Top 10 Tally: Purdue's Most Memorable Games Of 2011

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Head coach Doug Schreiber's 2011 team matched the 1986 team, his senior year, for the most wins in program history.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Head coach Doug Schreiber's 2011 team matched the 1986 team, his senior year, for the most wins in program history.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

June 7, 2011

2011 Season Recap

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball enjoyed a successful season in which it posted 37 victories to tie the program record. But in a season that featured 57 games, some games and victories prove more memorable than others.

The following is a list of the Boilers' Top 10 games of 2011 as selected by the sports information staff. A second list of 10 honorable mention games is also presented at the bottom of the page.

Voice your opinion on which Purdue baseball games were among your favorites this season at www.facebook.com/purduebaseball or www.twitter.com/purduebaseball.

10.) May 8: at Michigan State 6, Purdue 5 - The only loss to make the Top 10 list earns consideration because it featured the most exciting ending of any game played away from Lambert Field this season. Purdue never led on this day but pulled within a run thanks to a two-run seventh inning. In the ninth inning, Kevin Plawecki hit another rocket into left field for his third double of the day. The Boilermakers struggled mightily with runners in scoring position (6-for-37) and with two outs (6-for-29) in the Big Ten showdown series, but Payton Bieker finally got a big two-out hit with a runner in scoring position, singling into center field against MSU closer Tony Wieber. Plawecki was called out at the plate to end the game while trying to score the game-tying run. The remarkably close play at the plate was the lead debate on that afternoon's edition of the BTN Diamond Report. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

9.) April 12: Purdue 8, at Ball State 5 - In the opener of a nine-game road stretch, Purdue found itself down by a run entering the ninth inning. David Miller was hit by a pitch to open the frame but Ball State retired the next two Boilers with Miller still at first. Andrew Dixon was sent into pinch run and things got interesting when Cameron Perkins beat out an infield single and Kevin Plawecki was also hit by a pitch. Sidearmer Scott Brothers, Jr. was brought in to face Barrett Serrato, who hit the first pitch into left center for a go-ahead, two-run single. Payton Bieker followed with another two-run base hit and the Boilers went from being down to their last out with a runner on first base to having a three-run lead. It was Purdue's second four-run rally of the game, backing up another quality midweek start from Robert Ramer (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

8.) March 20: Purdue 12, at Tennessee Tech 4 - You may be wondering how a game that the Boilers won by eight runs makes the Top 10 list. Primarily because this game, the finale of the spring break trip, was tied entering the ninth inning. Purdue jumped out to an early 3-0 lead but Tech rallied in the middle innings and pulled ahead, 4-3. The Boilermakers sent 12 men to the plate in their biggest rally of the season, scoring eight times - Snowman! - against three Tech pitchers. Each of the first eight Purdue batters to come up in the inning put together a productive plate appearance, as the Golden Eagles did not record an out until Ryan Bridges drove in the fourth run of the frame with a sacrifice fly. Andrew Dixon and David Miller both collected a pair of hits in the inning, Dixon clearing the bases with a triple to right field in his second at-bat. The victory allowed Purdue to go 4-4 on its spring break trip, winning two-of-three in both weekend series. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

7.) March 4: Purdue 1, at Lipscomb 0 - Senior Matt Morgan pitched like an ace on this day in Nashville, winning a pitcher's duel with Lipscomb left-hander Richie Goodeknow. Morgan struck out a season-high 10 and surrendered only three hits. He posted 1-2-3 innings in the second, third, fifth, sixth and ninth, highlighted by retiring the 3-4-5 portion of the Lipscomb lineup in order in the ninth inning. He tallied at least one strikeout in every inning but the fifth and retired the first two hitters in the lineup with runners on first and second to end the eighth inning. The Boilermakers only managed six hits against Goodeknow, who also went the distance. But Cameron Perkins came through with the big hit in the eighth inning, singling into left field with two outs to score Stephen Talbott from second base. Purdue manufactured the run with a hit batter, sacrifice bunt from David Blount and two-out hit. It was the Boilers' first win in a 1-0 game since April 2007; they went on to sweep the series and begin the season 11-2. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

6.) May 13: at Purdue 3, Illinois 1 - Matt Morgan recorded his 200th career strikeout in this series-opening win, working six innings of one-run ball in yet another quality start at home. But Stephen Talbott and Lance Breedlove also made key contributions in the victory. Talbott threw out a runner at the plate and hit a solo home run, the two plays coming only moments apart to end the top of the third and begin the bottom of the frame. Catcher Kevin Plawecki made an athletic play at the plate to assure the tag was applied on Pete Cappetta, as the Illini leadoff man tried to tag up and score the game's first run. Breedlove backed up Morgan with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, retiring eight of the first nine batters he faced. Nick Wittgren struck out Adam Davis to end the game with the potential tying run on first base. Coincidentally, Illinois would not lose again until the NCAA Regionals. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

5.) April 15: Purdue 5, at Penn State 3 - The Boilermakers were the only Big Ten team to win a series at Penn State in 2011 thanks in part to this thrilling series-opening victory. Purdue jumped out a 3-0 lead thanks to a second-inning solo home run from Barrett Serrato and five consecutive singles in sixth. But the Nittany Lions offense came to life in the bottom of the sixth, setting the stage for relievers Blake Mascarello and Nick Wittgren to emerge as the heroes. Purdue led by a run when PSU loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning. Mascarello took over on the mound and struck out both Ryan Clark and Sean Deegan without either hitter even fouling off a pitch. Wittgren got the final out of the inning and closed out the victory for his eighth save of the season, and fifth in as many appearances. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

4.) May 19: at Purdue 6, Iowa 3 - The Boilermakers entered the final weekend of the regular season among a group of teams that could still win the regular-season Big Ten title or miss the conference tournament entirely. Iowa had dealt Purdue its final five losses of 2010 and for the first seven innings of this series opener, it appeared as though the Hawkeyes might still have the Boilers' number. Crafty left-hander Jarred Hippen limited Purdue to six hits and an unearned run through seven innings. But often times big innings begin in odd fashion and that was the case on this day at Lambert. A passed ball on strike three to Cameron Perkins to open the inning helped set the stage for a five-run rally. After an RBI double by Kevin Plawecki, a pair of hit batters loaded the bases for Andrew Dixon. The lefty-lefty matchup was won by the batter, as Dixon sliced a pitch down the left field line that found its way into the left field corner after Iowa's Kyle Haen tried to make a diving catch. The triple cleared the bases and gave Purdue the lead. The Boilermakers went on to sweep the series and finish third in the Big Ten. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore | Photo Gallery

3.) Feb. 18: Purdue 10, No. 9 Connecticut 2 - One of the biggest season-opening wins in program history doubled as the marquee win by any Big Ten team at the 2011 BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge. Connecticut was the preseason favorite in the BIG EAST after hosting an NCAA Regional in 2010. Matt Morgan wiggled out of a couple early jams, setting the stage for the upset win with 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out five and surrendered only three hits. Offensively, Purdue scored in five of the nine innings, including each of the final three to blow the game open. Eric Charles led the way with four hits and Kevin Plawecki and Tyler Spillner both drove in three runs. Not only did Connecticut go on to win the BIG EAST regular-season title, but the Huskies also came through the loser's bracket to win an NCAA Regional at Clemson. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

2.) Feb. 20: Purdue 5, No. 30 Pittsburgh 3 - While the Connecticut win may have been more significant, the victory against Pittsburgh was much more exciting. The Panthers had won 38 games and batted .364 as a team in 2010, and defeated Illinois and Iowa on the first two days of the season-opening BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge. Brad Schreiber pitched well in his first career weekend start, striking out seven and surrendering only two earned runs over six innings. But it was Nick Wittgren that emerged as the real star of the pitching staff on this day, perhaps officially becoming the team's closer. With Purdue leading 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, Pitt loaded the bases with one out. Wittgren entered the game and struck out the No. 4 and 5 hitters to end the threat. He closed out the victory with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, retiring each of the first seven batters he faced. As essentially the rubber game of the weekend, it allowed the Boilers to post their first victorious showing at the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge. The Panthers, meanwhile, went on to finish third in the BIG EAST. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

1.) April 29: at Purdue 5, Indiana 4 (12 innings) - A true back-and-forth game befitting of the longstanding in-state rivalry. Purdue not only won in walk-off fashion but also tied the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on a base hit from Tyler Spillner. Sixteen Boilers saw action in the series-opening victory, including four in nine hole of the lineup. But it was freshman Sean McHugh that played the hero in his first taste of the Indiana-Purdue rivalry. With Barrett Serrato and David Miller in scoring position, McHugh singled to left field and the Boilers celebrated their only walk-off win of the year. In the process, he became the first Purdue player to deliver a walk-off hit as a pinch hitter since 2006. On the mound, Matt Morgan (6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 4 K) put together another quality start and Calvin Gunter and Nick Wittgren backed him up with a combined 5 2/3 innings of one-run relief. >>> Full Recap | Boxscore

Honorable Mention
Feb. 26 - at Morehead St. 10, Purdue 9 (11 innings): Recap | Boxscore
March 8 - Purdue 6, at No. 20 Louisville 4: Recap | Boxscore
March 12 - Purdue 8, at Tennessee-Martin 7: Recap | Boxscore
April 2 - Purdue 7, at Minnesota 0: Recap | Boxscore >>> Target Field Photo Gallery
April 9 - at Purdue 4, Michigan 2: Recap | Boxscore >>> Photo Gallery
April 13 - Purdue 8, IPFW 3: Recap | Boxscore
April 23 - Purdue 9, at Northwestern 7: Recap | Boxscore
May 20 - at Purdue 6, Iowa 2: Recap | Boxscore >>> Photo Gallery
May 25 - Purdue 7, Penn State 2: Recap | Boxscore
May 27 - Minnesota 1, Purdue 0: Recap | Boxscore