April 1, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Six runs in the final three innings by the Nittany Lions cost Purdue the Big ten opener as Penn State won 6-3. The Boilermakers have lost four of the last five Big Ten openers and are 5-14 this season.
Purdue jumped out to a 3-0 lead and had the bases loaded in the sixth with no one out, ready to close the door on the Nittany Lions. However, Penn State escaped the sixth without allowing a run and built on the momentum to score two runs in each of the next three innings to grab the victory.
Purdue scored right off the bat, plating one run in the first on a single by junior Eric Wolfe that scored senior Andy Dahl from second base. Dahl led off the game for the Boilermakers with a walk and moved to second on a swinging bunt base hit by junior Neal Gorka.
In the second inning, senior Mike Coles drew a free pass with one out and moved 90 feet on a ground out. A single to center by Dahl pushed Coles around to score, giving the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead.
Purdue struck again in the fifth inning when sophomore Mitch Hilligoss led off with an infield single, swiped second base and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Gorka. Wolfe followed with his second RBI of the day, flying out to center for the sacrifice fly, sending Hilligoss home from third.
The game's momentum swung in the home half of the sixth when Purdue stranded three runners. A leadoff single by sophomore Spencer Ingaldson and a base hit by sophomore Eric Osborn put runners on first and second. Coles lined a shot into right for Purdue's third straight single, loading the bases and putting Penn State starter Sean Stidfole on the ropes. However, Stidfole was able to strike out the next two batters before coaxing an inning-ending ground ball to keep the score 3-0.
Penn State scratched the scoreboard in the seventh, plating two runs on two hits. The Lions' first run scored on a passed ball and the scored moved to 3-2 Purdue on a sacrifice fly.
The Nittany Lions grabbed the lead in the eighth, getting an RBI base hit by Brian Ernst and a an RBI single from Michael Milliron. Two unearned insurance runs in the ninth closed the scoring at 6-3 for Penn State.
Stidfole picked up the win, improving his record on the season to 4-2. The Lion pitcher went 7.0 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out six. Clint Eury pitched the final two innings for his first save of the season.
Purdue starter Scott Byrnes got a no-decision out of his 6.2 innings on the hill. Byrnes, who retired the first 11 batters of the game, tossed 6.2 innings and struck out six while yielding one earned run.
Junior Trae Dauby, who relieved Byrnes in the seventh, was hit with the loss. Dauby, now 0-2, allowed two runs on three hits in 0.2 innings on the hill.
The Boilermakers and Nittany Lions square off on Saturday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Lambert Field. During the game, eight authentic Purdue baseball jerseys will the given away.