May 21, 2009
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Purdue baseball team left a season-high 15 runners on base but survived to live another day at the Big Ten Tournament with a 12-9 win over Michigan State in the first elimination game at Huntington Park on Thursday.
The victory improved the Boilers to 25-25 for the season and extended their stay in the conference championship tournament, while the Spartans dropped to 23-31 in their final game of the year.
The Boilermakers scored at least one run in eight of their nine at bats, including a crucial game-high three in the ninth to help ward off a late Spartan comeback attempt.
Purdue scored single runs in the first, second and fourth innings, and tacked on two runs each in the third and fifth to cruise out to a 7-2 lead through four and half frames.
The resilient Spartans responded with back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the fifth by Eli Boike and AJ Shindler to cut the advantage to 7-4, and a double by Eric Roof and a fielding error by first baseman John Cummins later in the stanza forced Boiler starter Matt Jansen from the game with runners on the corners, one out and the tying run at the plate.
Reliever Drew Wurdack entered and got out of the jam on a nice double play started by Eric Charles at second and completed by shortstop Barrett Serrato and Cummins to quash the rally and end the frame.
Purdue plated a single run in the top of the sixth on a bases loaded walk to Alex Jaffee, but MSU answered back with a two-run homer by Seth Williams to edge closer at 8-6.
After swapping zeros in the seventh, the only inning in which the Boilers did not score, Purdue and MSU exchanged single runs in the eighth to a head into the final frame with the Boilers leading 9-7.
In a scene eerily familiar from a conference game in the regular season series in which Purdue and MSU plated five runs each in the ninth in 9-8 Boiler win, the Boilermakers extended the advantage to 12-8 on a two-run double by freshman Barrett Serrato and an RBI double by senior Alex Jaffee.
MSU rallied to pull within three on a one-out, two-run triple by Jeff Holm and could have brought the tying run to the plate, but Kevin Cahill entered for Wurdack and retired Jonathan Roof on strikes and Williams on a grounder to second to nail down his sixth save of the season and send Purdue deeper into the league tournament.
Wurdack (4-1) picked up his fourth win of the season with four innings of work out of the bullpen. The right-hander allowed five runs on six hits with two walks.
MSU starter AJ Achter (3-6) was charged with the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings pitched. The right-hander struck out four and walked three.
Offensively, Purdue rapped out 15 hits to Michigan State's 14. Purdue's Brandon Haveman continued his torrid senior season by going 4 for 6 with two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored to lead the way individually. The effort improved the Boilers' leadoff hitter's Big Ten-leading batting average from .408 to .417 for the year.
Haveman's classmate Cummins chipped in with a 3 for 5, two-run day, and junior Dan Black hit his team-leading 15th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third, and finished the contest 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored.
Serrato, making his first career start in a Big Ten Tournament game, went 2 for 5 with the key two-run double in the ninth for his two RBIs and two runs scored. Senior classmates Jaffee and Eric Nielsen rounded out the bottom of the order 1 for 2 and 2 for 6, respectively. Jaffee drove in one and scored twice, while Nielsen added a triple, an RBI and two runs scored.
The Boilermakers, who lost to Indiana 9-1 on Wednesday to drop into the loser's bracket, will return to action on Friday at 12:05 p.m. to face No. 2-seed Minnesota, which lost to Indiana 12-3 on Thursday.