April 25, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Kyle Wood's walk-off single in the 13th-inning and Jeff Evak's game-tying, inside-the-park home run highlighted Purdue baseball's thrilling 4-3 victory against Ohio State Friday evening in the Boilermakers' seventh extra-innings affair of the season.
Runs were only scored in the three of the 26 half innings played Friday evening. It was the longest game in the short history of Alexander Field, but already the sixth extra-innings affair in the 30 games at the second-year ballpark. Five of Purdue's last 11 games, including each of the last three Big Ten series openers, have gone extras. The Boilers improved to 3-4 in extra-innings games this year.
Cody Strong led off the 13th inning with a double into left center and scored the game-winning run from second base when Wood slapped a pitch over the third baseman's head after he had initially tried to bunt. Wood was in the starting lineup Friday for the first time since April 15 after being suspended last weekend due to a violation of team rules. He joined Brandon Krieg as active Boilers with a walk-off hit.
Jordan Minch, Matt Gibbs and Mike Lutz teamed up for 11 consecutive scoreless innings after Minch gave up three runs in the top of the second. A wild swing in momentum Friday featured Lutz warming up in the bullpen in the third inning to Minch still being on the mound in the ninth. Minch retired 13 of the final 16 batters he faced, highlighted by striking out the side in the ninth inning. Ohio State had the potential go-ahead run on third base with one out in the top of the ninth, but Minch fanned OSU's No. 6 and 8 hitters around an intentional walk to Josh Dezse. It was the sophomore's longest outing as a Boiler as well as the longest by a Purdue pitcher this season. He threw over 130 pitches.
Evak enjoyed a fantastic five-minute stretch in which he connected for the inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the fifth and made a diving catch in right field to take away a leadoff double from Troy Kuhn in the top of the sixth. The freshman connected for a deep fly ball to center field that kept carrying and eventually hit off the wall to the right of the 408-feet marker. OSU's Troy Montgomery had tracked the ball to wall and tried to make a leaping catch. Instead the ball caromed towards left center and the speedy Evak was able to score easily.
Kyle Johnson was aboard when Evak came through with his first collegiate home run. Wood and Johnson opened the fifth inning with consecutive singles after OSU starter Tanner Tully had retired the first 12 batters of the game in order. Conner Hudnall's sac fly in the fifth drove in Purdue's first run.
Lutz (2-5) worked 3 2/3 innings of two-hit relief, leaving runners on the corners in the 10th, pitching over a one-out double in the 12th and working a 1-2-3 frame in the 13th. Sean McHugh threw out two base stealers and also cut down a man at third on a pitch in the dirt for the second out of the top of the 10th. It proved to be a key out after Kuhn singled off Lutz moments later.
Travis Lakins (1-3) also shined in relief for Ohio State, striking out six over five innings of one-run ball. Purdue struck out only once in seven innings against Tully, but managed just four hits.
Strong tried to score the winning run from first base on a gapper off the bat of McHugh with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but the sophomore was thrown out at the plate on a relay from the right fielder to second baseman. Purdue also had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth, but Lakins got Hudnall to pop out to short left field and then made a good play when Evak tried to bunt for a hit with two outs.
Dezse's two-run double in the second inning coupled with two walks in the top of the third looked as though it might lead to an early departure for Minch. But the lefty retired the No. 4 and 5 hitters to end the third and then was the beneficiary of inning-ending double plays to erase one-out singles the next two frames.
Umpire Jason Stidham was unfortunately involved in two plays that ended up benefitting Ohio State. Strong ran into the ump between the mound and second base while trying to make a play on a bunt that got by Minch in the second inning. Instead of a sacrifice bunt, it went for a single. Dezse's two-run double followed. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Ted Snidanko hit a chopper down the third base line that snuck under the glove of the third baseman. But instead of rolling down the left field line, the ball hit Stidham standing behind the bag.
Wood reached base safely for a 19th consecutive game Friday. He, Strong and McHugh each had two hits Friday.
The victory ended OSU's eight-game win streak in West Lafayette dating back to 2007.
Game two of the series is set for 5:30 p.m. The start time was moved back from the originally announced 2 p.m. first pitch.