WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue baseball's all-freshman battery of Jordan Minch and Jack Picchiotti led the way as the Boilermakers won their Big Ten series opener against Northwestern Friday evening, 13-4, posting their first victory at Alexander Field in the process.
Purdue (11-16, 4-3 Big Ten) has now won four straight Big Ten games after starting the conference season 0-3. The Boilermakers have also won seven of the last eight against Northwestern (12-10, 2-5 Big Ten) dating back to the 2010 Big Ten Tournament.
Picchiotti was 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI as one of five Purdue players with multiple hits in the win. His two-run homer into the right field bullpen in the eighth inning was the first longball by a Boiler at Alexander Field. Picchiotti has now hit safely in eight consecutive games.
Minch (4-3) pitched into the eighth inning for the second start in a row. He gave Purdue another quality performance, highlighted by no walks allowed. The lefty scattered ninth hits over 7 1/3 innings. Two of the four runs he allowed scored after he left the game with one out in the top of the eighth.
The Boilermakers took advantage of four Northwestern errors and scored eight times with two outs thanks in part to eight two-out hits, including five consecutive in the first inning. Purdue sent 11 men to the plate during a six-run third inning rally. It matched the Boilers' third-biggest rally this season. The 13 total runs represent the second-highest offensive output of 2013.
Conner Hudnall had five productive plate appearances, finishing the night 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBI. Kyle Wood joined Picchiotti with three hits. The first five batters in the Purdue lineup each had at least one hit, one RBI and one run scored.
While six of the of the nine runs that the Boilers scored against NU starter Zach Morton (3-1) were unearned, Purdue still managed to nearly match the total amount of runs (11) the senior had allowed in 40 innings this season entering the night. All nine hits Morton surrendered were singles.
Errors by the first baseman and second baseman helped the Boilers score six unearned run in the third inning. Purdue got three straight two-out RBI singles from Stephen Talbott, Sean McHugh and Picchiotti after the two errors and a walk to Cody Strong kept the inning alive.
After the game, head coach Doug Schreiber said he was pleased that his Boilers put together another rally in the eighth inning even though they held a 10-4 lead entering the frame. Picchiotti's home run, a base hit from Wood, a double by Angelo Cianfrocco and a sac fly from Hudnall led to a three-run frame. Schreiber always talks about each game being three games of three innings. The late rally allowed Purdue to win the late-innings game within a game.
Game two of the series is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday.