March 3, 2012
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AUBURN, Ala. -- Punctuated by a go-ahead three-run homer from Barrett Serrato, Purdue baseball scored seven times with two outs in the seventh inning to overcome a six-run deficit and stun Southern Miss, 10-9, Saturday afternoon at Auburn's four-team tournament.
The Boilermakers (7-1) won a one-run game for the second time in less than 24 hours and posted their second win of the season against an annual contender from Conference USA.
Seven consecutive Purdue hitters reached base safely during the quick-strike rally, which began innocently enough with a seeing-eye single up the middle from David Miller. The Boilermaker have scored seven or more runs in an inning three times this year, all three extended rallies giving Purdue the lead in the sixth inning or later.
Stephen Talbott, Tyler Spillner, Cameron Perkins and Kevin Plawecki each delivered a run-scoring hit to set the stage for Serrato. The senior connected for a three-run homer to right center that capped the rally. Purdue hit for the cycle in the inning, Talbott tripling home Miller and Spillner doubling home Talbott.
Jack DeAno (1-0) worked three innings of hitless relief in his Purdue debut. He retired nine of the 11 batters he faced, highlighted by a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Southern Miss (7-4), which had scored 32 runs in its last two games entering the day, racked up nine runs on 13 hits through the first six innings.
For the second day in a row, Purdue pounced on an opposing relief pitcher that entered the game having not surrendered a hit this season. USM right-hander Cameron Giannini (1-1) had worked five hitless innings in his first two relief appearances of the year. But he was unable to record an out on this day. Giannini took over on the mound after Spillner's double made the score 9-5. He walked Eric Charles and surrendered back-to-back run-scoring singles to Perkins and Plawecki. Serrato's three-run blast then hung the loss on the sophomore.
Plawecki also connected for a home run Saturday, going deep to left field to open the fourth inning. It was the first long ball of the season surrendered by the Golden Eagles' pitching staff. Plawecki hit his 11th career homer, while Serrato's was his third as a Boiler.
Extra-base hits led to Purdue's first two runs of the game as well. Perkins doubled with two outs and scored the game's first run on a two-out single from Serrato in the bottom of the first. The following frame, Sean McHugh led off with a triple into right center and scored on the first of Miller's three hits. The Boilermakers registered six extra-base hits on the day after the USM pitching staff had given up only four its first 10 games.
The Golden Eagles took control of the game by outscoring Purdue 8-1 from the third through sixth innings. A three-run homer by Blake Brown afforded USM its first lead of the day. DeAno was the only Purdue pitcher of the four that took the mound that successfully retired Brown. Southern Miss sent eight men to the plate in both its three-run third and four-run fifth inning rallies.
Charles saw his 10-game hitting streak dating back to the end of the 2011 season come to an end, but the senior successfully reached base safely for the 26th consecutive game. He has scored a run in each of Purdue's first eight games this year. Serrato posted his second career four-RBI effort.
The Boilermakers conclude their weekend at Auburn's four-team round-robin Sunday at Noon ET against Charleston Southern.