April 9, 2011
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball scored four times in the seventh inning thanks to seven consecutive productive plate appearances, rallying to defeat Michigan, 4-2, Saturday afternoon and in the process posting its first series victory against the Wolverines since 2004.
Sean McHugh ignited the seventh-inning rally with a good at-bat that saw the freshman draw a walk after fouling off a number of pitches. A pair of bunts followed, Michigan starter Bobby Brosnahan having to field both. Brosnahan hesitated and threw the ball into center field on a sacrifice by David Miller. Moments later Eric Charles beat out a bunt up the third base line, loading the bases and chasing Brosnahan (1-6).
Alex Lakatos took over on the mound and the Purdue hitters were aggressive against the Michigan reliever. All five batters Lakatos faced in the inning swung at the first pitch, four putting it in play. The Boilermakers (20-10, 3-2 Big Ten) went station-to-station on the base hits by Talbott and Perkins, which tied the game. Kevin Plawecki drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to right. After Talbott and Perkins executed a double steal on a swinging strike against Barrett Serrato, the junior hit the next pitch into left field for another sacrifice fly. Talbott was safe at home on a close play.
Brad Schreiber put together another quality start, limiting Michigan (7-20, 1-4 Big Ten) to two runs on six hits while striking out seven through six innings. Blake Mascarello (1-3) earned the win by retiring eight of the 10 batters he faced over 2 2/3 innings of one-hit relief. Nick Wittgren earned a save for the second day in a row by getting Anthony Toth to ground out to second base to end the game while representing the potential tying run.
Brosnahan frustrated Purdue through six innings, giving up only four hits while striking out four. All three runs he was charged with scored after he had left the game in the seventh.
Both teams had a runner thrown out at the plate to end an inning. Charles was cut down by Patrick Biondi from center field while trying to score on a two-out single by Perkins in the bottom of the third.
Charles returned the favor in the top of the fourth, throwing out Garrett Stephens at the plate on a bloop double into right center off the bat of Kevin Krantz. The Purdue outfielders didn't pick up the ball off the bat. Charles wasn't able to make a diving catch but sprung to his feet and made a strong throw to Plawecki to save the Boilermakers a run.
Tyler Spillner also prevented an insurance run from scoring in the top of the seventh when he made a diving catch in center field on a blooper off the bat of John Lorenz with a runner on second and two outs.
Schreiber limited the damage in the first inning after the Wolverines loaded the bases before making an out. The Purdue pitcher struck out cleanup hitter Coley Crank and gave up only one run in the frame on a sacrifice fly.
Schreiber went on to record at least one strikeout in every inning he worked but the sixth. Michigan tacked on an insurance run on a double by Lakatos in the sixth but Schreiber got out of the inning, leaving runners on the corners.
Mascarello retired six in a row after Michigan's No. 3 hitter, Michael O'Neill, bunted for a hit with two outs in the seventh inning. The lefty retired the 5-6-7 portion of the Wolverines' lineup in 1-2-3 fashion in the top of the eighth after Purdue had taken the lead.
Wittgren was called on finish the game when Biondi reached on a two-out error in the ninth, bringing the potential tying run to the plate.
Charles reached base safely in three of his four plate appearances while batting leadoff for the second time this season.
Lorenz made a pair of nice defensive plays at third base, highlighted by a diving stop and strong throw across the diamond to rob Talbott of a potential double in the third inning. That effort helped snuff out a developing Purdue rally, as Charles was already aboard and Perkins followed with a base hit.
The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.