April 15, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - With every run put on the scoreboard by visiting Northwestern, host Purdue countered in the following at-bat as the Boilermakers defeated the Wildcats in the opening game of a four-game Big Ten series, 4-3.
Senior hurler Scott Byrnes struck out a season-high nine batters in 8.0 innings on the hill to pick up third win of the season. Byrnes, now 3-3, allowed eight hits and three runs in the victory.
Northwestern scored a single run in the second and two runs in the fourth, but Purdue matched the Wildcat production by also scoring once in the second and twice in the fourth.
With the score tied 3-3, the Boilermaker crowd fell silent in the fifth as Byrnes took a line drive from the bat of Stanley Finch off the shoulder of his pitching arm. Byrnes was able to throw Finch out at first on the play, but was quickly joined near the mound by the Boilermaker infield, pitching coach Rob Smith and members of the Purdue Athletic Training staff.
Byrnes returned to the hill, throwing a warm-up pitch to test the arm. Staying in the game, the right-hander from Cincinnati dominated the Wildcat lineup from that point, facing one over the minimum during the next 3.1 innings.
Junior closer Chris Toneguzzi pitched the ninth inning to pick up the save, his second of the season and third of his career.
Wildcat pitcher Andrew Smith (1-4) pitched a complete game in the losing effort. Smith allowed seven hits and four runs while walking three and striking out three.
With the game knotted at 3-3 in the eighth inning, junior Neal Gorka picked up his third hit of the afternoon, lacing a one-out double into left-center. Junior John Hunter drove home the winning run on the next offering from Smith, singling up the middle to score Gorka from second.
Northwestern scored first in the contest, putting a run on the board in the second on two hits. A single by Mike Phelps through the left side of the infield scored Pat McMahon, who opened the inning with a base on balls.
Sophomore backstop Spencer Ingaldson started the bottom of the second with a free pass and Gorka was hit by a pitch to give Purdue runners on first and second. A sacrifice bunt by Hunter moved the runners into scoring position, and senior Mike Coles picked up an RBI with a fielder's choice, pushing Ingaldson home from third.
The Wildcats grabbed a 3-1 lead in the fourth when Mark Ori drew a bases-loaded walk and Jon Mikrut skied a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
The lead was short-lived as Purdue had an immediate response, scoring twice in the home half of the fourth. Again a walk led off the inning, this time coming to sophomore Eric Osborn. Ingaldson took four balls to put two runners on, and Gorka dropped down a bunt for an infield single to load the bases. Hunter picked up his first RBI of the day when he took a Smith pitch off the left arm, forcing home Osborn. Another fielder's choice by Coles resulted in another RBI for the senior as Ingaldson scored from third, tying the game at 3-3.
Gorka ended the game 3-for-3 at the plate with two doubles, his sixth and seventh of the season. The multi-hit game for Gorka was his 12th of the 2005 campaign, tying him for the team lead with sophomore Mitch Hilligoss.
Ingaldson scored twice during the game, both as a result of a free pass, while Coles and Hunter each drove in two runs.
Purdue and Northwestern return to Lambert Field at 1 p.m. on Saturday for a twinbill. Both games will be broadcast on AM 1410 WLAS in the Lafayette area and on www.purduesports.com, with Kyle Charters and Ben Fritz calling the action.