost at the Challenge was a 19-2 thumping at the hands of Notre Dame on day of the event two years ago. The Boilers bounced back the next day, defeating Pittsburgh to finish the 2011 Challenge with a 2-1 record.

Purdue (1-1) takes on No. 4 Louisville (10 a.m.) and Connecticut (1 p.m.) Sunday at Al Lang Stadium on the waterfront in Downtown St. Petersburg. Connecticut won a 15-inning game against Indiana Saturday evening.

The Boilermakers issued 14 free passes (nine walks, five hit batters) on the mound and committed four errors defensively. Purdue also botched a potential double play ball as USF was scoring its first run of the night.

Seven of the nine runs scored by the South Florida (1-1) in the top of the first were unearned after an inning-opening throwing error by second baseman Brandon Krieg helped set the stage for the rally.

In his collegiate debut, Jordan Minch was unable to pitch over the early miscue. A walk and a hit batter loaded the bases before Purdue could record an out. Minch got James Falla to hit a ground ball to shortstop where Bennett Oliver fielded cleanly. But after moving toward the second base bag for what looked like it could be a 6-3 double play, Oliver flipped the ball to Krieg at the last moment. The timing of the play was disrupted and the Boilers were fortunate to get the one out at second base.

Back-to-back RBI singles from USF's Chris Norton and Levi Borders followed, and another walk loaded the bases again. Minch struck out Anthony Diaz for the second out of the inning, but he lost nine hitter Nik Alfonso after jumping ahead in the count early, issuing a bases-loaded walk.

In his second at-bat of the frame, leadoff man James Ramsey hit a sinking line drive to center field that got by a diving Stephen Talbott, plating three more runs to make it 7-0. Mike Lutz replaced his classmate on the mound moments later.

Ramsey also connected for a two-run homer to right field in the second inning. It was USF's only extra base hit of the night until the Bulls racked up three more in their four-run seventh inning.

Sean McHugh was the only Boiler to record multiple hits. He doubled over Ramsey's head in center field in the first inning and delivered a two-out RBI single in the fifth. Conner Hudnall also singled home a run with two outs in the fifth.

South Florida starter Joey Lovecchio went right after the Purdue hitters after being staked to the nine-run lead. He did not issue a walk while working five innings of five-hit ball. Jimmy Herget surrendered only one hit in four innings of relief.

Lutz worked the lone 1-2-3 inning of the night for the Purdue pitchers, retiring USF's 8-9-1 in order in the fourth. Mike Gaglianese allowed an inherited base runner to score in the fifth, but induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame. He later struck out the first two hitters in the USF lineup to finish off a scoreless sixth inning.

Saturday's loss marked the first time the Boilers had surrendered 20-plus runs in a game since losing 22-14 at Missouri in March 2010.