May 12, 2013
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ANN ARBOR, Mich.
-- In what was a fitting end to a wild weekend series, Purdue baseball scored four times with two outs in the ninth inning thanks to big hits from Jack Picchiotti
and Conner Hudnall
, stunning Michigan, 12-9, Sunday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (17-30, 6-15 Big Ten) rallied to win when trailing after eight innings for the first time since the 2012 home finale against Indiana State. In each of the last three seasons, the team that lost the Purdue-Michigan series salvaged the finale of the three-game set.
Sean McHugh connected for a grand slam in the Boilers' five-run sixth inning. It was the first slam by a Purdue player since Barrett Serrato went deep with the bases loaded in the series opener against Michigan State last year. Hudnall also finished with four RBI, a season-high total, thanks to his go-ahead three-run double in the ninth inning.
Purdue squandered leads of 3-0 and 8-3. Michigan (27-23, 12-9 Big Ten) matched the Boilers' five-run sixth with a five-run rally of its own in the bottom half of the frame. After recording only three hits in the first five innings, the Wolverines had five in the bottom of the sixth.
The wild back-and-forth series featured three games in which the victorious team surged ahead in the eighth inning or later. Three or more runs were scored in an inning nine times over the course of the weekend, including five five-run frames. Michigan pitchers issued 22 walks, including seven Sunday.
Picchiotti delivered a game-tying single up the middle on an 0-2 pitch to start the two-out rally in the ninth inning. Kyle Johnson scored from second base on the hit. Johnson finished the weekend 5-for-9 with five walks and seven runs scored. Picchiotti drove in a run in each of Purdue's three big innings Sunday.
Brett Andrzejewski (3-3) worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning against the 5-6-7 portion of the Michigan lineup to finish off the game. He did not give up a hit over 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Picchiotti and McHugh both accounted for nice defensive plays in the win. Picchiotti made a diving catch in left field on a line drive off the bat of Patrick Biondi for the second out of the sixth inning. It went for a sacrifice fly but it could have given the Wolverines five consecutive singles if not for Picchiotti's diving play. McHugh was playing in looking for a bunt when the batter pulled the bat back and hit a line drive at the third baseman. McHugh snared the liner and doubled off the runner out at first, erasing a leadoff hit by pitch in the eighth inning.
Michigan scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on an odd play. With a runner at third with one out and Purdue playing the infield in, Cole Martin hit a line drive at Cody Strong at second base. Strong dropped the liner and then threw home instead of first. Both runners were safe and the play was ruled a fielder's choice.
A four-pitch walk to Strong in the ninth inning brought Picchiotti to the plate against U-M reliever James Bourque (4-6), who was pitching for the third game in a row. The single was a ground ball under Bourque's glove and right up the middle past the second base bag. After a walk to Brandon Krieg loaded the bases, Hudnall delivered the three-run double to right field.
Donnie Eaton was the first man out of the Michigan bullpen, coming on with a run in and two outs in the sixth inning. He walked the two men he faced -- Krieg and Hudnall -- to load the bases and then went 2-0 on McHugh. The Wolverines made another pitching change and McHugh connected for his second home run of the season and seventh career. McHugh later hit a double off the wall in left field as well.
Four straight singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly helped the Boilers jump out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. It marked the fifth time in the last seven games Purdue scored three or more runs in the second inning. Strong beat out a squeeze bunt for an RBI single. Picchiotti followed with a run-scoring hit to right field. After a walk to Krieg, who reached safely in four of his five plate appearances, Hudnall delivered a sacrifice fly to right field.
Hudnall has now reached base safely in the last 23 games he has started. Tim McElroy faced three batters while pitching for the third game in a row. He joined Mike Lutz and Brett Andrzejewski as Boilers to appear in all three games of a series this season.
Purdue returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Eastern Michigan for its midweek and nonconference finale. First pitch at Alexander Field is set for 6 p.m.