March 9, 2014
BATON ROUGE, La. -- Conner Hudnall connected for a two-run homer to help keep Purdue baseball even with No. 4 LSU entering the bottom of the fourth, but the Tigers put up five runs over the final five innings to finish off a series sweep with a 7-3 final Sunday afternoon.
With Kyle Johnson aboard, Hudnall homered into the right field bleachers on the first pitch he saw in the second inning, tying the game at 2-2 on his third home run as a Boilermaker.
Purdue starter Connor Podkul regrouped after giving up four consecutive singles to begin the game. He retired six consecutive hitters at one point and kept the game tied until reaching his 50-pitch count threshold in the bottom of the fourth. Joe Eichmann retired six of the seven batters he faced over 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
LSU's leadoff hitter reached base safely in six of the eight innings. That runner ended up scoring four times. On the two occasions in which the runner didn't score, Purdue (1-10) eliminated the runner by turning a line-drive double play. The Boilermakers turned three unconventional twin killings in the game, highlighted by a nice play by catcher Sean McHugh on suicide squeeze bunt try by LSU (14-2) in the fifth inning. McHugh not only tagged out the runner at home but also threw to first base to retire the batter.
Steve Maniago and Hudnall each had a pair of hits for Purdue. Jack Amaro reached base safely twice (HBP and single) for the second game in a row. Three Boilers were hit by a pitch Sunday but Purdue did not draw a walk in the series. Cody Strong's reached base safely streak ended at 10 consecutive games.
The Boilermakers' best chance to get back in the game came in the top of the seventh after Maniago singled and Brandon Krieg was hit by a pitch to begin the inning. Both runners moved up on a double steal and Strong plated Maniago with a sacrifice fly to right field. But the inning quickly came to an end when Krieg was doubled off second base on a line drive to second off the bat of McHugh. Purdue had two men aboard with two outs in the third and fourth innings, but couldn't come through with a big hit.
Chris Chinea's one-out double in the fourth inning plated the go-ahead run for the Tigers. Four hits in the fifth inning for LSU extended its lead to 6-2.
The Boilermakers played better as a whole on the weekend and were much more competitive Saturday (lost 4-2) and Sunday after getting shutout in the series opener. But Purdue has still yet to score more than three runs in a game this season.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday when they open a four-game series at first-time opponent San Diego State. First pitch on the West Coast is set for 9 p.m. ET Friday.