May 24, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Joe Haase pitched eight innings of three-run ball and Kevin Plawecki hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning, as the Big Ten Pitcher and Player of the Year led No. 15 Purdue baseball to a 5-4 victory against Ohio State Thursday evening on day two of the Big Ten Tournament.
The Boilermakers (42-12) advance to the winner's bracket final where they will play Indiana at 7:05 p.m. Friday. The two old rivals did not play in the regular season this year. Purdue has won nine of the last 12 meetings dating back to the 2008 Big Ten Tournament. The Hoosiers scored four times in the eighth inning Thursday to defeat Michigan State, 6-4.
The Boilermakers had at least one hit in every, but left 11 runners on base to help keep OSU (32-26) in the game. Trailing 4-3 with Cameron Perkins at first base in the seventh inning, Plawecki connected for his sixth home run of the season. On a night in which the wind was blowing in from right field, Plawecki was able to keep the ball fair on a high fly ball down the left field line.
Haase (10-1) worked five 1-2-3 frames in his eight innings, retiring 24 of the 30 batters he faced. The senior became the fourth pitcher in program history to win 10 games in a season. Purdue improved to 14-1 in his 15 starts. Haase limited OSU to a single run after giving up back-to-back hits to begin the game. The Buckeyes later took the lead with three straight two-out hits in the sixth inning. The only batter to reach safely in between those run-scoring situations came on a two-out single in the third.
Closer Nick Wittgren issued two walks and gave up an RBI single in the ninth inning, but he struck out OSU catcher Aaron Gretz with the potential tying run at second base to finish off the win. The junior recorded his Big Ten-leading 10th save of the season and 22nd career. He represents the first pitcher in program history to have two seasons with 10 or more saves.
Stephen Talbott singled three times and scored what proved to be the game-deciding run in the eighth inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Perkins beat the throw to first to stay out of an inning-ending double play, allowing Talbott to score.
Plawecki finished with three RBI after also driving in Purdue's first run of the night with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. The junior was hit by a pitch for the 40th time in his career, officially becoming the program's all-time leader.
The Boilermakers made three nice defensive plays. Gretz hit a hard chopper off the body of first baseman Angelo Cianfrocco, but second baseman Eric Charles was able to field the deflection and feed it to Haase covering the bag to retire the OSU catcher to begin the third inning. Shortstop David Miller made a diving stop to rob Gretz of a single up the middle to end top of the fifth. Tyler Spillner made a diving catch in short left center to prevent a bloop single for Tim Wetzel in the sixth inning.
Ohio State's key defensive play prevented at least one run from scoring in the third inning. Josh Desze made a diving stop on a ground ball down the first base line, robbing Ryan Bridges of a double. There were runners on the corners with two outs at the time and Desze was positioned where he was in part because he was holding the runner on at first base.
A two-out single from David Hallberg followed by a triple from Mike Carroll and double from Desze made it 3-2 Ohio State in the sixth. Haase was able to regroup though, retiring the final seven batters he faced. Carroll also drove in OSU's first run with a squeeze bunt in the first inning.
Charles and Cianfrocco each recorded two hits and reached base safely three times. Charles singled in his final two at-bats, increasing his career hit total to 272 and moving within seven of the Purdue all-time record (279). Both players singled with a man on second base but that was runner was not able to score on the line drive hits.
Miller doubled with one out in the second inning and scored on a fielder's choice ground ball off the bat of Spillner. Miller also came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth, but he expanded his zone on a high fastball and popped out in foul territory to end the threat.
Haase did not issue a walk for the sixth time in his 15 starts this year. Purdue posted its first win against Ohio State at the Big Ten Tournament since 1995.