March 28, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Mike Lutz induced and started a game-ending 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, closing the door on a 4-3 victory for Purdue baseball at Illinois Friday afternoon in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
The Boilermakers (5-16, 1-0 Big Ten) scored three times in the eighth inning to overcome a 2-1 deficit. Cody Strong plated the tying run with a squeeze bunt base hit and Bradon Krieg's two-run double with two outs and the bases loaded gave Purdue its first lead of the day.
Jordan Minch (1-4) worked eight-plus innings of three-run ball in the longest outing of the season by a Purdue pitcher, tying his career high for innings pitched. He gave up a leadoff single in the ninth inning before giving way to the bullpen having thrown over 115 pitches. The left-hander gave up three runs on seven singles and three walks while striking out four. He redeemed himself after not making it out of the first inning in a high-scoring series opener at Illinois a year ago.
The Fighting Illini (12-11, 0-1 Big Ten) loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning after the 7-8-9 hitters all reached safely. Lutz gave up a RBI single to leadoff man Will Krug, but Illinois held the tying run at third base. After Michael Hurwitz lined out to Krieg at shortstop, Lutz induced the comebacker on the first pitch he threw to Ryan Nagle.
The Boilermakers won on a game-ending 1-2-3 double play with the bases loaded for the first time since February 2012 at East Carolina.
Sean McHugh singled in the third inning to extend his career-best hitting streak to 11 consecutive games, the longest by a Purdue player since 2012. Kyle Johnson's nine-game streak came to an end Friday.
Three consecutive one-out singles from Conner Hudnall, Kyle Wood and Strong in the eighth inning allowed the Boilers to tie the game and chase starter Drasen Johnson (1-3). Even after having to hold up initially on Wood's line drive over the second baseman's head, Hudnall was still able to go first to third on the base hit. It proved to be a key play, giving Purdue the opportunity to squeeze bunt with Strong at the plate. Pinch runner Jeff Evak scored the game-tying run and Strong was also safe at first on the bunt up the first base line.
Illinois closer Tyler Jay issued a four-pitch walk to pinch hitter Kyle Upp and was behind in the count on pinch Jack Amaro before coming back to strike out Amaro on a foul tip. But Krieg came through with only the team's third hit of the season with the bases loaded, connecting for an opposite-field double down the line in right to plate Wood and Strong. It was the only extra-base hit in the game.
McHugh threw out a pair of runners on the base paths, cutting down his Big Ten-leading 13th base stealer of the season in the seventh inning to eliminate a one-out single. The first three batters of the game reached safely for the Illini, but McHugh threw out Hurwitz at third base for the first out of the frame as he tried to advance after Jack Picchiotti threw home on Nagle's RBI single. Minch got the Illini cleanup man to hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play to stay out of a big inning in the bottom of the first.
Picchiotti drove in Purdue's first run in the third inning with a fielder's choice to first base with the runners on the corners.
The Boilermakers have won four of their last six games and took the series opener for the second weekend in a row.
Game two is set for 4 p.m. ET Saturday.