May 23, 2008
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -
The Purdue Nine fell in its first meeting of the 2008 season with the top-seeded Michigan Wolverines, dropping a 6-1 decision in what was a Big Ten Tournament semifinal at Ray Fisher Stadium.
The loss drops Purdue into an elimination game on Saturday at 3:35 p.m. against rival Indiana, with the winner moving on to the championship round against No.1 seed Michigan. Purdue will need to defeat Indiana and then Michigan twice (once Saturday and once Sunday) in order to claim the Big Ten Tournament crown.
"In games like today's, any mistake you make is magnified," head coach Doug Schreiber said. "We only had two walks, but both came around to score due to other losses of focus. When you don't score 15 runs, you can't give your opponent free chances like we did today."
The Boilermakers struck for the first run of the contest, piecing together a walk, a wild pitch and an RBI single in the second inning. Jordan Comadena led off the inning with a free pass and advanced into scoring position on a pitch that hopped away from Michigan catcher Nate Recknagel. Jonathan Lilly followed with a ground ball single up the middle to drive Comadena in from second for a 1-0 Purdue lead.
Michigan answered in the third in Wolverine fashion when Jason Christian hit a solo home run to left field to knot the score up at 1-1. The homer was the 71st of the season for Michigan, 31 ahead of the next Big Ten team in the longball rankings -- Purdue with 40.
The Wolverines grabbed the lead in the fifth on a two-run single to right be Leif Mahler, scoring Ryan LaMarre and Jason Christian on the hit. LaMarre reached on a free pass and Christian reached on a fielder's choice with LaMarre safe at second when the middle of the Boiler infield failed to cover second base. Following a change of pitcher and a wild pitch, Zach Putnam doubled to left-center to drive home Mahler for a 4-1 UM lead.
Michigan tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh inning on an RBI double by Derek VanBuskirk and a run-scoring single by Kenny Fellows. The inning began with a walk to the leadoff batter following a dropped foul ball behind the plate.
Purdue will take the diamond on Saturday for a 3:35 p.m. contest with Indiana, sending left-hander Matt Jansen (3-3, 5.76 ERA) to the mound against IU's Joey O'Gara (0-2, 7.64).
"I told our guys to leave the stadium tonight with their heads held high," Schreiber said. "They are the No.2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and one of three teams left to play for the Big Ten title. We have work still remaining to get done, so there's no time to dwell on today's game.
"I expect our games to come out tomorrow with great energy," Schreiber added. "This is the opportunity we've played for all season."
Purdue's game against Indiana can be heard in the Lafayette area on WSHY 1410 AM, via the web at PurdueSports.com, and thoughout the world on XM Satellite Radio (Channel 196).