LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Joe Haase came up one out shy of finishing off a complete-game victory, but his 8 2/3 innings of four-run ball were still enough to lead Purdue baseball to a 6-4 win at No. 20 Louisville Tuesday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (9-2) have won six straight and posted their third victory this year against a nationally-ranked team from the BIG EAST Conference. Purdue kept pace with the 1993 team for the best start in recent program history.
The Boilermakers scored first for the 11th consecutive game and led 4-0 after the top of the second. Purdue also became the first team to score more than four runs against Louisville in 2011. The Cardinals (8-3) entered the day with a 1.47 team ERA.
Purdue snapped Louisville's 11-game win streak against Big Ten Conference teams dating back to 2009. The Cardinals won all three of their games at the season-opening BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge and were 23-2 against Big Ten opponents since 2006.
Haase (2-0) did not issue a walk in his longest outing as a Boiler. He retired the first two batters of the ninth but a double and a run-scoring single ended his day in favor of left-handed reliever Calvin Gunter. Gunter hit the No. 9 hitter in the Louisville lineup with the first pitch he threw, but bounced back to strikeout leadoff man Cole Sturgeon to end the game. He's already the fourth reliever to record a save this year.
Haase needed only 93 pitches to reach the ninth inning. He did not issue a walk and struck out three. The right-hander retired the first eight Louisville batters of the game in order and worked four 1-2-3 innings total. He allowed the leadoff man to reach only once and kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard until the fifth inning.
Kevin Plawecki doubled to leadoff the seventh, extending his hitting streak to 10 consecutive games. But Cameron Perkins went 0-for-4, bringing his 14-game streak to an end. Meanwhile, David Miller drew a walk, scored a run and registered an RBI. The shortstop has reached base safely and knocked in a run in each of the first six games he has started this year.
The Boilermakers capitalized on three U of L errors in the second inning, scoring three times. Four of Purdue's six runs on the day were unearned.
The Boilermakers also scored in the first inning for the seventh time this year. Tyler Spillner beat out a slow chopper to second base to begin the game and scored on a fielder's choice ground ball to the right side off the bat of Barrett Serrato.
Miller ignited the second-inning rally when he drew a leadoff walk after falling behind in the count 0-and-2. Miller was safe at second when the Louisville shortstop couldn't handle the flip to the bag on a grounder to second off the bat of Andrew Dixon.
Stephen Talbott executed a sacrifice bunt to advance the base runners, but both runners ended up scoring when U of L pitcher Dace Kime (1-1) threw the ball away down the right field line. After another sac bunt by Spillner, Eric Charles plated Talbott with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Plawecki reached safely to begin the fifth and seventh innings and scored insurance runs. He reached on a throwing error by the Louisville third baseman while leading off the fifth. After moving into third base on Ryan Bridges' second single of the day, Miller plated the Purdue catcher with a ground ball to second base.
Plawecki doubled into the left field corner and took third when the left fielder struggled corralling the ball in the bullpen. Serrato followed with an opposite-field single to left for his second RBI of the day.
The Cardinals finally got on the board with a two-out single in the bottom of the fifth. All four of Louisville's runs scored with two outs in an inning.
The victory was Purdue's first against Louisville since 1998. However, the two teams had only played twice in the years since.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday when they begin their eight-game spring break trip with a three-game series at Tennessee-Martin. The first pitch in the northwest corner of the Volunteer State is set for 5 p.m. (EST).