April 30, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Good pitching supposedly beats good hitting, and on Saturday nothing could have been more true as the Purdue Boilermakers swept a doubleheader from the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Lambert Field. The Boilermakers won by scores of 6-2 and 3-0, limiting the Gophers to just six hits on the afternoon.
Purdue, which has the best earned run average in the Big Ten Conferencer in conference games, received two complete-game efforts from its starting pitchers on Saturday. Senior Mitch Pruemer (4-5) and junior Brent Coudron (3-3) were masterful against the Gopher hitters.
Pruemer went the distance in Game One, striking out five and allowing just four hits in Purdue's 6-2 win. Coudron one-upped his teammate, tossing a two-hit shutout in the nightcap, striking out four in a 3-0 victory.
With the twinbill sweep, the Boilermakers moved to 3-0 on the weekend, handing Minnesota its first series loss since April 2002. The Golden Gophers had either won or split 24 consecutive Big Ten series before they met the Boilermakers on Lambert Field this weekend. The last time Minnesota lost a Big Ten series of any kind was a 2-1 series loss to Illinois on April 19-20, 2002. The last four-game series loss by the Gophers came on April 27-29, when Ohio State swept the four-game set.
Purdue's last series win over Minnesota was May 12-14, 2000, when the Boilermakers took three of four from the Gophers in Minneapolis.
The Boilermakers never trailed on Saturday, grabbing the lead in the first game right off the bat. Two runs in the first inning and one in the second staked Purdue to a 3-0 lead.
Purdue wasted very little time setting the tempo for the afternoon as sophomore Mitch Hilligoss walked to lead off the first inning and senior Mike Coles ripped the first pitch he saw from UM starter Cole DeVries over the left field wall for a two-run homer. The blast was Coles' third of the year.
In the second inning, senior Andy Dahl bunted for a base hit and was followed by a single by junior Tyler Heck. Hilligoss reached on an error to load the bases and Coles followed with an RBI groundout, making the score 3-0.
Minnesota scored a run on three hits in the third inning off Pruemer to close the score to 3-1. Pruemer would allow only one hit for the rest of the ballgame.
Coles struck from another RBI, his fourth of the game, in the fourth inning when the centerfielder tripled off the wall in left-center, scoring Hilligoss from first base. Hilligoss reached with a one-out single. Junior Eric Wolfe drove home Coles from third with a sacrifice fly to center.
Icing was put on the proverbial cake in the fifth inning when Hilligoss singled up the middle to score sophomore Eric Osborn from second with Purdue's sixth run. Osborn opened the inning with a hit-by-pitch and advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch.
Minnesota got its fourth and final hit of the game in the seventh when Andy Hunter led off with a home run, but it was much too little, much too late. A groundout, hit-by-pitch and doubleplay ball ended the contest, giving Pruemer his fourth complete game of the season.
In Game One, Coles went 2-for-4 with four RBI, while Hilligoss was 2-for-3 at the plate. Junior John Hunter was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish with two doubles, the first two two-baggers of the season for the Purdue third baseman.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Minnesota threatened in the first when David Hrncirik reached second base after a fielder's choice and a stolen base. The UM third baseman would be stranded there as Coudron recorded a strikeout and a flyout. Hrncirik would be the only Gopher baserunner to reach second base for the entire game.
Purdue stuck in the second inning to get on the scoreboard, getting a double by Hunter and a single by junior Neal Gorka before Osborn picked up the RBI with a sacrifice bunt.
The Boilermakers would hold on to the 1-0 lead until the fifth inning, when Dahl tripled to right-center with one down and Hilligoss singled on a 1-2 pitch with two out. The lead was advanced to 3-0 one inning later when Osborn singled up the middle with two down, scoring Wolfe from second.
Coudron carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning before a flair into right field by Luke MacLean broke up the bid. The complete game was Coudron's second of the season, and the shutout was his first in a solo effort. The Purdue southpaw had combined on a shutout vs. Western Michigan on March 26.
In Game Two, Hilligoss picked up two more hits at the plate, giving him six in the series and raising his season batting average to .413 (59-for-143), third-best in the Big Ten trhough Saturday's action. Michigan's Chris Getz leads the Big Ten at .422 (57-for-135), and Northwestern's Pat McMahon is second with a .420 (60-for-143).
Purdue and Minnesota complete the conference series on Saunday with a noon first pitch at Lambert Field. The game will be broadcast on AM 1410 WLAS and at www.purduesports.com, with Kyle Charters and Ben Fritz calling the action.