The young Boilers had another tough weekend after facing Samford for the 5th time in 10 days. The Boilers split the 2 games last weekend in Starkville, taking the Friday night game 9-4, but losing the Sunday finale 6-3.
This weekend Samford took all 3 games thanks to their stellar pitching that held the Boilermaker bats to 1 run on just 8 hits in the first 2 games. Boiler pitching gave up a total of 25 runs in the 3 games - 11 of those runs were a result of 5 Samford home runs; 2 by Bulldog prospect and center fielder Phillip Ervin.
Friday’s game was moved up from 5 pm ET to 3 pm ET due to how cold the temperature was expected to be at night. The Boilers faced two new pitchers on Friday and Saturday that they had not seen the weekend before in Starkville.
These two guys were able to get the best of the Boilers, as Purdue only managed to score 1 run in the first 2 games off of just 8 hits. Samford, on the other hand, put together 5 home runs on the weekend to raise their season home run total to 15.
On Friday afternoon, Samford struck first in the bottom of the 1st with a grand slam from center fielder Phillip Ervin off of Boilermaker RS junior Brad Schreiber. The Boilers only managed 3 hits in game one – doubles by Brandon Krieg and Jake Hansen, and a single by junior Conner Hudnall. Samford went on to take game 1 by a score of 8-0 and improve to 6-5 on the season, while the Boilermakers fell to 3-6.
Freshman LHP Jordan Minch pitched well on Saturday, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and pitching 6 innings – his second consecutive quality start. The Boilermakers manufactured a run in the bottom of the 1st, thanks to a sacrifice fly from freshman Josh Estill, but the bats once again fell silent for the rest of the game.
Samford tacked on 1 run in the bottom of the 3rd, and 3 runs in the bottom of the 4th due to a 3-run home run that Purdue freshman CF Kyle Johnson just missed after failing to secure the ball in his glove on an incredible leaping catch at the fence
Purdue had a chance to tie or take the lead in the top of the 9th inning with 1 out after loading the bases on 2 singles and a hit by pitch. Unfortunately the next 2 Boilermaker batters struck out and fouled out to end the game with a final score of 4-1.
Sunday the sun and the Boilermaker bats finally came alive as they were able to tally 13 total hits against the Bulldogs on the day. Purdue showed some signs of what was last year known as “hit day” due to all the hits and runs last year’s team scored on Sunday’s. Samford only had 2 more hits than the Boilers, but were better able to capitalize by scoring 13 runs.
Freshman LF Cody Strong and senior 1B/C Kyle Bischoff made their first starts of the season, going a combined 3-9 at the plate. Junior 3B Sean McHugh was a home run short of the cycle, and went 4-4 with 2 RBI on the day.
Samford put together two 4-run innings in both the 3rd and 7th innings, and two 2-run innings in the 5th and 6th. The Bulldogs took game three by a score of 13-6, sweeping the Boilermakers and extending the current losing streak to six games.
Junior LHP Cody Webster made his first appearance on the mound this season on Sunday, throwing 1 inning and giving up 1 run on 2 hits. For those that don’t know, Cody is Purdue football's punter. New coach Darrell Hazell and was kind enough to let Webster try out for the team after Danny Hope and his staff wasn't so lenient.
The Boilers will start their spring break trip next weekend with 3 games against UIC, then follow that up with midweek games against Cincinnati and Louisville, and finally end the trip with 3 games against Evansville.
Purdue will then face UIC again on March 19th at Alexander Field, which will be the first home game at the new stadium. Season tickets have been selling left and right, so make sure to secure your tickets before they run out. The new reserved chair back seats are already all sold out. Go here to purchase your tickets.
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