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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue (20-35, 9-14 B1G) made Senior Day a memorable one as the Boilermakers earned a 6-3 victory in Bittinger Stadium sweep Nebraska (24-28, 13-10 B1G) and clinch a nine seed in the Big Ten Tournament. Kristen Hoppman, Katie Johnson and Lexi Valone each made significant contributions to earn the victory in their final game in Bittinger Stadium.
For the second day in a row, Johnson went the distance in order to collect her third complete-game victory of conference play. After giving up a leadoff home run to begin the game, Johnson settled in retiring 15 of the next 16 batters she faced until the Huskers managed a two-out double to score a pair of runs in the sixth.
The Sioux Falls, South Dakota, native would prove to be unfazed as she bounced back with a one-two-three inning in the seventh to seal the win. Johnson had four innings in which she retired the side in order and was efficient all game as she threw just 82 pitches and allowed just three hits while picking up a pair of strikeouts.
Johnson also set the table for Purdue's six-run rally in the third as she walked with one down to turn over the lineup to Hughes who then singled, giving Hoppman an RBI opportunity with runners on first and second. Once again this series, Hoppman delivered with her second single of the game to tie the score at one.
After Hughes caught the defense off-guard to score in the ensuing at-bat on a ground ball by Mallory Baker, Hoppman scored on a two-out double by Alexa Binckes who'd go on to finish the game three-for-three with a run batted in and a run scored. Brooke Perry and Lexi Huffman followed Binckes with a pair of walks, setting up a bases clearing three-RBI double by Valone to provide separation and give Purdue a 6-1 lead. The double was the first of two hits by Valone.
Altogether, offensively the seniors accounted for four hits in eight at-bats with a walk, four runs batted in and two runs scored in the contest.
Purdue shifts its focus to post-season play as the Boilermakers seek redemption against the eighth-seeded Northwestern Wildcats in game one of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. The first pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m. ET in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The entire Big Ten Tournament will be aired on the Big Ten Network.