March 30, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Joe Haase put together his third consecutive quality start, working seven innings of two-run ball highlighted by a quartet of 1-2-3 innings, leading No. 19 Purdue baseball to a 9-3 win against Penn State Friday afternoon in the Big Ten Conference home opener at Lambert Field.
The Boilermakers (19-4, 3-1 Big Ten) won their seventh straight home game dating back to 2011 and improved to 13-3 vs. PSU dating back to 2008. With one more victory this weekend, head coach Doug Schreiber would record the 400th of his career and Purdue will have reached the 20-win plateau by April 1 for the first time in program history.
Haase (4-0) did not give up a run until the Nittany Lions (7-17, 1-3 Big Ten) scored twice with two outs in the seventh inning. The senior helped bottled up the first five batters in the PSU lineup to the tune of a combined 1-for-21 showing. He struck out five and issued only one walk.
Haase earned his 12th career victory with his longest outing of the season. The right-hander won for a third consecutive start and Purdue improved to 7-0 in games he has started this season.
Purdue scored in five of the final six innings in which it batted. The Boilermakers blew the game open with four two-out runs in the eighth inning, scoring four or more runs in a frame for the 12th time this season. Eleven of those 12 extended rallies have come from the sixth through ninth innings.
Leadoff man Tyler Spillner reached base safely four times and scored three runs. He tripled home the team's third run of the day in the fifth inning with a line drive over the right fielder's head. Eric Charles had two hits and three RBIs, and also made a nice defensive play on an infield single to keep a PSU run from scoring in the fifth inning.
Penn State pitcher John Walter (0-5) kept his team in the game by inducing ground-ball double plays with runners on the corners and no outs in consecutive frames. Purdue used a hit and run successfully to setup those situations in the third and fourth innings. Spillner and Barrett Serrato delivered the hit-and-run singles, advancing Stephen Talbott and Kevin Plawecki, respectively. Charles and Angelo Cianfrocco successfully drove the runner in from third base to give the Boilers an early lead, but did not earn an RBI for their efforts.
Talbott, Charles and Serrato each registered an RBI in the four-run eighth inning. Talbott singled home Andrew Dixon and took third when the ball got by the left fielder and rolled to the wall. After a walk to Spillner and a pitching change, Charles plated a pair with a double into the left field corner. Serrato later drew a bases-loaded walk, the seventh free pass of the game issued by PSU pitchers.
Charles' two-out double in the eighth inning also helped Cameron Perkins keep a notable streak alive. The junior followed with a single through the right side, reaching base safely for the first time on the day to extend his streak in Big Ten play to 46 consecutive games dating back to 2010. Plawecki, meanwhile, reached base safely for the 18th consecutive game overall.
The series continues Saturday at 2 p.m.