ROSEMONT, Ill. - Purdue baseball's Bo Hofstra pitched what amounted to six perfect innings over his first three appearances on the mound as a Boilermaker, earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for his flawless job closing out a win vs. Saint Louis.
Hofstra retired all 11 batters he faced over 3 2/3 innings against the Billikens, striking out four. He entered the game in the sixth inning with a runner at third, one out and Purdue leading 4-2. The right-hander struck out SLU's leading home run hitter from a year ago and persevered the two-run lead. Three consecutive 1-2-3 innings followed. He opened the ninth inning with consecutive strikeouts vs. SLU's No. 3 and 4 hitters.
Hofstra retired 18 consecutive batters over his first three appearances as a Boilermaker. He worked a pair of 1-2-3 innings vs. Western Michigan on Feb. 18, closed out the Saint Louis win and retired the first batter he faced in Sunday's thrilling comeback win vs. Notre Dame.
The 18-batter streak was snapped Sunday via a fellow freshman's first collegiate hit. The Fighting Irish's Ryan Cole connected for a double to center field to break a 3-3 stalemate, taking advantage of the Boilermakers' outfield playing him a bit shallow. Hofstra came back to retire the next two batters.
Hofstra was one of three Schererville, Indiana, natives to play in Sunday's Purdue-UND game in San Antonio. Ben Nisle, Hofstra and Notre Dame's Nick Podkul all played for the Schererville Cal Ripken baseball league at the same time. Nisle was in the starting lineup for the seventh consecutive game to begin his college career Sunday, driving in a run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. He also drew a walk in the five-run ninth inning rally that lifted the Boilermakers to the tournament championship at the Alamo Irish Classic.
Podkul singled off Hofstra in the seventh inning Sunday. Podkul reached base safely in six of nine plate appearances in the two Purdue-Notre Dame games this past weekend. But Cameron Williams was able to retire the UND second baseman to begin the bottom of the ninth after the Boilermakers had surged in front.
Last season, Dalton Parker earned two of his Purdue freshman record six saves in relief appearances of at least 3 2/3 innings. Coincidentally, Parker's first save featured a very similar line to Hofstra's. Parker struck out four over 3 2/3 shutout innings at Little Rock on the second Friday of the season. Parker also had a four-inning save in a series-opening win against Illinois.
Hofstra, Hunter, Nisle and Shipley have helped Purdue win six of its seven games, the program's best start since 2012. The Boilermakers are back in action Friday when they take on Central Michigan at the Westin Lake Mary Stetson Invitational in DeLand, Florida. Virginia Tech and Stetson are on the schedule this weekend at the three-day, four-team tournament.