May 7, 2005
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Purdue Nine received another quality Big Ten start from Scott Byrnes as the Boilermakers knocked off the Michigan Wolverines in the conference series opener on Saturday evening at Ray Fisher Stadium, 7-3.
Purdue is now 4-1 in Big Ten games in which Byrnes has started, dropping only a 6-3 contest in the opening weekend at Big Ten play to Penn State in a game that Byrnes left in the seventh inning with Purdue leading 3-2. Byrnes is now 4-0 in Big Ten starts with a 2.43 earned-run average, and has averaged 7.1 innings per start.
With the win, Purdue is now 10-7 in Big Ten play and currently in third place behind Illinois (17-6) and Iowa (14-9). The Boilermakers are 17-22 overall on the 2005 season. Michigan, the pre-season favorite to win the conference title, is now 28-13 overall and 8-10 in Big Ten action.
Purdue never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a Neal Gorka solo home run to left field against Michigan ace Jim Brauer (6-2). The Boilermakers added another run in the fourth when Eric Wolfe picked up his first triple of the season and then came home on a run-scoring single by John Hunter.
Michigan cut the Purdue lead in half with a run in the fifth, but the Old Gold and Black answered with a two-spot in the sixth inning. Mitch Hilligoss singled on the infield on a ball that hit Brauer in the pitching hand. After throwing a couple of pitches to make sure he could continue, Brauer served up a two-run home run to left by Mike Coles, giving the Boilermakers a 4-1 lead.
A Wolverine run in the bottom of the sixth was answered in the seventh when Andy Dahl singled up the middle, swiped second base and come around to score when Hilligoss lofted a drive over the left fielder's head for a RBI double.
Trailing 5-2, Michigan fought back for another run in the eighth inning, keeping the pressure on the Boilermakers in front of a crowd of 895. The pressure was accepted by Purdue, which put two insurance runs on the scoreboard in the top of the ninth. Dahl doubled to left and Tyler Heck dropped down a bunt that rolled to a stop on top of the third base line for a single. A squeeze bunt by Hilligoss gave the Purdue shortstop his second RBI of the game, scoring Dahl from third. With two down, Eric Wolfe lined a single to left to score Heck and cap the scoring.
Byrnes left the game with one out in the eighth, allowing six hits and three runs with three strikeouts. Chris Toneguzzi pitched the final 1.2 innings, striking out three, for his fourth save of the season.
Hilligoss, Coles, Wolfe and Dahl each collected two hits in the game, while Hilligoss and Coles recorded two RBI each.
Purdue and Michigan return to Ray Fisher Stadium for a Sunday doubleheader beginning at 1:05 p.m. Eastern Daylight (12:05 in West Lafayette). Both games will be broadcast on AM 1410 WLAS and via the web at www.purduesports.com, with Kyle Charters and Mark Leddy calling the action.