April 8, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Matt Morgan and Nick Wittgren teamed up to strike out 14 batters in a combined shutout effort, leading Purdue baseball to an 8-0 win against Michigan in the Big Ten home opener for the Boilermakers Friday afternoon at Lambert Field.
Cameron Perkins delivered a pair of two-run extra-base hits to post his third career four-RBI effort, extending his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games. Barrett Serrato capped the scoring in Purdue's five-run fifth inning with his first career home run, launching a pitch off the scoreboard in right field.
Morgan pitched out of a pair of early jams and struck out eight over six innings of four-hit ball. Wittgren picked up his fifth save of the season with three innings of one-hit relief, striking out a career-high six. Morgan struck out the side in the fourth inning and Wittgren did the same in the seventh. The pitchers teamed up to record at least one strikeout in every inning but the fifth.
The season-high 14 strikeouts were the most for Purdue (19-10, 2-2 Big Ten) since also fanning 14 in a 2010 series-opening win against Penn State at Lambert Field. The shutout victory was Purdue's third of the season and second in Big Ten play.
Eric Charles reached base safely four times and scored the game's first run thanks to a nifty slide on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Bridges with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Charles was safe at the plate on a close play after sliding to the far side of the plate and getting his hand on the plate before the tag was applied by Michigan catcher Coley Crank.
The Boilermakers blew the game open and knocked out Michigan (7-20, 1-3 Big Ten) starting pitcher Kyle Clark with a big fifth inning. David Miller ignited the rally with a one-out walk. After stealing second base, he scored on base hit into left center by Tyler Spillner. Charles also walked and both base runners scored easily when Perkins tripled into the right field corner, chasing Clark.
Perkins scored on a Kevin Plawecki sacrifice fly and Serrato followed with the second home run of the season at Lambert Field.
The Wolverines nearly took the lead in the top of the fifth. Patrick Biondi tripled and Anthony Toth was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with two outs. Michigan's leading hitter, Michael O'Neill, hit a long fly ball to left that chased Stephen Talbott to the warning track, where the outfielder made the catch a step in front of the fence to end the inning.
The Wolverines stranded a pair of runners in the first, second, fifth and sixth innings. Morgan came up with a big strikeout with one out and runners on second and third in the first, fanning the cleanup hitter Crank. An inning later, he got Biondi swinging to leave runners on first and second.
Morgan retired nine straight his second time through the Michigan lineup. Wittgren struck out six of the 11 batters he faced. The Boilermakers did not strikeout against Clark and fanned only five times on the day.
Purdue tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning thanks to three straight two-out hits. Spillner and Charles singled and Perkins again plated both teammates, this time connecting for a double off the fence in left center.
Game two of the series is set for Saturday at noon and will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.