April 3, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Indiana State scored twice with two outs in the ninth inning thanks to consecutive singles to left field, rallying past Purdue baseball, 4-3, Wednesday evening at Alexander Field.
The Boilermakers (10-16) dropped their fifth straight home game, their longest home skid since losing eight straight at Lambert Field in 2002.
Meanwhile, the Sycamores (12-11) got a little ninth-inning payback after Purdue tied the game with two outs in the ninth against them last season in the final game in the history of Lambert Field, a 10-inning walk-off thriller. With runners on the corners and two outs, Landon Curry and Cody Zimmerman came through with consecutive RBI singles. Moments earlier, pinch hitter Jeff Zahn beat the throw to first base to stay out of a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
In his Purdue debut, pitcher Gavin Downs worked 4 1/3 innings of two-hit relief. He retired 10 of the first 11 batters he faced, highlighted by consecutive 1-2-3 innings. He issued a leadoff walk and gave up a one-out single in the top of the seventh. But Kyle Johnson threw out Owen Conway at home plate as Conway tried to tag up and score on a fly ball to center field. That exciting play ended the inning and kept the Boilers in front, 3-2.
Downs is the 17th Purdue player to make his team debut this season.
Sean McHugh's two-out RBI single in the sixth inning had given Purdue its 3-2 lead. Cody Strong scored the go-ahead run on the timely hit after drawing a walk to lead off the inning. Conner Hudnall and Strong each had a pair of hits in the game. Strong also doubled home Johnson to tie the game in the second inning.
The Boilermakers brought in weekend starter Robert Ramer to try and close out the game in the ninth. He had earned a save in his first relief appearance of the season March 16 in the game two win at Evansville. Inheriting runners on first and second with one out in the ninth after Brett Andrzejewski had given up a walk and a single, Ramer got the ground ball he was looking for to second base. But after Zahn was safe on a close play at first, Curry delivered an opposite field single to left to tie the game. Zimmerman was then able to pull the ball through the left side and the go-ahead run scored from second base.
Purdue stranded 11 men on base in the loss, including the potential tying run at third to end the game. The Boilermakers had at least one base runner in every inning but the bottom of the seventh. Purdue left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth without scoring and also stranded a man in scoring position in the first, second and eighth innings along with the ninth.
The Boilermakers host Northwestern this weekend for a Big Ten Conference series. Action begins Friday at 7 p.m.