March 23, 2014
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- In a series in which the two teams combined to strand 71 runners on base, the 12 men left by Purdue baseball Sunday cost the Boilers a rubber game loss at Southern Illinois, 4-0.
The Salukis (13-9) also stranded 12 runners Sunday. It was a 1-0 game in the sixth inning when Purdue (3-16) loaded the bases with one out after SIU reliever Austin McPheron walked three of the four batters he faced. But new right-hander Matt Murphy got Cody Strong to hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep his team in front. Southern tacked on insurance runs in the sixth and eighth innings.
The high total of runners left on base in the series was due in part to Saturday's game going 16 innings. The Salukis stranded 40 runners in the series and Purdue left 31. The Boilermakers were 2-for-24 with runners in scoring position in the series and hit into six double plays over the course of the weekend.
Southern Illinois had a chance to blow open Sunday's game early. In his first start at Boilermaker, Tim McElroy walked the bases loaded in the first inning and surrendered a leadoff triple the following frame. But the only run SIU scored came on a sac fly in the bottom of the second. McElroy struck out SIU cleanup hitter Ryan Casillas with runners on the corners in the first and got out of the jam after the third walk of the inning loaded the bases. Hayden Grant turned a 5-3 double play with the bases loaded and the Salukis' No. 3 hitter Cody Daily at the plate to end the bottom of the second.
Southern Illinois starter Aaron Hauge (3-1) used the strikeout to get out of jams in the first three innings. He fanned the final batter of all three frames with two men aboard. He was pulled after the fifth inning despite riding an active consecutive scoreless innings streak of 15.
Kyle Johnson and Sean McHugh each singled Sunday to finish spring break having hit safely in all eight games. McHugh has hit safely in a career-best nine consecutive games overall as well as 15 of the last 16 games. Jack Picchiotti walked three times Sunday. Brandon Krieg was the only Boiler to finish with multiple hits in the loss. After recording 10-plus hits in five of the first six games of spring break, Purdue managed only 15 in the 25 innings played over the last two games.
Matt Gibbs put together his top outing as a Boilermaker, working 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. He pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the third after taking over for McElroy. Joe Eichmann needed only one pitch to retire the first batter he faced in the fifth inning, leaving a pair of inherited runners on base. For the season, Eichmann has only allowed three of 18 inherited runners to score.
Purdue was unable to retire SIU leadoff man Jake Welch, who finished the day 2-for-2 with three walks. The shortstop connected for a two-run homer in the sixth inning.
The Boilermakers return to action Tuesday when they host IPFW at 5 p.m. in the home opener at Alexander Field.