LINCOLN, Neb. -- Cameron Perkins homered twice and Blake Mascarello retired all 13 batters he faced over 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, leading No. 16 Purdue baseball to its 10th straight win, a series-opening victory at Nebraska, 8-5, Friday evening.
The Boilermakers (30-5, 11-2 Big Ten) posted their 30th win of the season Friday, April 20 marking the earliest in program history they have reached the benchmark. Purdue has registered 10 wins in a row for the second time this season, marking the first time in team history there have been a pair of 10-game runs in the same year.
Purdue scored four times with two outs in the top of the first and led 5-0 after Perkins' solo home run in the second. But Nebraska (25-14, 7-6 Big Ten) rallied to tie the game with two runs in the third and three more in the fourth.
Perkins connected for his second longball, a two-run blast to left, in the fifth inning to quickly give the Boilers the lead back. Purdue led the rest of the game thanks to another stellar relief outing from Mascarello (7-1). The left-hander got the first batter he faced to hit into a 6-3 inning-ending double play in the fifth inning, highlighted by an athletic play by David Miller at shortstop and a nice scoop by Angelo Cianfrocco at first base. Mascarello went on to close the game out with four consecutive 1-2-3 innings, striking out three.
Mascarello now leads the Big Ten with seven wins despite not starting a game all season. It marked the fourth time this season he has worked at least four innings of scoreless relief in a Purdue victory.
The Boilermakers improved to 7-0 on Fridays and 10-0 in games started by Joe Haase, who retired seven of the first eight batters he faced before running into trouble. The senior gave way to Mascarello after a one-out error in the fifth inning. Haase and Mascarello teamed up to retire the Nebraska leadoff man in each of the nine innings.
Barrett Serrato, Cianfrocco and Dixon delivered the two-out, run-scoring singles in the first inning. Miller plated an insurance run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right field in the seventh inning.
Perkins posted his third career multi-homer game, all three coming in Big Ten play. It was the first multi-homer showing by a Boiler since Perkins went deep twice on May 1, 2011, versus Indiana, Purdue's 30th victory of last year's 37-win season. The Boilermakers had not hit a home run in Big Ten play since March 25 at Ohio State.
Serrato, Miller and Perkins each accounted for a nice defensive play on the night. Serrato made a diving catch in right field to take a hit away from Austin Darby to end the eighth inning. Miller's double-play turn at second base on the ball hit by Darby in the fifth was most impressive because the runner on first base was in motion. Miller had to jump over the runner after winning a tight race to the bag.
Perkins, meanwhile, fielded a hot shot off the bat of Richard Stock and turned an inning-ending 5-3 double play in the fourth inning. That play came after five consecutive Nebraska batters had reached base safely and the Huskers had tied the game.
Beginning with a single from Kevin Plawecki, five consecutive Boilers reached safely with two outs in the first inning. Serrato and Cianfrocco followed with back-to-back RBI singles. After a walk to Miller, Dixon slapped a pitch off the glove of the diving shortstop and up the middle, plating two more.
Nebraska starter Jon Keller was pulled after issuing a leadoff walk to Tyler Spillner in the second inning. Spillner later drew his 100th career walk in the sixth inning, reaching base safely four times on the night.
The Huskers used six pitchers in the game. Perkins connected for his two home runs off Tyler Niederklein (2-2), whose 3 1/3 innings were the longest outing of any of the hurlers to take the hill for Nebraska. Eric Charles singled in front of Perkins' second homer. With two runs scored Friday, Charles increased his career total to 163 and moved within five of the program all-time record.
Back-to-back singles from Plawecki and Serrato followed by a walk to Cianfrocco loaded the bases for Miller in the seventh. The senior fell behind in the count early but battled the lefty on the mound and eventually delivered a sac fly to right field.