WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue baseball's 2015 campaign ended with a season-ending stretch to remember. But the Boilermakers also struggled through an extended Big Ten losing streak during the middle of the season they'd just as sooner forget.
Such is the nature of most baseball seasons -- college or professional. There are plenty of ups and downs throughout. By closing 2015 with a series of ups, what was otherwise another tough campaign for the Boilermakers certainly finished on a high note. A look back at the entire 54-game season, which featured eight doubleheaders, reveals that the majority of the truly memorable contests took place in the opening and closing weekends of the year.
The following is a compilation of Purdue's most memorable games of 2015 as selected by the athletics communications staff. A Top 10 list is supplemented by a second list of 10 honorable mention selections.
Feb. 21 - Purdue 9, Sam Houston State 7: After rallying to win the opener of the doubleheader on a walk-off sac fly in 11 innings, the Boilers scored three times in the top of the ninth to steal the nightcap and sweep the twinbill against the three-time defending Southland Conference champion. Jack Picchiotti singled in the tying run and scored the go-ahead tally on a sac fly by Michael Vilardo. Full Recap | Boxscore
Feb. 22 - Missouri 1, Purdue 0: The Boilers could have won the Kleberg Bank College Classic if they had been able to record a timely hit. Despite Purdue having just one hit on the day, it took a miraculous 5-2-3-2 triple play in the sixth inning for Mizzou to escape with the win, dealing the Boilers their first 1-0 defeat since the 2011 season finale at the Big Ten Tournament. Full Recap | Boxscore
Feb. 28 - CSU Bakersfield 6, Purdue 4 (11 Innings): Matt Frawley shined with seven innings of three-hit shutout ball, putting together arguably the most impressive performance (game score 75) of the year by a Purdue pitcher. But Bakersfield, an NCAA Regional qualifier in 2015, scored four in the ninth to tie the game before the Boilers could even record an out. Purdue got the game to extra innings but got burned by a two-out rally in the 11th. Full Recap | Boxscore
March 8 - at Oklahoma 13, Purdue 10: The Sooners scored early and often over the first five innings to open up a 12-3 lead. But the Boilers did not go quietly, bringing the potential tying run to the plate thanks to a five-run eighth inning. Kyle Wood recorded his first collegiate four-hit game to cap his monster weekend in Norman (9-for-11, 3 XBH, 7 RBI). Full Recap | Boxscore
March 18 - at Purdue 2, Valparaiso 0: The Boilers improved to a 13-4 in home openers under head coach Doug Schreiber. Shane Bryant and Kyle Wood both struck out five batters each, Jack Picchiotti scored both runs and Purdue won on a game-ending line drive double play for the second time in 2015. Full Recap | Boxscore
April 7 - Purdue 10, at Indiana State 6: All nine batters in Purdue's original starting lineup reached base safely at least once and the Boilers scored in five different innings to post their first win in Terre Haute since 2006. Purdue sent 11 men to the plate and scored five times in the eighth inning after their lead was cut to a run in the bottom of the seventh. Full Recap | Boxscore
April 22 - at Purdue 6, Ball State 0: Shane Bryant struck out a career-high nine over eight innings of five-hit ball to lead the Boilers to another midweek shutout. He did not walk a batter while putting together the longest outing and best game score (81) of the season by a Purdue pitcher. His nine Ks were the most by a Boiler since March 2013. Full Recap | Boxscore
April 26 - Maryland 4, at Purdue 3: Gavin Downs kept Big Ten newcomer and two-time NCAA Regional winner Maryland (2014 & 2015) off the scoreboard until the seventh inning with eight-plus innings of six-hit ball. But the middle of the Terps' lineup started a rally in the top of the ninth. The go-ahead run scored on a squeeze bunt after UMD only hit the ball out of the infield once in the frame. Full Recap | Boxscore
May 12 - Purdue 6, at Valparaiso 4: The final road game of the season saw the Boilers turn the momentum from their rubber game win at Nebraska a day earlier into a 6-0 lead. Purdue didn't score after the third inning but Matt Frawley closed out the victory by striking out Valpo's No. 4 and 5 hitters with the bases loaded. Mike Lutz worked 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball in his only start of the season. Full Recap | Boxscore
May 14 - at Purdue 8, Penn State 2: Shane Bryant put together another quality outing at Alexander Field, retiring 13 of 14 batters from the second through sixth innings while keeping PSU off the scoreboard until the seventh. The Boilers scored four times in the bottom of the seventh to blow it open. Brandon Krieg had three hits and Cody Strong scored three times. Full Recap | Boxscore
10.) Feb. 14 - Purdue 9, at Western Carolina 5: In the nightcap of the first of the eight doubleheaders of the season, the Boilers salvaged the finale of their season-opening series in the Great Smoky Mountains. Purdue scored four times in the top of the first and Matt Frawley induced an inning-ending double play and struck out four his first time through the WCU lineup. Kyle Wood struck out seven of the 15 batters he faced and Joe Eichmann fanned the side in the ninth to punctuate two hitless innings of relief. The Boilers' 15 strikeouts matched the third most in program history and were their most in a game since March 2010. Full Recap | Boxscore
9.) March 15 - Purdue 23, Northern Illinois 5: The Boilermakers finally ended their rubber game losing streak with their most prolific offensive day in nearly a decade. Purdue scored multiple runs in seven consecutive innings en route to scoring 23 runs on 24 hits. The run total was the team's highest since beating Indiana, 25-8, in April 2006. Ted Snidanko finished the day with three hits, seven RBI and nine total bases -- despite not entering the game until the sixth inning. He connected for the first of Purdue's two grand slams in 2015 and nearly hit another slam in the eighth inning. Matt Frawley also excelled on the mound (6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB), retiring 13 of the first 14 batters he faced while not surrendering a legit hit until the sixth inning. Full Recap | Boxscore
8.) March 6 - Purdue 6, at Oklahoma 3: The Sooners had 11 players selected in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the most by any university. But on this night it was Purdue that led 6-0 through five innings. Mike Kornacker surrendered only three hits through 5 1/3 innings and Tim McElroy backed up the freshman with his best outing of the season (3 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 K). The Boilermakers scored four times in the first inning thanks to four bunts and a three-run double from Kyle Wood, who reached base safely five times on the night en route to a monster weekend at the plate. Oklahoma had the bases loaded in the ninth inning when Matt Gibbs struck out OU's No. 3 hitter to close out the victory. Full Recap | Boxscore
7.) Feb. 26 - Purdue 5, Gonzaga 3: This was another win for the Boilers that ended amidst a bases-loaded opportunity for the opposition. Purdue turned nine double plays over the course of the doubleheader split, none bigger than the game-ending line drive twin killing to Harry Shipley at shortstop in game one. The Boilers took control of the game early by sending 10 men to the plate in a four-run top first. But Jeff Evak's home run to lead off the fourth inning was the only other tally Purdue managed in the win. The Boilers did turn four inning-ending double plays, including a very unconventional one in the fifth when a Gonzaga runner tried to score from second base on a sac fly to right center. An Evak to Cody Strong to Jack Picchiotti relay cut down that runner at the plate. Full Recap | Boxscore
6.) May 10 - Purdue 2, at Nebraska 1: After sitting through the first real lengthy rain delay of the season, Gavin Downs won this pitcher's duel with Nebraska lefty Kyle Kubat. Downs did not surrender an extra-base hit over seven innings of one-run ball and allowed the leadoff man to reach base safely in only one of his seven innings. It was undoubtedly the junior's finest outing of the season and he produced the top game score (65) of the year by any Purdue pitcher in a Big Ten start. Offensively, Brett Carlson drove in both runs with an RBI single in each of his first two at-bats. The Boilers won yet another game on a game-ending double play as Matt Frawley worked two innings of hitless relief for his first collegiate save. Full Recap | Boxscore
5.) May 3 - Purdue 6, at Michigan State 4: The Boilermakers snapped their 16-game Big Ten losing streak by scoring in four different innings while allowing MSU to score in only one frame. Kyle Johnson and Brandon Krieg both connected for a home run, with Krieg's opposite-field shot down the right field line and into the Red Cedar River giving Purdue a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning. Joe Eichmann was the standout performer on the mound, retiring 12 of the 14 batters he faced over 4 1/3 innings of two-hit relief. The Boilermakers knocked off an MSU team that had won 17 of its last 20 games and avoided being swept in East Lansing yet again while visiting McLane Stadium for the third year in a row. Full Recap | Boxscore
4.) March 20 - at Purdue 9, Rutgers 5: The conference-opening weekend still had a bit of a non-conference feel to it after Rutgers was the opponent to kick off Big Ten play. The Scarlet Knights sent nine men to the plate in the top of the seventh to tie the game up at 5-5. But it didn't take long for Purdue to answer. After a pair of walks and a single loaded the bases, Jack Picchiotti connected for the first-ever grand slam in the history of Alexander Field. It was the junior's second run-scoring extra-base hit to right field in the win after he had triple earlier in the game. When Matt Gibbs induced a game-ending 6-4-3 double play, the Boilers had won for the fourth time in their last five games and their Big Ten opener for the third time in the last four years. Full Recap | Boxscore
3.) May 16 - at Purdue 7, Penn State 3: The Boilers clinched their first Big Ten series victory at Alexander Field with this comeback win on the final day of the season. Down 3-1 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Boilers sent 11 men to the plate and scored six times. The first seven Purdue batters to come to the plate in the frame had a productive at-bat. Penn State used four pitchers in the inning and Jack Picchiotti's two-run single capped the scoring. Joe Eichmann closed out his Purdue career with a memorable relief outing, striking out a career-high nine over 5 2/3 innings of relief. In four relief appearances against PSU as an upperclassman, Eichmann retired 29 of the 33 batters he faced. After game two was rained out, this victory allowed Purdue to end the season riding a five-game win streak, its longest to close a campaign since 1992. Full Recap | Boxscore
2.) Feb. 21 - Purdue 4, Sam Houston State 3 (12 Innings): The Boilermakers and Bearkats played 21 innings in a memorable doubleheader in Corpus Christi. Purdue only held the lead twice, but it was in the final inning of both games. The Boilers had not swept a doubleheader since April 2012 and couldn't have done so on this day without rallying for two in the bottom of the 12th to steal the opener. Brett Haan (5 1/3 IP, 2 R, 4 K) and Tim McElory (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K) pitched well to help send the game to extra innings. Sam Houston State went ahead on a leadoff home run in the top of the 12th. But the first four Boilermakers reached base safely to begin the bottom of the frame. Singles from Cody Strong and Kyle Wood ignited the rally. Daniel Sander's pinch hit double, his first hit as a Boiler, tied the game and SHSU intentionally walked Harry Shipley for the second time in the game. With Michael Vilardo up, the Bearkats brought in an outfielder to form a five-man infield behind the pitcher. Vilardo hit the ball in the air and it went for a game-winning sac fly to right center after pinch runner Alec Olund dove in safely head first at the plate. Full Recap | Boxscore
1.) May 11 - at Purdue 9, at Nebraska 6: The eight-run rally the Boilers put together in this rubber game win in Lincoln sure felt like the best inning of the season-ending win streak, if not the entire campaign as a whole. Purdue sent 13 men to the plate during its most productive inning since April 2013, silencing the Husker faithful during the rare Monday matinee. Nebraska needed desperately to win the game to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Instead, the Boilers won their first Big Ten rubber game since April 2012 (in Lincoln) and rallied to win a series after dropping the opener for first time since May 2009. Purdue had 12 consecutive productive plate appearances during the eight-run sixth inning. Kyle Johnson and Jack Picchiotti each had two hits during the rally. Nebraska didn't go quietly and brought the potential tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning. But Kyle Van Hoeck came back from a 3-0 count to retire the Huskers' No. 5 hitter on a grounder to first base for the game-ending out, recording his first collegiate save. Full Recap | Boxscore
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