March 21, 2014
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Sean McHugh connected for a two-run homer as part of a four-hit effort and also scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of Purdue baseball's 3-2 series-opening win at Southern Illinois Friday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (3-14) racked up 10 hits, their fifth double-figure total in the last six games. On the mound, Jordan Minch, Joe Eichmann and Mike Lutz teamed up for the nine innings of two-run ball. Minch struck out a season-high six over 5 1/3 innings of one-run work. Lutz (1-3) earned the win after pitching three innings of one-run relief.
Conner Hudnall threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate from right field to end the bottom of the eighth inning. McHugh threw out his 11th base stealer of the season to erase a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth.
Purdue went ahead with two outs in the ninth inning despite not hitting the ball out of the infield. McHugh hit a high chopper over the mound that led to an infield single, taking second when the pitcher threw the ball away. With an 0-2 count on Kyle Wood, McHugh stole third base after SIU's Derek Fogel (0-1) didn't look back at him before coming home. The stolen base proved significant when Wood hit another chopper over the mound that went for an RBI infield single.
Both teams stranded 10 men on base in the game. Eichmann kept it a 1-0 game by retiring the first two batters he faced with runners on second and third in the sixth inning. The junior has allowed only three of 16 inherited base runners to score this year.
The Boilermakers left two men on base in four of the first six innings. McHugh doubled in his first two at-bats but did not advance past second on both occasions. The senior posted his fourth career four-hit game along with the first of the season by a Boilermaker. He has hit safely in seven straight games and 13 of the last 14.
Cody Strong was aboard when McHugh went deep to left field with one out in the seventh inning, giving Purdue a 2-1 lead. It was the first long ball hit at SIU's new Itchy Jones Stadium. Friday's game was the fifth contested at the new-look field. McHugh homered for the second time this year and for the 11th time as a Boilermaker.
Minch gave up a run on a two-out single in the first inning but was able to put up zeroes in the next four frames. He pitched out of jams in the third and fifth innings and didn't issue a walk until the final batter he faced in the sixth inning. The lefty recorded a strikeout in five of the six innings he started.
Lutz gave up a leadoff single and a game-tying double in the eighth inning. After he struck out SIU pinch hitter Jake Hand for the second out of the frame, pinch hitter Ryan Rosthenhausler singled to right field. Hudnall made an accurate one-hop throw home that got to McHugh in plenty of time to tag out Tyler Rolland at the plate for the final out of the inning. It was Hudnall's second outfield assist of the season and eighth in two seasons with the Boilers.
SIU starter Sam Coonrod got stronger after escaping a jam in each of the first three innings. He not only induced by also started an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in the second inning. The junior retired nine consecutive batters from the third through sixth innings. He struck out six over six scoreless innings.
Game two of the series is set for 2 p.m. Saturday.