April 4, 2010
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue bullpen could not protect a 5-2 lead with one out in the top of the eighth, squandering an outstanding start from Matt Morgan in a 9-7 loss to Minnesota at Lambert Field on Sunday.
The Golden Gophers cut the Purdue lead to one on a two-run homer by Kyle Knudson in the top of the eighth and plated five runs on three hits and two Purdue errors in the ninth to steal the victory and the series from the Boilermakers.
Purdue dropped to 13-12 overall for the season and 1-2 in the Big Ten, while Minnesota improved 11-17 for the year and 2-1 in league play.
Leading by three, Purdue's Morgan got the first out in the top of the eighth before ceding the mound to left-hander Calvin Gunter. The sophomore southpaw issued a a five-pitch walk to Michael Kvasnicka before allowing Knudson's first home run of the season to deep left field.
Drew Wurdack took over for Gunter and gave up a pair of base hits sandwiched around a walk before departing in favor of Blake Mascarello with the bases loaded and still only one out.
Mascarello gave the Boilers a temporary reprieve with the tenuous one-run edge by ending the eighth on a strikeout and a fielder's choice grounder.
The sophomore left-hander's success in the eighth didn't carry over to the ninth as he allowed a leadoff single to Troy Larson and misplayed a sacrifice bunt attempt by AJ Pettersen for an error to put runners on first and second with nobody out.
Kvasnicka, who finished 2 for 3 with a pair runs scored, doubled down the left field line in the following at bat to plate both Larson and Pettersen and hand the Gophers a 6-5 advantage.
Knudson ended Mascarello's day on the mound with a double to center to score Kvasnicka and push the UM lead to two at 7-5. Knudson ended the contest 2 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
UM tacked on another run in the frame on a dropped fly ball by Boilermaker centerfielder Jon Moore and capped off the inning with a sacrifice fly by Kyle Geason off of Joe Haase to make it 9-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
The Boilermakers rallied for a pair of runs in the final frame on Jonathan Lilly's one-out pinch-hit homer to left-center, but couldn't pull any closer as Brad Schreiber and Cameron Perkins followed a Kevin Plawecki double with a strikeout and a pop out, respectively, to end the game.
Morgan, who went 5-0 in series-deciding Big Ten games last year, did not factor in the decision despite allowing just two runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one.
UM's Scott Matyas (1-1) picked up the victory on the mound despite allowing Lilly's first career homer in the ninth.
Mascarello (1-2) was charged with the loss after allowing four runs, two earned, on three hits in two-thirds of an inning of work.
Trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the second, the Boilers jumped out to the ill-fated three-run lead with a single run in the second, one in the third and plating three runs in the sixth.
Plawecki led the early Purdue charge with a pair of solo home runs, his third and fourth of the season to move him into a tie for the team lead. He finished the game 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Nick Overmyer went 3 for 4 with an RBI, and Moore (2 for 3, RBI, R), Perkins (2 for 5, 2 R) and Drew Madia (2 for 3, R) all paired hits for Purdue in the loss.
Purdue will look to rebound from the series loss against the Gophers with a nonconference home tilt with Valparaiso at Lambert Field on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.