May 25, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Lance Breedlove pitched 7 1/3 innings of five-hit ball and No. 15 Purdue baseball received an RBI from each of its three leading hitters, propelling the Boilermakers to a 3-0 win against rival Indiana Friday evening on day three of the Big Ten Tournament.
Purdue (43-12) advances to the championship game of the tournament for the first time since 2008 and third time in program history. The Boilermakers will need just one more win to claim their first-ever Big Ten Tournament title. Michigan State and Indiana (31-27) will play Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the final of the loser's bracket. The winner would have to defeat Purdue twice to win the tournament.
With the Boilers leading 2-0 in the eighth inning, one of the most significant plays of the game turned out to be a call by the second base umpire. Indiana had the bases loaded with one out when Blake Mascarello replaced Breedlove on the mound. Mascarello got Kyle Schwarber to hit a ground ball to third base. The Boilermakers went for the inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. Second baseman Eric Charles' throw to first pulled Ryan Bridges off the bag, but the umpire ruled that Justin Cureton did not slide directly into second base. The double play was made official by the call.
Unlike Major League Baseball, NCAA rules dictate that a base runner must slide directly into the bag and not simply within an arm's reach.
Purdue tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth and Mascarello closed the game out despite allowing the potential tying run to come to the plate in the ninth. The Boilermakers posted their sixth shutout of the year and their first in Big Ten Tournament play since 1987.
Meanwhile, in the first meeting of the season with its old rival, Purdue won its sixth straight game against Indiana dating back to May 2010. Since the 2008 Big Ten Tournament, the Boilers have now won 10 of the last 13 meetings.
Purdue also reached the Big Ten Tournament finals in 1987 and 2008, losing to Michigan in Ann Arbor in both seasons.
The Boilermakers broke open a scoreless game with two runs in the fifth. Charles beat the throw to first to stay out of an inning-ending double play, allowing the first run to score on a ground ball to shortstop in a bases-loaded scenario. Cameron Perkins followed with a two-out RBI single to center field.
Breedlove and Mascarello teamed up to hold Indiana without an extra base hit. Perhaps more impressively, the two seniors did not allow the leadoff man to reach safely in an inning. Breedlove worked four 1-2-3 innings, retiring 17 of 18 batters from the second through eighth innings. He had not given up a hit since the second inning when Indiana strung together three straight one-out singles in the eighth.
Perkins was able to dive and get a glove on a hard hit ball near the third base bag off the bat of Cureton in the eighth inning, at least preventing the hit for going for a run-scoring double down the left field line. Mascarello took over on the mound moments later and won the lefty-lefty matchup with Schwarber. Had Purdue not been awarded the double play, Indiana would have had runners on the corners with two outs in a one-run game.
Instead, Perkins led off the bottom of the frame with a high chopper down the left field line that went for a double. Perkins recorded hits in both of his at-bats against the Hoosiers' First Team All-Big Ten reliever Jonny Hoffman, who worked 3 1/3 innings one one-run relief.
Kevin Plawecki followed Perkins' double with a run-scoring single up the middle, recording his fourth RBI of tournament.
Thanks in part to five walks and a hit batter, Purdue had at least one base runner in seven of the eight innings in which it batted. The sixth inning Friday marked the only time in their first two games of the tournament that the Boilers have been retired 1-2-3.
Indiana starter Kyle Hart (5-5) limited Purdue to three singles over 4 1/3 innings, but he allowed the leadoff man to reach safely in four of the five innings he started. A nice leaping catch at the wall in right field by IU's Will Nolden in the fourth inning led to a double play. Plawecki had walked to open the frame but he was doubled off first base when Nolden robbed Barrett Serrato of extra bases. Serrato did manage to record a pair of hits.
Both teams excelled at putting the ball in play. There were only four strikeouts in the game, including none after the fourth inning. Breedlove and Hart each recorded a pair of Ks.
Breedlove gave up a single to Schwarber and walked Sam Travis in the first inning but quickly ended the inning by inducing a 1-6-3 double play on a comebacker off the bat of cleanup hitter Micah Johnson. Dillon Dooney walked twice as the only Hoosier to reach base safely more than once.
Mascarello got pinch hitter Chad Clark to ground out to second base to end the game after a walk to Dooney and a full-count single from Michael Basil extended the contest.
Indiana defeated Michigan State Thursday, 6-4, on day two of the tournament. The Spartans eliminated Ohio State Friday afternoon to advance to Saturday.