May 21, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Even during a tough hard-luck season such as 2014, one in which Purdue baseball was 5-12 in one-run affairs, there were still numerous memorable games that rise to the top of mind for various reasons.
The Boilermakers played in a Big Ten-high eight extra-inning games during the regular season. That was also the program's most during head coach Doug Schreiber's 16-year tenure. Extra-inning affairs tend to lend themselves to the highest forms of baseball drama. And so it comes as no surprise that all eight extended affairs were among the most memorable of 2014. A look back at the entire 50-game season, played over the course over 14 weeks from mid-February through mid-May, reveals the most accurate portrait of the highs and lows of a busy spring.
The following is a compilation of the Boilers' Top 10 games of 2014 as selected by the athletics communications staff. First up though, a second list of 10 honorable mention games is also offered for your consideration.
March 14 - at San Diego State 8, Purdue 7: San Diego native Kyle Johnson's two-run homer in the ninth inning highlighted Purdue's successful weekend against SDSU closer and Top 50 prospect Michael Cederoth. Conner Hudnall had three hits and threw out a runner at the plate from right field. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
March 17 - at San Diego State 6, Purdue 5 (10 innings): The Boilermakers scored in four different innings to overcome a 3-0 deficit after the first inning, extending the game after scoring twice with Cederoth on the mound. Tim McElroy and Mike Lutz teamed up for 8 2/3 innings of three-run relief, Lutz not giving up a hit until the 10th. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
March 19 - Purdue 6, at Butler 1: Adam Dressler kept Butler off the scoreboard until the sixth inning and did not issue a walk while earning his first collegiate win. Joe Eichmann struck out five of the eight batters he faced. Conner Hudnall's two-run double highlighted his three-RBI effort. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
April 5 - Penn State 2, at Purdue 1: Jordan Minch (7 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 7 K) did not give up a hit until there were two outs in the fifth inning, but he ended up losing this pitcher's duel after the Boilers stranded a runner at third base with less than two outs three times. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
April 6 - at Purdue 4, Penn State 0: The Boilermakers' lone shutout win of the season. Brett Haan (5 IP) and Mike Lutz (3 IP) worked eight of the nine innings and Joe Eichmann stranded a pair of inherited runners in the sixth to cap a weekend in which the junior retired all 12 batters he faced. After leading off the fifth inning with a single, Jeff Evak stole second, third and home. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
April 8 - #10 Louisville 3, at Purdue 1 (10 innings): Gavin Downs bounced back from a rough outing vs. PSU with three scoreless innings, Kyle Wood connected for the Boilers' first home run of the year at Alexander Field and Purdue played the Top 10-ranked Cardinals tough for the fifth straight game over the last four years. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
April 18 - Michigan 7, at Purdue 6 (12 innings): The Boilermakers never led on this night but sent the game to extras thanks to five runs over the fifth and sixth innings. Matt Gibbs worked five innings of two-hit relief, striking out a career-high six. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
April 23 - at Purdue 5, Illinois-Chicago 3: After blowing a three-run lead through six, Jeff Evak and Steve Maniago had back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the eighth. Evak slid in safely at the plate, score the go-ahead run later in the frame on a fielder's choice to first base. Connor Podkul struck out a career-high seven over six innings of two-hit ball. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
May 10-11 - at Minnesota 6, Purdue 5 (10 innings): A game that began Saturday night and concluded Sunday morning featured some wild momentum swings when it resumed. Sean McHugh hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Boilers a 5-3 lead. But Minnesota sent it to extras on a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the frame and won the game on a walk-off long ball on the first pitch of its half of the 10th. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
May 17 - at Purdue 6, Iowa 4: Five consecutive Boilers reached base safely in the first inning in the team's best opening frame of the season. Gavin Downs (7 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB) induced three ground ball double plays, including a pair of 1-6-3 twin killings that he started, while giving Purdue another quality start. Brandon Krieg scored the go-ahead run from second base with two outs in the seventh inning thanks to a nifty slide at the plate. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
10.) March 22 - at Southern Illinois 5, Purdue 4 (16 innings): This game matched the longest in program history as the second of the Boilers' eight extra-inning affairs on the season. Kyle Johnson hit a game-tying, two-out homer in the eighth inning after Sean McHugh had also gone deep earlier in the game for the second day in a row. Relief pitchers for both teams shined as seven consecutive scoreless innings came and went. Brett Haan (4 IP), Patrick Kenney (2 IP) and Kyle Wood (2 IP) each escaped numerous jams while teaming up for eight innings of scoreless relief. Purdue got a leadoff double from Steve Maniago in the 15th, but left him at third base. A walk-off single from Ryan Rosthenhausler with the bases loaded in the 16th inning finally ended the four-hour marathon. The SIU nine-hole hitter had previously been picked off at first base and struck out twice with runners aboard to end the eighth, 10th and 12th innings. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
9.) March 8 - at No. 4 LSU 4, Purdue 2: Gavin Downs' impressive outing on this night was arguably the top pitching performance of the season by a Boilermaker. The right-hander demonstrated great command of his curveball and struck out five over six innings, keeping LSU off the scoreboard. Purdue took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh after two-out RBI doubles from Cody Strong and Conner Hudnall. But a leadoff single and a hit batter set the stage for the Tigers' three-run rally in the seventh. Consecutive two-out RBI singles from the eight and nine hitters in the LSU lineup scored the tying and go-ahead runs. Downs limited LSU to five singles and a walk over his 6 1/3 innings and the home team didn't score until he left the mound. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
8.) March 1 - Purdue 3, Butler 2: Both teams left 10 runners on base in this tight neutral-site affair in Birmingham. Gavin Downs induced an inning-ending double play in three of the first four innings of relief that he worked, highlighted by a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded in the second inning versus the first Butler batter he faced. The Boilermakers scored twice in the top of the fifth thanks to four consecutive singles and carried a 3-1 lead into the ninth. A two-out double followed by an RBI single made it a one-run game and kept the Bulldogs' hopes alive. But Tim McElroy retired Butler's No. 3 hitter on one pitch, inducing a game-ending grounder to second base to win the lefty-lefty matchup. It was the first of Purdue's 17 one-run games on the year. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
7.) April 19 - at Purdue 6, Michigan 2: A four-hit game from Sean McHugh and another strong outing from Gavin Downs highlighted this Saturday afternoon win, as the Boilers bounced back after losing Friday night's 12-inning thriller. Downs did not allow an earned run over seven innings of three-hit ball, retiring 14 of 15 batters after giving up a single to begin the game. McHugh singled in his first four at-bats for his fifth career four-hit effort. The senior's two-out, two-run single in the bottom sixth made Michigan pay for an error, two walks and a wild pitch in the inning. Purdue out hit the Wolverines, 12-4, with all of the dozen hits being singles. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
6.) April 15 - at Purdue 5, Butler 4 (10 innings): Brandon Krieg was the hero in the Boilermakers' first walk-off win at Alexander Field, a victory that doubled as the 450th for head coach Doug Schreiber as the leader of the program. Purdue also finished off a season series sweep of Butler on this day, defeating the Bulldogs in three different cities (Birmingham, Indianapolis and West Lafayette). Krieg's fourth hit of the day was the walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th, plating Jeff Evak. After also drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch, Krieg became the first Boiler since March 2012 to reach base safely six times in a game. Evak also connected for a two-out, two-run triple and Conner Hudnall went deep in the fourth inning to give Purdue a 4-3 lead. On the mound, Adam Dressler (5 IP, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K) and Joe Eichmann (2 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R) each had their second strong outings of the season against the Bulldogs. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
5.) March 21 - Purdue 3, at Southern Illinois 2: Sean McHugh did a little bit of everything to lift the Boilers' to a series-opening win on this day in Carbondale. Purdue was held scoreless until McHugh connected for a two-run homer to left field in the top of the seventh to account for the first long ball at SIU's new-look Itchy Jones Stadium. Jordan Minch struck out six over 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, working out of numerous jams. Joe Eichmann took over with one out in the sixth inning and left runners at second and third. Conner Hudnall threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate from right field to end the bottom of the eighth. McHugh's fourth hit of the day was a two-out infield single in the ninth, taking second when the SIU pitcher threw the ball away. He stole third and scored when Kyle Wood hit another chopper over the mound that went for an infield single. Having already racked up nine total bases at the plate, McHugh punctuated his standout performance by eliminating a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth by throwing out the SIU leadoff man trying to steal second. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
4.) April 29 - Purdue 8, at Illinois State 6: The Boilermakers out hit ISU, 13-6, but had to hang on for this midweek win after taking an 8-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Purdue ended the Redbirds' seven-game win streak entering the week and kept the home team winless in the annual midweek series since 2008. After working three scoreless innings as the starting pitcher, Kyle Wood's two-run single with the bases loaded in the top of the fifth opened the scoring and led to a four-run rally. Sean McHugh delivered a three-run double an inning later. Walks, a hit batter, an error and a pair of two-run hits over the seventh and eighth innings allowed the Redbirds to get back in the game. With runners on first and second and no outs in a two-run run game in the bottom of the eighth, ISU asked its cleanup hitter to bunt after he had delivered a two-run double an inning earlier. He bunted foul with two strikes for the first of four consecutive outs that Patrick Kenney recorded. After a hit batter in the ninth, the game ended on a line drive double play to Steve Maniago at third base, doubling off the runner at first. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
3.) March 28 - Purdue 4, at Illinois 3: The final two innings decided this Big Ten opener for both teams. Purdue had managed only four hits over seven innings against Illini starter Drasen Johnson before stringing together three straight singles in the top of the eighth. After Conner Hudnall went first to third on a base hit to right center from Kyle Wood, Cody Strong's squeeze bunt single tied the game at 2-2. But it was Brandon Krieg's two-run double down the right field line against Illini closer Tyler Jay that proved to be the difference in the game. Illinois nearly walked off on the Boilers in the bottom of the ninth after the first four batters reached base safely. The Fighting Illini had the bases loaded with no outs and the tying run on third, but a line drive to shortstop and a game-ending 1-2-3 double play made Purdue a winner. Mike Lutz became the Boilers' first pitcher to induce and start a game-ending 1-2-3 double play with the tying run on base since February 2012. Jordan Minch was still on the mound in the ninth while working eight innings of three-run ball, surrendering seven singles and striking out four. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
2.) April 11 - Purdue 5, at Michigan State 3 (11 innings): The Boilermakers snapped a five-game losing streak in extra-inning affairs with this series-opening win in East Lansing. Jordan Minch (7 1/3 IP, 3 R, 1 BB, 5 K) gave Purdue another quality start to begin a Big Ten weekend, but it was Steve Maniago that had a day to remember. The senior connected for his first collegiate home run, scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and contributed to two of the three double plays turned by the Boilers. With runners on second and third with one out and Purdue leading 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth, Maniago snared a line drive at third base and stepped on the bag to help Minch escape the jam. On the first pitch he saw in his first at-bat of the day, Michael Mullen singled through the left side with two outs in the 11th inning to plate Maniago. Matt Gibbs earned his first collegiate victory with three scoreless innings of relief, leaving runners on second and third in the ninth, inducing an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play with two aboard in the 10th and striking out a pair in a 1-2-3 11th. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore
1.) April 25 - at Purdue 4, Ohio State 3 (13 innings): This was the Boilers' fifth extra-inning affair over a stretch of 11 games. And in a way, it felt like two games in one, with the first nine innings being played in about two hours. There were runs scored in only three of the 26 half innings played in the longest game in the short history of Alexander Field. The first nine innings flew by, Ohio State scoring three times in the top of the second and Purdue tying it up with a three-run fifth that was highlighted by Jeff Evak's inside-the-park home run to center field. Jordan Minch labored early and the Boilers had Mike Lutz warming up in the bullpen as early as the top of the third. But inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth innings helped Minch get on track. The lefty was still on the mound in the top of the ninth, a frame in which he struck out the side to leave the go-ahead run at third base. Cody Strong had been thrown out at home to end the top of the 10th while trying to score the game-winning run on a gapper from Sean McHugh. Three innings later, Strong led off with a double and was able to score from second base when Kyle Wood spiked a pitch over the third base's head for the walk-off single. Lutz earned the victory with 3 2/3 innings of two-hit relief, retiring 10 of the 13 batters he faced. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore