Boilermakers Lose Back and Forth Affair
May 7, 2017

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In a game that featured six lead changes and six multi-run innings, it was Northwestern that scored last and hung to defeat Purdue baseball 8-7 in a Sunday rubber game at Alexander Field.

The Boilermakers (26-20, 10-8 B1G) finished their season-long homestand at 7-2, but slipped to 2-8 on Sundays this season. The Wildcats (19-27, 8-10 B1G) dealt Purdue only its third loss of the year in a one-run game while winning their third straight series in West Lafayette dating back to 2010.

Northwestern leadoff man Alex Erro played a key role in six of his team's eight runs, finishing the day 3-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored. He connected for a two-out, three-run homer just to the left of the right-field foul pole in the second inning. But it was his sinking line drive in the sixth inning that ultimately decided the game. The two-out single came with runners on the corners. Ben Dickey scored the go-ahead run from first base after the ball skipped past center fielder Skyler Hunter.

Jacson McGowan had five productive plate appearances while recording his second collegiate four-hit game, both coming during the homestand. He singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but was stranded at second base while representing the tying run. The Boilermakers left 10 men on base, including the bases loaded in the fifth and eighth innings.

After taking a 7-6 lead on McGowan's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, Purdue was just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position the remainder of the game. That one hit came from Mike Madej immediately after the Boilermaker had taken the lead and it did not plate McGowan from second base.

Jack Dunn's perfectly placed bloop double down the right-field line with two outs in the fourth inning gave NU the lead back at 6-5. It was the Wildcats' second bloop hit of the inning. Jake Scheiber and Ben Dickey scored on the play. They were a big reason why NU's 7-8-9 hitters were a combined 5-for-9 with three walks and six runs scored.

Harry Shipley joined McGowan as Boilermakers to reach base safely four times. He singled twice and scored three times. The junior stole his 20th base of the season in the fifth inning, becoming the first Purdue player with 20 steals since Mitch Hilligoss (25) in 2005.

McGowan finished the homestand 16-for-34 (.471) with nine RBI. Shipley was 11-for-31 (.355) with six free passes, eight stolen bases and seven runs scored over the last night games.

McGowan drove in a run in his first three plate appearances. He tripled over the center fielder's head in the first inning, drove the ball deep to right field for a sac fly in the bottom of the third and accounted for the third of the Boilermakers' four singles in the fifth inning.

Pete Hofman earned his second save of the series, retiring four of the five batters he faced Sunday. He got Hunter to fly out to left field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth and worked around McGowan's leadoff hit the following frame. Tyler Lass (2-0) was otherwise NU's most effective pitcher of the day, retiring eight of the 10 batters he faced.

Purdue had to go to the bullpen in the fourth inning after starter Mike Kornacker had to leave the game due to injury during the pre-inning warmups. Jack Dellinger (2-4) made his first relief appearance since March 5. The freshman worked 2 2/3 innings and the unearned run with two outs in the sixth inning ultimately cost him the loss.

The Boilermakers return to action Tuesday when they resume midweek play with a 4 p.m. ET game at Valparaiso.




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