UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Jordan Minch worked eight innings of one-run ball and Purdue baseball provided him some run support by scoring in five different innings, winning its season opener at Penn State, 6-1, Friday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (8-14, 1-3 Big Ten) posted their sixth straight series-opening win against PSU (5-16, 0-4 Big Ten) dating back to 2008. Purdue has won 15 of the last 20 meetings overall during that span.
Kyle Johnson enjoyed the best game of his young college career with a pair of RBI hits go along with two walks. Angelo Cainfrocco and Jack Picchiotti also had a pair of hits. Cianfrocco and Johnson each doubled home a run in the fifth inning to stretch the Boilers' lead to 4-1. Purdue later tacked on an insurance run in eighth and ninth innings.
Minch (3-3) surrendered only five singles over eight innings in his first series-opening start of the season. Three of the five singles were of the infield variety. He had only a pair of 1-2-3 innings, but was consistently able to pitch over a batter reaching safely via a single or walk. He struck out five and got 12 ground ball outs.
Purdue had the bases loaded with no outs in the fourth inning but was only able to score one run to take its first lead at 2-1. Brandon Krieg drew a bases-loaded walk to force home Picchiotti, who opened the inning with a single. Even after allowing the first four batters of the inning to reach safely, PSU starter T.J. Jann (1-4) regrouped and kept his team in the game thanks to a pop out and inning-ending double play.
However, after Minch worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth, Sean McHugh reached base safely on an error to begin the fifth. He stole second and took third with one out when Kyle Wood grounded out to the right side. Cianfrocco said he was just trying to put the ball in play against the new lefty reliever in the game. Instead, the senior lifted a double into the right field corner. Johnson later hit a line drive over the center fielder's head for the second two-bagger of the inning.
Stephen Talbott singlehandedly created the Boilers' game-tying run in the top of the third. He was hit by a pitch in the helmet with one out. After stealing second base, the senior moved into third base with only one out on a wild pitch. Jann struck out McHugh for the second out of the inning. With the count a 1-2 count on Wood, Talbott had a chance to score when another wild pitch trickled through the legs of the PSU catcher. The ball didn't roll more than eight feet away from the plate, but Talbott got a good jump and was safe after Jann didn't catch the throw back to the plate from the catcher.
Johnson drew a leadoff walk in the eighth and scored on a two-out single from Jake Hansen. An inning later, Johnson plated pinch runner Steven Maniago with a base hit through the left side.
Penn State scored its only run in the first inning thanks to a leadoff walk and a pair of singles. Picchiotti threw out the trail runner at second base on a double steal attempt for the second out of the inning. But Minch failed to cover first base when the next pitch was floated into no man's land on the right side of the infield and Cianfrocco had to field it.
Minch retired 16 of 18 hitters from the third through eighth innings, giving up only a leadoff single in the fifth and a two-out walk in the sixth during that stretch.
Game two of the series is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday.