April 29, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Michigan State's David Garner went the distance in the first shutout of the year thrown against No. 13 Purdue baseball, leading the Spartans to a 5-0 victory Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series at Lambert Field.
The Boilermakers (34-7, 14-4 Big Ten) lost for only the third time in April, finishing the month with a 14-3 record. Purdue won the series with victories in the first two games of the weekend, but was unable to complete a Big Ten sweep for the third time in five opportunities this season. The Boilers were blanked at home for the first time since April 2009.
Garner surrendered only five hits and did not issue a walk in his 104-pitch complete game. The sophomore relied on his slider to help record his seven strikeouts, five coming during his first two times through the Purdue lineup. The Boilermakers had only fanned seven times in their last 40 innings entering the day. Garner worked four 1-2-3 frames.
Michigan State (27-15, 8-7 Big Ten) recorded 16 hits, tying a season-high allowed by Purdue this season. Seven hits were either infield or bunt singles. Catcher John Martinez doubled in the sixth and ninth innings, recording the only extra-base hits of the day for either team.
The Spartans scored three times while sending nine men to the plate in the fourth inning. Michigan State had at least one base runner in every inning but the first, stranding 14 men on base over the course of the game.
Eric Charles accounted for two of Purdue's five hits, finishing the series 8-for-13 after recording multiple hits in all three games. He has now reached base safely in 32 consecutive Big Ten games dating back to 2011.
Andrew Dixon threw a runner out at the plate from left field in the fourth inning for one of the few highlights of the day for the Boilers.
Garner recorded 13 of his outs on ground balls but Purdue had its fair share of line drive outs. Perhaps the most significant loud out came off the bat of Cameron Perkins to end the third inning. Bennett Oliver, who made his first start of the season at shortstop, was on third base with the game still scoreless at the time. Perkins drilled a pitch into center field but the line drive hung up long enough for Anthony Cheky to make the catch. The Spartans went ahead not long after with their extended rally in the top of the fourth.
The Boilermakers lost for the first time this season in a game in which Connor Podkul (2-1) started on the mound. The freshman had just one bad inning but it brought his outing to an end. Seven of the nine batters to come to the plate for MSU in the fourth reached base safely. After an infield single, sacrifice bunt and passed ball, the Spartans scored their first run of the day on a ground ball to the right side off the bat of Torsten Boss. The cleanup hitter was safe at first when Podkul didn't cover the bag on the grounder to first. Ryan Krill and Justin Scanlon later recorded RBI singles in the inning.
Garner had retired 12 of the last 13 batters when Barrett Serrato led off the seventh inning with single. It was still a 3-0 game at the time. Batting next, Ryan Bridges hit the ball hard over the second base bag, but Scanlon made a diving stop and started a 6-4-3 to quickly squash any momentum for the Boilers.
Scanlon also led the way at the plate for the Spartans, recording four hits. All but one batter in MSU's lineup had at least one hit Sunday.
Sean Collins worked three innings of relief, surrendering an unearned run in the eighth inning. He escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning, keeping the score 3-0. After intentionally walking leadoff man Ryan Jones to load the bases, Collins struck out Jared Hook looking and got Jordan Keur to pop out to shortstop.
Purdue is idle from midweek play this week due to final exams on campus. The Boilermakers return to action Saturday when they open a three-game nonconference series at UCLA with a 4 p.m. ET doubleheader. It's a significant national series featuring two teams bidding to be national seeds in the NCAA Tournament.