Purdue Loses One-Run Heartbreaker in Opener at Michigan

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Robert Ramer gave Purdue a chance to win after surrendering three earned runs over six-plus innings.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Robert Ramer gave Purdue a chance to win after surrendering three earned runs over six-plus innings.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

May 10, 2013

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Purdue baseball held leads of 5-0 and 6-3, but Michigan scored six unearned runs over the final two innings to deal the Boilermakers a frustrating 9-8 defeat Friday evening in the opener of a three-game weekend series.

Purdue (16-29, 5-14 Big Ten) was eliminated from Big Ten Tournament contention with the loss. The six-team event later this month will be the first since 2007 not to feature the Boilermakers. Purdue's five consecutive conference tournament appearances represented the longest active streak in the league as well as the longest in program history.

Highlighted by a two-run homer from Brandon Krieg, the Boilers scored four times in the second inning to jump out to an early lead. It marked the fourth time in the last five games Purdue scored three or more times in the second inning. Krieg homered over the 30-foot high brick wall in left field, connecting for his third long ball of the season.

An inning-opening error by the Boilers with the No. 9 hitter at the plate helped Michigan score in both the seventh and eighth innings. After Stephen Talbott dropped a fly ball in left field to open the eighth, Michael O'Neill delivered a go-ahead RBI single up the middle.

The Wolverines (26-22, 11-8 Big Ten) scored five times in the seventh inning thanks in part to a couple fortuitous bounces. The key plays of the frame were a bad-bounce single over the head of second baseman Cody Strong on what looked like it was going to be a standard ground ball out, followed by a two-run bloop double down the right field line off the bat of Kevin White that gave Michigan its first lead.

Approaching 100 pitches and already nursing a sore ankle he tweaked earlier in the game, Purdue starter Robert Ramer faced U-M's No. 9 hitter to begin the seventh. A bad bounce on a grounder to third ate up Sean McHugh and went for an inning-opening error. Purdue went to the bullpen for southpaw Tim McElroy to face the heavy stretch of lefties in the top half of the Michigan lineup. The first run of the inning scored on an RBI ground out to first base. A two-out RBI single from Jacob Cronenworth made it a one-run game. After another pitching change, Zach Zott hit the ground ball to second base that took a crazy 15-foot-high bounce and got over the head of Strong.

Purdue was able to tie the game in the top of the eighth despite recording just one hit, a leadoff double from Kyle Wood. The Boilermakers also received leadoff doubles Angelo Cianfrocco and Kyle Johnson Friday. Both players came around to score later in the inning on sacrifice flies.

Michigan pitchers issued four walks in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Strong's RBI fielder's choice plated the first run of the frame. With Stephen Talbott at the plate and runners on the corners, ball four got past the catcher for a passed ball, allowing Johnson to score the tying run.

Michigan got back in the game thanks to consecutive run-scoring extra-base hits in the fifth inning against Ramer, cutting its deficit to 5-3.

Johnson doubled twice in the game, plating Josh Estill from first base with a gapper to left center for the first run of the night. Johnson later scored from second base on an infield to first off the bat of Talbott.

Game two of the series is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.