IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Including a fourth career multi-homer game from Cameron Perkins, No. 13 Purdue baseball hit a season-high four home runs en route to defeating Iowa, 11-8, to clinch the Big Ten Conference title outright Thursday evening.
The Boilermakers (41-10, 17-5 Big Ten) won the opening game of every Big Ten series this season. Dating back to May 2011, Purdue has now won 15 of its last 16 weekend openers.
Sean McHugh and Ryan Bridges also hit home runs Thursday. The four long balls were the most by the Boilers since connecting for five in an April 2010 home win against Penn State.
Perkins went deep in each of the first two innings. His solo homer in the top of the first accounted for the first of four two-out runs in the frame. The junior hit a three-run shot an inning later. All four of his multi-homer games, including two this year, have come in Big Ten play. The junior leads Purdue with nine long balls this season and 25 in his career.
Starting pitcher Joe Haase (9-1) earned his 17th career win despite giving up five earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. Iowa (21-27, 8-14 Big Ten) scored twice in three straight frames in the middle of the game to make it interesting after Purdue had jumped out to an 8-1 lead. The Boilers improved to 13-1 in games started by Haase this season.
Blake Mascarello closed out the out the game, giving up one earned run over 3 2/3 innings to earn his second save of the year.
The Boilermakers pounded out 17 hits. Eric Charles, Kevin Plawecki and Bridges each finished with three hits. Plawecki doubled twice for the third time this season. Bridges delivered a two-run double in the four-run first inning. Perkins finished with four RBI thanks to the two home runs, his sixth career game with four or more RBI.
After outscoring Purdue 6-1 in the middle innings, the Hawkeyes made it a two-run game at 9-7 entering the top of the seventh. The Boilermakers tacked on an insurance run in the seventh and eighth innings on RBI groundouts from Chris Antonelli and Barrett Serrato. Mascarello kept Iowa off the scoreboard in the bottom half of both frames and limited the damage after giving up back-to-back singles to begin the ninth, retiring the Hawkeyes' 4-5-6 portion of the lineup in order to close out the win.
Iowa had its leadoff man reach base safely seven times in the nine innings. That runner ended up accounting for five of the eight runs.
The Hawkeyes used five pitchers in the game. Purdue hit all four home runs against starter Matt Dermody (1-7), who had surrendered only four home runs in 71 innings entering the night. The Boilermakers hit a home run in four of the first five innings. McHugh went deep for the second game in a row, accomplishing the feat for the first time in his college career after connecting for a long ball to center field with one out in the third inning. Bridges led off the fifth with his second homer of the year and sixth career.
Charles reached base safely for a 36th consecutive Big Ten game dating back to last season. The senior led off the eighth inning with a double and scored when Serrato was able to beat the throw to first to stay out of a 6-4-3 double play.
Antonelli recorded his RBI as a pinch hitter with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Iowa used three different pitchers in the frame. Singles by Serrato and Bridges, a sac bunt by McHugh and a four-pitch walk to David Miller loaded the bases.
The series continues Friday at 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.