March 13, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Connor Podkul did not give up a hit until the fifth inning in his first collegiate start and Blake Mascarello and Nick Wittgren backed him up with 4 2/3 innings of one-run relief, as solid pitching led No. 24 Purdue baseball to its eighth straight win, 4-2, Tuesday evening at Missouri State.
The Boilermakers (12-1) improved to 4-0 on their spring break trip and matched the 1959 team for the best one-loss start in program history.
Wittgren recorded his 16th career save by retiring six of the eight batters he faced over two innings of hitless relief. The junior officially eclipsed the program's all-time saves record. He entered the night in a three-way tie with former closers Scott Dubach (1985-87) and Andy Helmer (1997-00)
Purdue scored twice with two outs in the second inning and tacked on an insurance run in the third and eighth thanks to extra-base hits. Cameron Perkins connected for his second home run of the season, and 18th career, to leadoff the top of the eighth. The long ball countered a leadoff homer from MSU's Luke Voit in the bottom of the seventh.
Eric Charles and Perkins also doubled back-to-back in the third inning to put the Boilers up 3-0. Purdue took an early lead in the top of the second thanks to a leadoff double from Kevin Plawecki and three quality two-out at-bats from the bottom third of the lineup. Andrew Dixon walked to extend the inning to David Miller, who singled home Plawecki for the first run of the game. Talbott followed with another run-scoring base hit.
Podkul retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, highlighted by back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to begin the game. The infield backed up the freshman by turning a 5-4-3 double play to end the fourth inning with runners on the corners.
Mascarello (4-0) induced a pair of fly ball outs to limit the damage in the bottom of the fifth after inheriting runners on second and third with one out. He retired the first five batters he faced and struck out the 7-8-9 portion of the MSU lineup in order in the eighth inning.
Charles doubled and tripled and also made a pair of nice defensive plays in the sixth inning, highlighted by a diving stop deep in the hole to rob Brock Chaffin of a base hit.
Purdue scored four times against MSU starter Clay Murphy (2-1), who had surrendered only two earned runs over his first 25 1/3 innings pitched this season. The junior departed after giving up the home run to Perkins to begin the eighth.
Miller led the way with three hits in his first game in his home state as a Boiler. Perkins recorded his seventh consecutive multiple-hit game. Plawecki and Talbott did likewise for a sixth straight contest.
Purdue continues its spring break trip Thursday when it begins a four-game series at first-time opponent Wichita State. The first pitch of Thursday's series opener has been pushed up to 4 p.m. ET.