Feb. 25, 2012
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Purdue baseball turned four double plays, including a twin killing in each of the final two innings started by a pitcher, closing out a game in which it never trailed, 6-4, at East Carolina Saturday afternoon in the opener for both teams at the Keith LeClair Classic.
With the win, the Boilermakers (4-0) remained undefeated on the young season while handing ECU (4-1) its first loss. Purdue will play Maryland (3-1) tonight at 7:30 p.m. after day of the Keith LeClair Classic was rained out Friday.
The Boilermakers scored three times in the sixth inning to break open a tie game, a rally that was highlighted by an RBI single from Barrett Serrato and a run-scoring groundout off the bat of Angelo Cianfrocco in a pair of lefty-lefty matchups.
Blake Mascarello and Nick Wittgren backed up starter Joe Haase with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Masacarello retired the first five batters he faced and started a 1-6-3 double play to erase a leadoff single in the eighth inning. Wittgren loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but ended the game thanks to a 1-2-3 double play ball off the bat of ECU cleanup hitter Chase McDonald.
Haase (1-0) worked 5 1/3 innings, surrendering two earned runs on six hits and earning his ninth career win. Wittgren picked up his first save of the season and 13th career.
Kevin Plawecki and Cameron Perkins also drove in a run each for Purdue. Perkins reached base safely for the 67th consecutive game dating back to 2010. His infield single plated the go-ahead run in the third inning.
Mascarello entered the game with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning. He induced a pair of ground balls to limit the damage, keeping Purdue in front by two runs. After the Pirates finally collected a hit off the left-hander to open the eighth inning, Mascarello used a quick reaction to snare a hard hit comebacker off the bat of John Wooten, turning the one-hopper into a 1-6-3 double play.
Wittgren surrendered a pinch-hit leadoff single and issued a pair of walks to put the potential tying on first base in the ninth inning. But after taking the count full against McDonald, he induced a comebacker off the bat of the big sophomore. It led to the easy game-ending twin killing.
The Boilermakers also turned double plays in the second and fourth innings. Shortstop David Miller was involved in all but the game-ending twin killing. Purdue also received solid defensive plays from Charles, Perkins and Plawecki that helped contain scoring chances for ECU. Charles' diving catch of a blooper in short center field prevented the go-ahead run from scoring in the bottom of the third.
The Boilers took advantage of ECU's three errors, scoring an unearned run in the first inning when the ball went through the legs of the shortstop on a grounder off the bat of Plawecki. Spillner and Charles both scored on the play.
Charles ignited the sixth-inning rally with a double down the left field line, using a nifty slide to the outfield side of the bag to beat the throw to second base. Perkins moved his teammate into third base with less than two outs thanks to a fly ball to right field. With first base open, ECU chose to intentionally walk Plawecki to setup a double play opportunity and lefty-lefty matchup of Serrato versus starting pitcher Kevin Brandt (1-1). Serrato won the battle with a solid single through the right side. Brandt didn't help his own cause moments later when he threw the ball away down the left field line on a soft chopper off the bat of Ryan Bridges. Plawecki scored and Serrato took third on the play.
Lance Breedlove is scheduled to start Saturday evening against Maryland. The senior struck out 11 in his seven shutouts innings a week ago against Cincinnati.