April 26, 2013
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EAST LANSING, Mich.
-- A rough first inning and a complete-game effort from the opposing pitching doomed Purdue baseball in a series-opening loss at Michigan State, 8-1, Friday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (12-26, 4-12 Big Ten) faced an early deficit after MSU (23-12, 6-4 Big Ten) scored four times on five hits and two errors in the bottom of the first. Purdue starter Robert Ramer (2-4) regrouped and pitched well for the next five innings, finishing the day with six strikeouts versus no walks.
Michigan State's Andrew Waszak (4-2) needed only 88 pitches for his second complete game of the season. He too pounded the strike zone and did not issue a walk. The Boilermakers had their chances early against the senior right-hander, but could not take advantage of the leadoff man reaching safely in three of the first four innings. Purdue left seven runners on base over that stretch, standing the bases loaded in the third.
Kyle Wood connected for his team-leading fourth home run of the season in the fifth inning to account for Purdue's only run of the day. He homered for the second game in a row and third time in the last six games. It was only the second long ball Waskaz has allowed in 70 innings pitched this year.
The Boilermakers recorded only one hit the rest of the game after Wood's one-out home run in the top of the fifth. Only a two-out error in the eighth prevented Waszak from retiring the final eight batters of the game in order.
Purdue lost its ninth straight Big Ten game, the team's longest skid in conference play since dropping 12 in a row in 1977.
Blaise Salter had three doubles for MSU, driving in runs with two-baggers in the first and seventh innings. Jimmy Pickens delivered the first big hit of the game, a two-run double over Conner Hudnall's head in right field with two aboard in the bottom of the first. It was the first of three run-scoring hits.
Ramer retired 14 of 16 hitters from the first through sixth innings, working a pair of 1-2-3 frames during that stretch. But the Spartans' scored an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth and consecutive singles from the top of the order to open the seventh led to two more runs.
Hudnall and Wood each finished with a pair of hits for Purdue. Hudnall singled to center on the first pitch of the game and later doubled down the right field line. Wood and Kyle Johnson had back-to-back two-out singles in the top of the third. After Jack Picchiotti reached on an error, Purdue had the bases loaded. But Waszak retired Josh Estill on a fly ball to center to end the threat.
Hudnall has reached base safely in 18 consecutive games that he has started. Cody Strong had a leadoff single in the fourth to extend his reached-safely streak to 16 consecutive games. But Sean McHugh saw his streak end at 14 after he finished the day with a sac bunt and three fly outs.
Johnson hit safely for the ninth consecutive game to match Jake Hansen for the longest hitting streak on the team this year. Johnson has also hit safely in 16 of the last 17 games.
Game two of the series is set for 1 p.m. Saturday.