March 26, 2014
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. --- Purdue baseball matched its season-best totals for runs scored and runs allowed, defeating IPFW, 7-1, in the home opener at Alexander Field Wednesday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (4-16) scored in three consecutive innings in the middle of the game to open up a 6-0 lead. But both teams squandered scoring chances. There was only one 1-2-3 frame in the game and the two teams combined to leave 27 runners on base. Sixteen free passes (9 walks, 7 HBP) were issues to go along with the 23 combined hits.
Conner Hudnall led the way for Purdue with three hits and a pair of RBI. Sean McHugh and Kyle Johnson both went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored to extend their hitting streaks to 10 and nine consecutive games, respectively. Johnson also pitched an inning and a third of one-hit relief in his first appearance of the season on the mound.
The Boilermakers' middle infielders, Brandon Krieg and Cody Strong, each made a big defensive play to save a run. With runners on first and second and two outs in the third inning of a scoreless game, Krieg made a diving stop on a ball hit up the middle. The shortstop threw the runner out at the plate to end the frame. An inning later with Purdue up 3-0, two outs and runners on the corners, Strong got to a chopper near the second base bag and threw out the IPFW leadoff man at first.
The Boilermakers turned double plays in the sixth and seventh innings to help extinguish potential rallies after leadoff men had reached base safely. IPFW's first hitter of an inning reached base safely in five consecutive frames from the fourth through eighth but only scored in the seventh. Even in that inning it two a two-out ground rule double from Kevin Wirth to plate the run.
Adam Dressler (2-0) worked three scoreless innings, striking out a pair. The freshman has pitched 8 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his two midweek starts. A two-out walk in the top of the third Wednesday marked the first free pass he had issued in those 8 2/3 innings. Brett Haan came back and retired the next three hitters in the fourth inning after giving up singles to the first two he faced. Patrick Kenney and Eddie De LaRiva both induced a ground ball double play.
Hudnall drove in runs with a bases-loaded single in the third inning and a two-out double in the eighth. Cody Strong had a RBI in consecutive plate appearances, coming through with a sacrifice fly in the third and RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. Kyle Upp drew a bases-loaded walk in the third and singled and scored in the fifth.
Johnson reached basely in his final four plate appearances, driving in a run with a base hit in the fourth inning. McHugh singled in each of his first two at-bats, igniting the three-run rally in the bottom of the third with a leadoff hit.
Purdue improved to 12-4 in home openers under head coach Doug Schreiber.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday for their Big Ten opener at Illinois. First pitch in Champaign-Urbana is set for 5 p.m. ET.