May. 1, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Boilermakers did what no Big Ten team has done since 2001 on Sunday, completing a four-game sweep of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Purdue rallied from a two-run deficit to defeat the Gophers at Lambert Field in the series finale, 7-3.
The conference series sweep was the first for Purdue since the Boilermakers took four from Northwestern on April 6-8, 2001, in Evanston, and the first at home since a four-game blitz of Illinois on April 21-23, 2000.
This weekend's series also marked the first series win over Minnesota for Purdue since the 2000 season, when the Boilermakers took three of four in Minneapolis, and the first series sweep of the Gophers since the 1948 season, a two-game series.
Purdue broke open a 3-3 game with four runs in the eighth inning to secure the sweep. With two down and a runner on first via Minnesota's fifth error of the ballgame, the Boilermakers unleshed four consecutive hits to blow the game open. Sophomore Mitch Hilligoss doubled to left-center to break the deadlock, scoring senior Andy Dahl from first base. Senior Mike Coles followed with a single through the right side of the infield, plating Hilligoss, and junior Eric Wolfe singled to move Coles to third. A change of pitcher did not matter as junior John Hunter greeted the fourth Gopher hurler with a double to right-center, driving in the final two runs of the ball game.
Junior closer Chris Toneguzzi picked up the victory on the mound, pitching the final 1.1 innings and striking out two. Toneguzzi (1-2) entered the game in the eighth with two down and the bases juiced and coaxed a groundout to second base to end the UM threat.
Minnnesota scored first, plating one run in the opening frame against Boilermaker starter Dan Sattler, and moved the score to 2-0 with a solo home run in the fourth by Taylor VanderAarde.
Purdue cut the lead in half in the fifth when Wolfe drew a two-out walk, moved to second on a wild pitch by starting pitcher Dustin Brabender, and then scored from second on a single by Hunter.
The Golden Gophers regained the two-run advantage in the sixth with a single unearned run as VanderAarde singled to score Andy Hunter, who had reached on an error.
The Boilermaker bats started to come to life in the home half of the sixh as junior Neal Gorka led off the inning with a single and sophomore Eric Osborn was hit by a pitch, the second HBP of the game for the Purdue second baseman. With one out, junior Tyler Heck ripped a single over the shortstop's head to score Gorka and move Osborn to second. Hilligoss followed with a single through the right side to tie the contest at 3-3, setting up the decisive eighth inning.
Hilligoss was 2-for-5 at the plate on the afternoon, scoring one run and driving in two. Hilligoss picked up his team-leading 10th double of the season and swiped his 17th base, closing to with three stolen bases of the Purdue record for a sophomore.
Hunter was also 2-for-5 for the Boilermakers and drove in three runs, while Wolfe was 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
Sattler went six inning in the start on the hill, allowing five hits and three runs, two earned. The sophomore hurler struck out three and walked two. Junior Jay Buente pitched 1.2 innings of relief before giving way to Toneguzzi.
For the weekend, the Purdue pitching staff limited Minnesota to 19 hits and seven runs in four games. The Gophers, who entered the weekend as the top hitting team in the Big Ten in conference play with a .330 average, batted only .168 against the Boilermakers as Purdue posted a 1.69 team ERA.
The Boilermakers return to Big Ten action next weekend following Finals Week in the classroom, traveling to Ann Arbor to face the Michigan Wolverines. The series begins on Saturday at Ray Fisher Stadium and continues with a Sunday doubleheader and the finale on Monday afternoon. The entire four-game series will be broadcast on AM 1410 WLAS and on the web at www.purduesports.com, with Kyle Charters and Mark Leddy on the microphone.