SAN ANTONIO - A walk-off win in the 10th inning of the nightcap capped a thrilling doubleheader sweep for Purdue baseball that featured victories vs. Saint Louis and Incarnate Word at the Alamo Irish Classic.
The Boilermakers (5-0) overcome a 4-0 deficit to defeat UIW 5-4 on Nick Dalesandro's walk-off single. Down to its final out in the ninth inning, Purdue tied the game thanks to consecutive doubles from Evan Kennedy and Evan Warden.
Bo Hofstra (1-0) retired the final 11 Billikens to come to the plate, closing out a 5-2 victory for the Boilermakers in the first game of the day at Nelson Wolff Stadium. He has retired the first 17 batters he has faced as a collegiate pitcher after also a six-up, six-down appearance vs. Western Michigan on Feb. 18.
Purdue clinched a berth in the championship game of the four-team tournament Sunday. But first the Boilermakers take on No. 30 Notre Dame on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. It will be the first meeting between the in-state rivals since 2012.
Raw footage of the 5 big swings in tonight's comeback win vs. Incarnate Word. #BoilerUp
⚾️ McGowan 2-run HR
⚾️ Kennedy pinch-hit 2B
⚾️ Warden game-tying 2B
⚾️ Hunter leadoff 2B in 10th
⚾️ Dalesandro walk-off single pic.twitter.com/CtTBfbqn53
-- Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) February 24, 2018
Purdue improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1991. The 1949 and 1959 teams both started 7-0.
The Boilermakers recorded wins vs. two different teams on the same day for the first time since defeating Connecticut and Cincinnati at the Big East/Big Ten Challenge on the opening day of the 2012 season.
Purdue rallied to win after trailing in the ninth inning for the first time since the 2017 home opener vs. Kent State. The program had not accomplished the feat away from Alexander Field since February 2015 vs. Sam Houston State at the minor league stadium in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Jacson McGowan connected for a two-run homer in the sixth inning vs. UIW, going deep for the fourth time this season. He has homered on all three days in which Purdue has taken this year.
Trevor Cheaney (3 IP, 1 H), Mike Kornacker (3 IP, 0 H) and Hofstra (3 2/3 IP, 0 H) teamed up for 11 2/3 innings of one-hit relief in the doubleheader sweep. They worked a combined seven 1-2-3 innings and retired 29 of 31 batters faced.
Nick Dalesandro recorded his second collegiate walk-off hit, joining Alec Olund as active Boilermakers with multiple walk-off hits during their careers. Dalesandro's other walk-off was also in the 10th inning, lifting Purdue to a 1-0 win vs. Cal State Northridge at Alexander Field in May 2016. He finished Saturday 4-for-8 with a walk and two stolen bases.
Skyler Hunter and McGowan have hit safely in each of the first five games this season. Evan Warden has reached base safely in 11 consecutive games dating back to last season.
Player point of view on the Friday sweep in San Antonio...@BoHofstra retired the final 11 SLU batters of the game in order in the 5-2 win vs. Saint Louis. @NickDeli12 delivered the walk-off single in the 10th inning of the 5-4 victory vs. Incarnate Word. #BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/HHUvQeJYcD
-- Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) February 24, 2018
PURDUE 5, INCARNATE WORD 4
Purdue out hit Incarnate Word 12-4 to but still trailed by a run as Kennedy came to the plate as a pinch hitter with two outs in the ninth inning. He doubled into the right field corner for the Boilermakers' first hit against UIW reliever John Shull since there was one out in the bottom of the seventh. That gave Warden a second chance to face Shull (1-1). Warden split the gap in left center to plate Kennedy's pinch runner Tyler Powers.
Hunter was robbed of a game-tying double on a nice running catch by center fielder Ridge Rogers to end the seventh inning. Hunter hit another line drive into the left center gap to open the 10th inning, but this time it went for a leadoff double. After an intentional walk to McGowan, Dalesandro singled up the middle to win the game.
Kornacker took the mound to begin the top of the fifth after Purdue had allowed 17 UIW batters to come to the plate over the first four frames. Kornacker and Cheaney limited the Cardinals (3-3) to 20 plate appearances in the combined six innings they pitched.
Meanwhile, Purdue finally got to UIW starter Luke Taggert beginning in the fifth inning. The sophomore faced only 13 batters over his first four frames, but 12 men came to the plate against him over the final inning and a third that he worked.
PURDUE 5, SAINT LOUIS 2
Highlighted by a two-run single in the third inning, Hunter drove in three of Purdue's five runs. He also started the relay sequence from the warning track in center field to home plate that led to the biggest out of the game.
Alex King tried to score from first base on Parker Sniatynski's double that eluded Hunter. Shortstop Harry Shipley made the relay throw from short center field to the plate to cut down King. The sequence transpired with the Boilermakers up 4-2 and no outs in the sixth inning. Sniatynski was the final batter Purdue starter Gareth Stroh (1-0) faced. Hofstra struck out SLU cleanup hitter James Morisano and stranded Sniatynski at third base. Instead of the Billikens (1-5) having the potential tying run at third base with no outs, Purdue escaped the frame with its two-run lead intact.
Ben Nisle drove in a run in both wins, including the Boilermakers' first run of the day. With Dalesandro at third and one out in the second inning, Nisle received the green light with a 3-0 count. He elevated the ball into right field for a sac fly.
Shipley reached base safely three times, beating out a sacrifice bunt for an infield hit in the Purdue's three-run third inning. The senior's one-out double in the eighth inning led to an insurance run. It was the only tally scored by either team after the third inning.