Feb. 26, 2012
GREENVILLE, N.C. - After squandering a five-run lead, Purdue baseball busted open a tie game with a seven-run sixth inning, surging past Western Carolina, 14-7, in the finale for both teams at the Keith LeClair Classic hosted by East Carolina.
The Boilermakers (5-1) finished the tournament 2-1, playing three times in 24 hours for the second weekend in a row.
Purdue answered Western Carolina's four-run rally that tied the game in the top of the sixth with a big inning of its own. The Boilermakers sent 13 men to the plate, with Andrew Dixon, Tyler Spillner and Eric Charles each collecting a hit and drawing a walk during the extended frame. The Catamounts (4-3) used six pitchers in the inning and nine in the game total.
Purdue's bullpen also experienced its fare share of sixth-inning struggles. The Boilermakers used four pitchers in sixth, seven total in the game. After walking the first batter he faced to load the bases in a tie game, Brett Andrzejewski (1-0) induced a ground ball to third base to finally end the rally. He earned his first Purdue win thanks to that one out coupled with the offensive explosion that followed in the bottom of the frame.
Defensively, the Boilers turned four double plays for the second time on the weekend. Twin killings ended the first, second and eighth innings for the Catamounts. At the plate, Purdue also hit into three double plays.
Tyler Spillner and Eric Charles led the way at the top of the line. Spillner went 4-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and four runs scored. He finished the weekend 7-for-12 after posting his third career four-hit game. Charles was 3-for-3 with three RBIs. He collected multiple hits in all three games of the tournament to finish the weekend 8-for-12.
Cameron Perkins and Kevin Plawecki also knocked in three runs apiece Sunday. Perkins was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. Plawecki followed with a two-run double.
Purdue scored in five of the first six innings in which it batted. Meanwhile, after the bullpen had struggled to contain WCU's sixth-inning rally, Blake Mascarello put together a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to keep the momentum in the home dugout. Connor Podkul and Joe Eichmann also worked a scoreless inning of relief in their collegiate debuts.
The Boilermakers took an early lead thanks to a four-run second inning. Purdue strung together seven consecutive productive plate appearances, chasing WCU starter Jeremy Null with two outs in the inning. The rally began with a one-out walk to Sean McHugh, followed by three consecutive singles by David Miller, Dixon and Spillner. Charles knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly and Perkins and Plawecki delivered consecutive RBI singles.
Dixon ignited the sixth-inning rally with a bloop single down the left field line, the first of three consecutive hits that loaded the bases for Perkins. Ryan Bridges, McHugh, Spillner and Charles also registered an RBI during the rally.
Purdue starting pitcher Calvin Gunter faced only nine batters over the first three innings, but WCU got to the senior on his second time through the lineup. The left-hander gave way to the bullpen with two aboard and two outs in the sixth. He was still in line for the win until Jacob Hoyle won a lefty-lefty matchup, tying the game with an opposite field single to left field with two outs.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday when they take on Auburn on day one of the Tigers' four-team tournament. Purdue will also play Southern Miss and Charleston Southern next weekend in Alabama.