Feb. 23, 2013
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Purdue baseball held a 5-2 lead entering the bottom of the fifth and later had the potential tying run on third base in the ninth inning, but lost another one-run game to No. 5 Mississippi State, 7-6, Saturday evening on day two of the Diamond Classic at Dudy Noble Field.
The Boilermakers (3-4) scored four times in the fourth inning and went up 5-2 after Kyle Wood connected for his first collegiate home run with two outs in the fifth inning.
Mississippi State (8-0) scored five times over the course of the fifth and sixth innings to take the lead for good. The Bulldogs recorded four hits during a three-run rally in sixth, going ahead on a two-run triple to right field from Hunter Renfroe that sliced away from a diving Conner Hudnall, who was doused with beer by a fan beyond the right field wall during the play.
Jack Picchiotti and Stephen Talbott singled in the ninth inning against MSU closer Jonathan Holder, who entered the night having struck out 11 of the 13 batters he had faced this season. Five of the six Boilers to come to the plate in the ninth inning put the ball in play. Sean McHugh's ground ball to the left side with two men on and two outs led to a run when the MSU third baseman threw the ball into right center field. Purdue had runners on the corners with Talbott representing the tying run at third, but Holder retired Wood on a comebacker to end the game.
Mississippi State used six pitchers in the game, its bullpen teaming up for 5 2/3 innings of two-run relief. The Boilermakers chased MSU starter Kendall Graveman during their four-run fourth inning, which featured three singles, two MSU errors and a squeeze bunt from Jake Hansen.
A walk to Wood followed by three straight singles set the stage for the big inning, which turned a two-run deficit into a two-run lead for Purdue. With Wood and Hudnall aboard, Josh Estill hit a line drive off the pitcher Graveman. The ball then deflected off Wood as he headed for third base. The pinball play loaded the bases for Cianfrocco, who delivered his second hit of the night with an RBI single through the right side. Hudnall also scored when the throw from Renfroe in right field got away.
MSU shortstop Adam Frazier was not able to make a play on a ground ball off the bat of Kyle Johnson that plated another run for the Boilers and chased Graveman. Hansen bunted the first pitch he saw from reliever Preston Brown for an RBI squeeze bunt.
A pair of calls that went MSU's way helped the home team score four runs in the game. A two-run double near the third base bag and down the left field by Daryl Norris in the second inning was ruled fair by the home plate umpire. In the top of the fifth, Purdue thought it had turned an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play with runners on the corners, but Trey Porter was ruled safe at first. The runner on third scored on the play and Porter's pinch runner later came around after consecutive two-out singles.
Purdue starter Robert Ramer surrendered five runs on nine hits over five innings. He gave way to Brett Andrzejewski out of the bullpen after giving up a leadoff single to Norris in the sixth. Andrzejewski (0-1) made a good play on a sacrifice bunt try by Frazier, cutting down the lead runner at third base. But C.T. Bradford delivered an RBI single to left center and Renfroe hit the first pitch he saw into right for the go-ahead triple.
Bradford also robbed Wood of a potential RBI double with a nice sliding catch in left center in the first inning. The left-handed throwing outfielder later took the mound where he struck two left-handed hitters and had a 2-2 count on the third batter he faced before MSU made another pitching change.
Purdue concludes play at the Diamond Classic at Dudy Noble Field Sunday with a noon ET game against Samford. It will be the second of five meetings in the span of 10 days between the two teams. The Boilermakers defeated Samford, 9-4, Friday afternoon in the opening game of the three-team tournament this weekend.