WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Purdue bullpen got knocked around for 14 runs over just four innings of relief as Nebraska took both games of a Big Ten doubleheader, 10-2 and 10-4, Saturday at Alexander Field.
The Boilermakers (11-24, 4-10 Big Ten) led 3-1 entering the eighth inning of game two only to see Nebraska (18-19, 10-4 Big Ten) score nine unanswered runs in the final two frames to rally for the series-clinching victory. Purdue has lost a season-high eight straight games, giving up double-figure runs in seven of the eight losses. The Boilers also fell to 1-9 at Alexander Field this year.
A stadium dedication ceremony for the new ballpark was held before the start of game two. Purdue alumnus and former head coach Dave Alexander was the featured guest speaker at the ceremony. He provided the lead gift in honor of his parents, John and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander, that helped the new home of the Boilermakers become a reality. Senior Robert Ramer and Purdue director of athletics Morgan Burke also spoke at the dedication ceremony.
Alexander presented head coach Doug Schreiber with a plaque commemorating the stadium dedication. Special bases bearing an Alexander Field logo were used during the game. Those bases will be auctioned off via PurdueSports.com later this spring. Ramer presented Alexander with a commemorative home plate after catching the longtime Boilermaker's ceremonial first pitch.
Jordan Minch worked seven innings of one-run ball as the game two starter, striking out a season-high eight. He left the game with Purdue leading 3-1.
Sean McHugh finished the day 4-for-6 with a walk, going deep in game one as part of a three-hit effort. He has now reached base safely in 12 straight games. Kyle Johnson was 3-for-7 and was one of three Purdue outfielders to make an impressive diving catch on the night. Johnson robbed Kash Kalkowski of extra bases with a full extension catch in right center to open the fifth inning of game one. Stephen Talbott took away a hit from Pat Kelly in the first inning of game two and Jack Amaro made a diving catch down the right field line to again rob Kelly in the night cap.
Cody Strong reached base safely five times in eight plate appearances and has now been on in 12 straight games as well. Conner Hudnall had a two-out single in the third inning of game two and has now been on safely in the last 16 games he has started.
The series concludes Sunday at noon.
Game Two Recap Three singles, a walk and a throwing error on a bunt allowed Nebraska to score four times in the eighth inning, turning Purdue's two-run lead into a two-run deficit. With the tying run on third and one out, the Huskers tried a safety squeeze bunt. Austin Darby bunted the ball too hard back to the mound, forcing the runner on third to hold his ground. But pitcher Brad Schreiber (1-6), working in relief for the first time since his freshman season of 2010, threw the ball away down the right field line to allow the game-tying run to score. Josh Scheffert followed with a pinch hit two-run single to right field.
Four straight hits in the bottom of the third inning had given Purdue its 3-0 lead. Talbott ignited the rally with a one-out single, moving into second base on his 52nd career stolen base. Amaro took advantage of the second baseman holding on Talbott, bouncing a single past the infielder through the right side for an RBI single. McHugh then doubled home Amaro and Johnson's rocket off the third baseman's glove plated McHugh.
The Boilermakers had runners on second and third with one out in the first inning but were unable to score after Talbott was thrown out at the plate on a ground ball to third base. Jack Picchiotti later hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play with two aboard in the bottom of the fifth. He turned out to be the last batter that Nebraska starter Aaron Bummer faced.
Minch worked a trio of 1-2-3 innings, striking out six of the first 10 batters he faced. The only run he surrendered came on a homer from Rich Sanguinetti to open the top of the sixth.
Game One Recap Ramer (2-3) gave Purdue a chance to win after having just one bad frame in his 7 1/3 innings, but the Boilers didn't score until McHugh connected for an opposite-field home run in the bottom of the seventh. Purdue committed five errors and grounded into four double plays, including two with the bases loaded and one out.
Meanwhile, freshman relievers Tim McElroy and Patrick Kenney were responsible for five wild pitches in Nebraska's four-run eighth inning that blew the game open.
The Boilermakers threw out a pair of Nebraska players at the plate to end innings. Hudnall and Strong teamed up to cut down Michael Pritchard at the plate after Chad Christensen's two-out double down the right field line. That play kept the Huskers from taking an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
One of the wildest plays of the season ended the top of the seventh. With runners on first and second and one out, Pritchard hit a line drive back to the mound that it appeared Ramer caught on a fly. He threw to second to double off the lead runner but the umpires never ruled a catch, saying the runner on first was forced out at second. As uncertainty ensued, Sanguinetti tried to score and was thrown out at the plate.
After Nebraska had scored three times on five hits against Ramer in the top of the fifth, it appeared as though Purdue was in position to get right back in the game after back-to-back singles from McHugh and Jake Hansen as well as Strong getting hit by a pitch loaded the bases one out. Hudnall had singled in his last at-bat for Purdue's first hit of the game against Christian DeLeon (5-2), but this time the Nebraska right-hander made the big pitch and got Hudnall to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.