No. 11 Purdue Stuns No. 14 UCLA Thanks to 10-Run Ninth Inning Rally

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Sean McHugh singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth after walking to begin the inning.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Sean McHugh singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth after walking to begin the inning.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

May 6, 2012

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LOS ANGELES -- No. 11 Purdue baseball exploded for 10 runs in the ninth inning, recording 12 consecutive productive plate appearances in the frame, to overcome a five-run deficit and stun No. 14 UCLA, 15-11, in the finale of a three-game series Sunday afternoon.

Eric Charles tied the program's all-time record for runs scored (168) when he crossed the plate with the sixth run, the go-ahead tally, of the ninth inning.

Seven of the 10 runs in the ninth scored with two outs. It marked the second time this season the Boilers (35-9) have posted double-figure runs in an inning. UCLA (31-13) used four pitchers in the ninth and nine on the day.

Sean McHugh, Angelo Cianfrocco, Ryan Bridges and David Miller all reached base safely twice in the ninth inning as Purdue sent 15 men to the plate. McHugh and Cianfrocco each scored twice. Four walks issued by UCLA closer Scott Griggs ignited the rally.

Cameron Perkins beat out an infield single on a grounder to third base with runners on the corners and two outs to plate the game-tying run. It was the second of seven consecutive two-out, run-scoring hits. McHugh followed with a base hit through the left side to knock in the go-ahead run.

Nick Wittgren (1-0) allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth but successfully closed out the game in his fourth inning of relief, earning his first win of the season.

Purdue did not enjoy its first lead until the ninth inning. The Boilermakers had tied the game with a three-run fourth inning, which was highlighted by a two-run homer from Barrett Serrato, but UCLA scored four unearned runs in bottom of the frame to retake the lead until the ninth.

Every spot in the Purdue batting order recorded an RBI. The Boilermakers drew eight walks on the day after they did not walk in all 18 innings of Saturday's doubleheader.

Serrato recorded the fourth of the seven two-out hits in the ninth inning to finish the game 4-for-5 with three RBI, posting his second career four-hit game. Cianfrocco and Bridges both finished with three hits. Miller reached base safely four times and drove in a run in each of his two plate appearances in the ninth inning. Andrew Dixon registered an RBI in a bases-loaded situation three times, singling home the second run of the ninth inning.

Eric Charles and Tyler Spillner also recorded an RBI in the ninth inning. McHugh had just entered the game as the catcher in the bottom of the eighth. He walked to begin the ninth inning in his first plate appearance of the weekend.

Purdue left 12 men on base in the win, stranding 10 entering the ninth inning while trailing 10-5. The Boilermakers had left the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth innings and failed to plate a runner from third base with less than two outs twice on the day.

After Purdue had tied the game on an RBI single from Dixon in the fourth inning, UCLA had runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the frame. Calvin Gunter got Tyler Heineman to hit a high fly ball to short right field. Serrato was unable make the catch on the move, allowing both runners to score. A pair of run-scoring hits followed as UCLA took advantage of the extra out and went up 7-3.

Serrato connected for his fifth home run of the season and seventh career with Perkins aboard in the fourth inning. It marked the third weekend in a row in which the senior has gone deep. After Purdue rallied to win the game, the Boilers improved to 6-1 when he has homered during his career.

Wittgren gave up consecutive singles to open the bottom of the ninth. But he regrouped and retired the next three batters to avoid UCLA cultivating any momentum that would have led to an extended rally. Blake Mascarello pitched for the second day in a row, working a scoreless fifth inning. He issued a leadoff walk in the sixth and the runner came around to score, accounting for the first earned run Mascarello had allowed since April 1.

Purdue scored five or more runs in an inning for the eighth time this season. All eight extended rallies have been in the sixth inning or later. The Boilermakers overcame a deficit entering the frame with three of those big innings. Purdue avoided being swept in a nonconference series for the first time since March 2009.

The Boilermakers return to action Tuesday when they take on IPFW at Minor League Baseball stadium Parkview Field in Downtown Fort Wayne. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.