WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Starting pitchers Lance Breedlove and Connor Podkul teamed up to allow only one earned run over 14 innings Sunday, leading No. 18 Purdue baseball to a doubleheader and series sweep of Illinois at Lambert Field. Head coach Doug Schreiber won his 408th career game in the nightcap to become the program's all-time leader.
The Boilermakers (28-5, 10-2 Big Ten) won game won, 4-1, and scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to take game two, 5-3. Purdue has won eight consecutive games and now holds a 2 ½-game lead in the Big Ten standings over second-place Minnesota.
Schreiber eclipsed the program wins record held by Dave Alexander, who Schreiber played for from 1983-86. He received numerous postgame congratulations from numerous people in attendance as well as a postgame Gatorade shower from his players, his second ceremonial dousing in the last 15 days. He received a similar postgame shower after winning his 400th game March 31.
Breedlove (6-2) and reliever Blake Mascarello (6-1) both earned their sixth wins of the season. Breedlove lowered his ERA in Big Ten play to 0.55 with 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball. He has now pitched 25 consecutive shutout innings at Lambert Field dating back to May 2011.
Mascarello pitched the final 2 2/3 innings of game two, surrendering only an unearned run. Illinois (18-16, 3-6 Big Ten) tied the game in the top of the eighth after a throwing error on catcher Kevin Plawecki, his first miscue of the season, but Mascarello prevented the Illini from going in front. With runners on the corners and one out, he induced an inning-ending 6-3 ground ball double play off the bat of No. 3 hitter Justin Parr. Shortstop David Miller handled that play himself, a fitting highlight on a solid defensive weekend for the leader of the infield.
Purdue scored three of its five runs in game two on wild pitches. Plawecki scored the go-ahead run in the eighth on a wild pitch with two outs and Miller at the plate.
Illinois did not score its first run of the series until the ninth inning of game one Sunday. The Purdue pitching staff has surrendered no more than four runs during the eight-game win streak, compiling a 1.12 team ERA.
The Boilermakers posted their second consecutive weekend sweep after failing to seal the deal in their first two Big Ten series of the season. It was Purdue's fifth undefeated weekend overall this year. The Boilers have swept back-to-back Big Ten series for the first time since 2001 and brought out the brooms against Illinois for the first time since April 2000.
The Boilermakers return to action Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. ET midweek game at Illinois-Chicago.
Game One Recap Breedlove stuck out seven but only recorded a pair of 1-2-3 innings. He pitched over two-out doubles in the each of the first two innings and leadoff walks in the fourth and fifth.
The game was scoreless until the fifth inning. Angelo Cianfrocco led off the frame with a double into the right field corner and moved into third on a base hit from Miller. Dixon executed a squeeze bunt to score the run.
The first four Purdue batters of the sixth inning reached base safely, chasing starter John Kravetz (5-3). Serrato and Miller drew bases-loaded walks to force in runs. Back-to-back singles from Eric Charles and Cameron Perkins ignited the rally.
Pinch hitters helped the Boilers tack on another insurance run in the eighth inning. With a lefty on the mound, Ryan Bridges pinch hit for Cianfrocco and doubled down the left field line. Sean McHugh later hit for Dixon and delivered a two-out RBI single.
Nick Wittgren closed out the win for his seven save of the season and 18th career, but not before surrendering three straight singles to begin the ninth. When Reid Roper singled through the left side to plate Jordan Parr, it ended a streak of 22 consecutive scoreless innings by Purdue pitching dating back to Wednesday's win at Ball State.
VWittgren regrouped, striking out pinch hitter Thomas Shelton and getting David Kerian to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Game Two Recap All six strikeouts recorded by Purdue pitchers were of the called strike three variety. Podkul surrendered only two hits and did not issue a walk over 6 1/3 innings, the longest outing in his short time as a Boiler. The freshman retired the final nine batters he faced.
Mascarello issued a leadoff walk to pinch hitter Will Krug in the eighth inning, giving the Illini their first base runner since the fourth. With the runner representing the tying run, Shelton was asked to bunt. Plawecki quickly pounced on the ball right in front of home plate, but his throw to Miller at second base was low and rolled into no's man land behind the bag, allowing Krug to take third. Thomas Lindauer followed with an RBI single into right field to tie the game.
With runners on first and second and still no outs, Willie Argo initially showed bunt. Purdue brought the corners in and Miller was moving to cover the second base bag when Argo pulled the bat back. He hit a sharp ground ball over the pitcher's mound. Miller handled the grounder cleanly and stepped on the bag at second base. But Cianfrocco could not get back to first base in time to receive the throw, preventing a potential double play. But Mascarello got Parr to hit another grounder to Miller near the bag and it led to an inning-ending twin killing.
Plawecki drew a leadoff walk in the eighth. Serrato executed a sacrifice bunt to advance Plawecki into scoring position and a grounder to first off the bat of Cianfrocco allowed him to take third. The productive out turned out to be a key play when Matt Millroy (1-4) threw a fastball to the backstop with Miller at the plate, allowing Plawecki to score. Miller eventually walked, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out single from Dixon.
Tyler Spillner (first inning) and Eric Charles (third) also scored on wild pitches in the win. Serrato knocked in Purdue's second run of the first inning with a sacrifice fly to left field.