March 20, 2011
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COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Purdue baseball scored eight times in the ninth inning to break open a tie game and defeat Tennessee Tech, 12-4, in the rubber game of the weekend series and finale of the Boilermakers' eight-game spring break trip.
Purdue's biggest rally of the season gave the Boilers (13-6) a fifth straight victorious weekend to open the year as well as a 4-4 mark on the 10-day road trip through Tennessee.
Kevin Plawecki tied a program single-game record with the first five-hit effort by a Boilermaker since April 2009. He singled five times and was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning.
Stephen Talbott knocked in the go-ahead run in the ninth with a squeeze bunt that he beat out after the Tech first baseman missed the tag as Talbott ran past. Andrew Dixon scored the go-ahead tally after opening the inning with a base hit. Dixon later delivered a three-run triple in his second at-bat of the frame.
Purdue starting pitcher Brad Schreiber struck out a career-high eight over six innings of four-run ball. Blake Mascarello, Lance Breedlove (2-0) and Joe Haase each pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Mascarello got the big out of the game when he struck out Tech's No. 5 hitter, Casanova Donaldson, with runners on the corners, two outs and the game tied in the seventh inning.
The Boilermakers pounded out 19 hits, one shy of a season high, and had at least two base runners in every inning. But Purdue left 16 runners on base, which until the ninth inning appeared as though it would cost the Boilers the game.
Purdue's first six batters of the ninth inning reached base safely. Dixon and David Miller igniting the big rally with back-to-back singles to right field. After Talbott put the Boilers ahead, Eric Charles drove in another run with a single up the middle, his third hit of the game.
Tennessee Tech (8-12) moved shortstop Chad Hayes to the mound with a 2-0 count on Miller. Hayes wasn't able to record an out until Ryan Bridges hit a long fly ball to center for a sacrifice fly. By then, Hayes had already hit both Cameron Perkins and Plawecki with a pitch and it was 8-4 Purdue on the sac fly.
Dixon and Miller both collected a pair of hits in the ninth inning, delivering run-scoring knocks in their second at-bats.
Dixon also made the key defensive play of the game for the Boilermakers. With the game tied 3-3, Tech opened the sixth with a leadoff walk and a base hit to center that put runners on the corners. Dixon had entered the game as a defensive replacement in right field to begin the inning. Evan Frazier hit a fly ball deep into right center. Dixon made the catch and crashed into the right field wall. The go-ahead run scored on the sacrifice fly but Schreiber was able to finish off the inning without any additional runs scoring.
Purdue tied it in the top of the seventh when Plawecki scored from first on Bridges' double to right center. But the Boilers would leave the bases loaded in both the seventh and eighth innings.
Purdue scored in the first inning for the fourth game in a row and carried a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth. The Golden Eagles scored twice with two outs in the fourth to finally get to Schreiber and tied it an inning later.
Talbott finished the spring break trip having hit safely in all eight games. With Tech starting a left-handed pitcher, he batted leadoff Sunday for the first time this season. The sophomore finished the eight-game road trip 13-for-32 with six extra-base hits, including a double Sunday. Bridges drove in a team-best 10 runs in the eight games.
The Boilermakers return to action Tuesday when they open the home portion of their schedule with a midweek game against Illinois State. First pitch at Lambert Field is set for 4 p.m.