WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Cameron Perkins connected for a pair of home runs en route to a career-high six-RBI performance and the bullpen put together eight innings of three-run ball, leading Purdue baseball to a 14-5 victory versus Indiana Sunday afternoon that punctuated a three-game series sweep.
The Boilermakers (30-13, 10-5 Big Ten) remained in a first-place tie with Michigan State atop the Big Ten Conference standings. The two teams will square off next weekend in East Lansing. The series sweep was Purdue's first against the Hoosiers (25-19, 6-9 Big Ten) since 1997. The Boilermakers have won nine of the last 12 meetings with IU dating back to the 2008 Big Ten Tournament.
With its first series sweep of a Big Ten opponent since winning all three versus Penn State in April of last season, Purdue improved to 13-3 since dropping two-of-three in its conference-opening series at Minnesota (April 1-2).
With the wind blowing out to left for much of the day, five home runs were hit at Lambert Field Sunday after there had been only five hit in the first nine games of the season.
Perkins connected for a two-run shot in the third inning that gave the Boilers the lead for good. He also hit a three-run shot in the fifth after an error helped extend the frame. It was his second collegiate multi-homer game, both coming in Big Ten play at home. He became the first Purdue player with six RBIs in a game since Nick Overmyer in April 2009.
Stephen Talbott also went deep to lead off the Boilers' five-run seventh inning, blasting his first career home run at Lambert Field out to left center. It was his first long ball of the year and third career.
Calvin Gunter (5-0) earned the victory with 3 1/3 innings of one-hit relief. He retired the first nine batters he faced, stranding runners on the corners in the second inning after entering the game with no outs and Indiana leading 2-1. The lefty struck out three and did not issue a walk.
Lance Breedlove closed the game out with 3 2/3 innings of one-run relief to earn his second save of the year. Angelo Cianfrocco made his Purdue debut on the mound, retiring three of the five batters he faced.
Wes Wilson connected for home runs off Cianfrocco and Breedlove in the sixth and eighth innings, accounting for the Hoosiers' only runs after Purdue took the lead on Perkins' long ball in the third.
Perkins doubled home a run in his final at-bat to finish with 10 total bases. He leads the team with seven home runs this season.
Wilson's two-run homer in the sixth inning cut the Boilers' lead in half entering the late innings. Following Talbott's leadoff home run in the bottom of the seventh, a walk to Tyler Spillner and base hit by Charles ignited the long rally. After a walk to Kevin Plawecki loaded the bases, Indiana called on lefty reliever Eric Kartman to face Barrett Serrato. Serrato lined a pitch into left center that IU outfielder Trace Knoblauch took a poor route to and saw it get over his head for a two-run double, which effectively blew the game open. Andrew Dixon and David Miller later each singled home a run to cap the rally.
The Hoosiers had an opportunity to open up an early lead after each of their first two hitters reached safely in the game's first two innings. Purdue starter Robert Ramer was able to get out of the first inning by retiring No. 3 and 4 hitters Alex Dickerson and Jerrud Sabourin. Plawecki also threw out Micah Johnson trying to steal second base. That accounted for the second out of the inning and prevented a run from scoring on Sabourin's fly ball to right center. Johnson was removed from the game when Indiana took the field for the bottom of the first.
Ramer was unable to record an out in the second inning. Knoblauch's two-run single gave the Hoosiers the lead and chased Ramer. But Gunter kept it a one-run game, inducing a pair of pop outs and coming back from a 3-0 count to strikeout Casey Smith to end the treat with Dickerson waiting on deck.
Gunter went on to record 1-2-3 frames in both the third and fourth innings. He worked 6 2/3 innings of one-run relief over two appearances in the series.
Purdue does not have any midweek games this week due to final exams on campus. The showdown series with Michigan State is slated for May 6-8 in East Lansing. The Spartans swept Penn State this weekend and are 6-0 at home in Big Ten play. The first pitch of Friday's series opener is set for 3 p.m.