WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Josh Estill drove in four runs with a trio of big hits and the three Purdue pitchers that took the mound teamed up for a season-high 11 strikeouts, as the Boilermakers clinched a series victory against Southern Illinois with a 5-3 win Saturday evening at Alexander Field.
Purdue (15-27) claimed its third weekend series win of the season and first since sweeping Penn State in Central Pennsylvania the final weekend of March. The Boilermakers clinched their first series victory in the history of Alexander Field. Fans can bring their dogs to Alexander Field for Sunday's series finale as part of the Bark in the Park promotion.
Jordan Minch, Tim McElroy and Brad Schreiber made the big pitches when they needed to, leaving 11 SIU runners on base. Minch struck out seven over 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball, allowing SIU (21-26) to score in only one inning. McElroy struck out the first man he faced to leave the bases loaded in the seventh. Schreiber struck out three of the four batters he faced to close out the win and earn his first save since 2010.
Estill went 3-for-4 with four RBI, driving in the go-ahead run with a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh. He also came through with a two-out RBI double in the first and a two-run single in the fifth. The freshman has posted seven-, three- and four-RBI efforts in the last six games. He has 14 RBI in the last six games after recording seven RBI in his first 31 games of the year.
Minch gave Purdue a quality start for the fifth time in his last six starts. He retired seven consecutive batters from the second through fourth innings, but the top of the third turned out to be the lefty's only 1-2-3 inning of the night. The freshman stranded a man at third in the first inning, pitched over a one-out double in the second and escaped a big jam in the sixth to keep the game tied. An infield single, walk and a wild pitch gave SIU runners on second and third with no outs in the top of the sixth. Minch struck out the No. 8 and 9 hitters for the first two outs of frame and ended the threat when he got the leadoff man to fly out to center field.
Minch was already over 100 pitches as he began the seventh inning. After retiring the first two batters, back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases. McElroy got the call to face SIU's No. 7 hitter, left-handed Nick Johnson. McElroy fell behind in the count 2-0 but came back to strike out Johnson. McElroy has left 13 of 17 inherited runners on base this season, including all five this series.
After retiring the first two batters of the eighth inning, McElroy hit the SIU leadoff man with a pitch. Schreiber got the call to face SIU's string of four straight right-handed hitters. Jake Welch stole second base and took third on a wild pitch. But Schreiber came back from a 3-0 count to strike out Rennie Troggio to end the inning, leaving the potential tying run at third.
Schreiber went on to work a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out the final two batters of the game.
Southern Illinois took a 3-1 lead thanks to three hits and an error in the top of the fifth. Austin Montgomery delivered the big hit, a two-out, two-run double to left field after an error had helped keep the inning alive.
But Purdue answered right back in the bottom of the frame, tying the game on Estill's two-run single up the middle. Back-to-back singles from Conner Hudnall and Sean McHugh to open the inning ignited the rally.
In the bottom of the seventh, Kyle Wood drew a two-out walk and scored the go-ahead run from first base on Estill's double to left center.
Cody Strong drew a leadoff walk in the eighth inning and eventually scored an insurance run on a wild pitch. Hudnall and Hudnall both extended their reached base safely streaks as starters. Hudnall's is now at 22 consecutive games, Strong's 16. Kyle Johnson's reached safely streak in all games ended at 12 Saturday.