BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Purdue baseball scored five times in the second inning to overcome an early deficit, but top-seeded Nebraska put together four more multi-run innings to defeat the Boilermakers 15-9 Wednesday in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Purdue (29-26) will take on the loser of Thursday's Maryland-Iowa game at 5 p.m. ET, making it a doubleheader for the Boilermakers' opponent. Maryland and Iowa were originally scheduled to play Wednesday at 8:30 p.m., but the game was moved to Thursday due to a full day of rain showers coupled with Purdue-Nebraska running late.
The Boilermakers used six pitchers in the game after starter Tanner Andrews failed to record an out. Purdue failed to make a pair of plays behind him, but the junior gave up three hits and two walks nonetheless. However, after only throwing 25 pitches, he should be available to pitch again in the double-elimination tournament.
Four of the Huskers' first six runs were unearned after shortstop Harry Shipley made a pair of errors in a game for only the second time this season. Outfielders Skyler Hunter and Milo Beam also collided while they were both trying to make a running catch on Angelo Altavilla's deep drive to left center. It dropped for a double and helped lead to Nebraska's four-run first inning.
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Down 8-6 in the bottom of the fifth after Jacson McGowan had homered in the top of the frame, Purdue nearly had a strike `em out throw `em out double play that would have ended the inning. But third baseman Hayden Grant dropped Nick Dalesandro's throw while trying to apply the tag on the sliding runner. That man scored on a wild pitch and a pair of RBI doubles followed.
Evan Warden also homered for the Boilermakers, going deep to left field to begin the ninth inning.
Purdue issued 10 walks, matching a season high. Three of those runners came around to score and two other walks were of the bases-loaded variety to force in a run.
The Boilermakers sent 10 men to the plate in the second inning, turning a four-run deficit into a 5-4 lead. Mike Madej and Alec Olund delivered back-to-back RBI doubles after Dalesandro and Hunter had singled consecutively to open the inning. Beam's hustle double to right field plated Olund as the tying run. McGowan capped the rally with a two-out RBI single.
However, Nebraska start Jake Hohensee retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced, giving up only the opposite-field homer to McGowan during the rest of his outing. Hohensee (7-4) struck out the side in order in the top of the fourth and finished the night with six Ks over six innings.
Nebraska (35-18-1) scored in five of the eight innings in which it batted. Of Purdue's six pitchers, only Tanner Schumacher and Hunter Wolfe (two) were able to post a zero. Schumacher (1-5) retired the five batters he faced, inducing a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning to help minimize the damage. He worked a 1-2-3 frame in the bottom of the second, but was unable to pitch over an inning-opening error in the following frame.
Head coach Mark Wasikowski discusses tonight's loss in the postgame press conference at the Big Ten Tournament. https://t.co/VAg1cW2mY0
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Wolfe struck out the side in order against the Huskers' 4-5-6 hitters in the bottom of the seventh. The freshman finished with a season-high five strikeouts over 2 2/3 innings.
With Purdue trailing 11-7 in the top of the eighth, Olund was robbed of a potential two-run homer on an impressive leaping catch at the wall in right field by Mojo Hagge. Logan Poisall's subsequent double allowed Madej to score from first base, but Purdue was unable to bring the tying run to the plate. The Huskers blew the game open again with two-run homers by Hagge and Scott Schreiber in the bottom of the frame.
Thursday's action at the Big Ten Tournament begins with Michigan vs. Indiana in a 10 a.m. elimination game. Maryland and Iowa will square off for the first time this season in the 1:30 p.m. game. As was the case with Nebraska, Purdue did not play Maryland during the regular season this year. The Boilermakers have not played Iowa at the Big Ten Tournament since 2010.