WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Highlighted by a two-run homer from Brandon Krieg, Purdue baseball scored four times in the second inning and rode the extended rally to a 6-4 series-opening win against Southern Illinois Friday evening at Alexander Field.
The Boilermakers (14-27) won the game despite getting out hit 15-8. Robert Ramer (3-4) scattered 11 hits over 5 2/3 innings of three-run ball, earning his 16th career victory to join the program's all-time leaderboard. He erased a pair of singles thanks to double play balls. The senior has induced a team-high 14 ground ball double plays this year.
Brett Andrzejewski struck out the only batter he faced to close out the win with runners on the corners and the potential tying run at first base. It was his first save as a Boiler and only the fifth save for Purdue this year. Mike Lutz worked 2 2/3 innings of one-run relief in his 20th appearance of the season. But after Lutz gave up consecutive two-out singles in the ninth, the Boilers went to the bullpen for Andrzejewski.
Four hits and a squeeze bunt from Kyle Bischoff led to four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Kyle Wood and Kyle Johnson singled with one out to bring up Cody Strong with two men aboard. After an extended at-bat, Strong slapped a hit-and-run single through the right side to plate the game's first run. Bischoff then executed the squeeze bunt to score Johnson, who had gone first-to-third on Strong's single.
Krieg connected for only the second home run to left field at Alexander Field. It was his second long ball of the season. Matt Jones later led off the top of the sixth with a homer to left field for SIU (21-25).
Bischoff dug out a number of low throws at first base to save the Purdue infielders errors Friday. He also made an impressive diving stop to take away a single from Brock Harding and record the second out of the eighth inning.
Tim McElroy took over for Ramer with runners on the corners and two outs in the sixth. Having already scored twice in the inning, SIU had the tying run at the plate. McElroy walked the No. 9 hitter to load the bases, but he got ahead of the Salukis' leadoff man and got him to fly to right field to end the threat.
Conner Hudnall delivered a two-out RBI single in the fourth inning after Purdue was unable to execute a squeeze bunt successfully again. He also made a nice diving catch in right center to begin the game. But the most impressive defensive play of the night by an outfielder came from Harding in the bottom of the fifth. In his first inning in the field, he made a diving catch in left center on a line drive off the bat of Strong. He got up and doubled off Wood at second base.
Hudnall reached base safely for the 21st consecutive game that he has started. Strong has now been on safely at least once in the last 15 games he has started. Johnson had two hits to push his reached base safely streak to 12 games overall.
Game two of the series is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday.