March 11, 2011
MARTIN, Tenn. -- Robert Ramer worked five innings of one-run relief and Ryan Bridges and Cameron Perkins both collected a pair of RBIs, leading Purdue baseball to a 4-3 victory at Tennessee-Martin Friday afternoon in the opener of the spring break trip.
The Boilermakers (10-2) won their seventh straight game after scoring first for the 12th consecutive time to begin the season. Purdue kept pace with the 1993 team for the best start in recent program history.
Nick Wittgren closed out the victory by retiring all three batters he faced after entering the game with two on and none out in the ninth inning. He got Cory Stooksbury to fly out to left field with the potential tying run at second base to end the game.
The victory came at a steep price as both starting pitcher Matt Morgan and Angelo Cianfrocco had to leave the game with injuries. Morgan struggled with his control due to a finger injury and gave way to Ramer (1-0) with one out in the third inning. Cianfrocco doubled and singled in his first two at-bats but injured his shoulder while hitting a foul ball in the sixth inning.
Bridges posted his second career three-hit game, delivering a two-out double to get Purdue on the board in the second inning. He also singled home Barrett Serrato in the fourth.
Perkins drove in a run with an RBI ground out in the fifth and came through with a two-out double in the seventh.
Ramer took over with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the third. He walked the first batter he faced to force in a run, but bounced back and struck out the No. 3 and 4 hitters in the UTM lineup to end the threat and keep the game tied. Purdue has not trailed during its current seven-game win streak.
Ramer surrendered only two hits and struck out five over his five innings, matching the longest outing of his career. He pitched over a leadoff single in the fourth and an inning-opening walk in the seventh. The right-hander retired nine straight UTM batters from the fourth through sixth innings.
A leadoff double and one-out walk brought Ramer's day to an end in the eighth inning. With Sean Collins on the mound, the Skyhawks put the runners in motion on a hit and run. Collins' pitch was low and outside and batter Cody Terry was unable to make contact. Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki easily threw out Stooksbury, the lead runner, at third base. That proved to be a key play when Terry singled to left center moments later to cut the Boilers' lead to 4-2.
Back-to-back UTM singles to open the bottom of the ninth led to Wittgren entering the game. The Skyhawks opted to bunt with the No. 7 hitter, moving the potential tying run into scoring position. Purdue allowed the runner on third base to score on a ground out to shortstop and Wittgren retired to Stooksbury to end the game.
The Boilermakers used a hit and run effectively to help retake the lead on Bridges' opposite field single in the fourth. Stolen bases by Tyler Spillner and Eric Charles setup the RBI opportunities for Perkins.
Both teams turned a pair of ground ball double plays. Bridges started a nice 3-6-1 twin killing to end the bottom of the first and Ramer induced a 6-4-3 double play ball to erase his leadoff walk in the seventh.
Plawecki singled in his first at-bat to extend his career-best hitting streak to 11 games.
The three-game series continues Saturday at 2 p.m. (EST).