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Purdue Baseball-Rough Times on Rocky Top

Boilers drop three straight against a disciplined Tennessee team

This past weekend the baseball team traveled to Tennessee for a three game series. After many schedule changes due to inclement weather the team came out sluggish. As the weekend went on they began to look more and more like a college baseball team.

Although we only committed one error the entire weekend, we had many mental errors that hurt us in the long run. During the first two games, the pitching staff committed three balks for not fully coming set. Those balks eventually turned into runs for the Volunteers and kept the momentum going for them.

Game 1: Purdue (0-1) at Tennessee (1-0)

Starting pitchers: Jordan Minch (Purdue) (0-0) vs Hunter Martin (Tenn.) (0-0)

Purdue-0 R, 1 H, 0 E

Tennessee-3 R, 10 H, 0 E

Coach was pleased with this game, although there were many areas that our Boilers can improve on.

Conner Hudnall had the only hit of the contest, which was a long fly ball off the top of the right field wall that Hudnall made a double. This hit came in the top of the 2nd with no outs. Ted Snidanko moved Hudnall over to third off a sac bunt. Jack Picchitti got on with a hit by pitch, making it first and third with one out. Kyle Johnson stuckout swinging to make it two outs, bring Steve Maniago up to the plate. Maniago hit a hard ground ball to the first baseman to end the inning. The boys struggled to bring in Hudnall in from third with only one out. This proved to be a momentum swinger as the Volunteers tacked on two runs in the bottom of the third.

The Boilers had a chance to end the inning without any damage in the bottom of the third, when AJ Simcox stole third base with two outs and third baseman Steve Maniago dropped the ball when laying down the tag. Nick Senzel doubled to drive in Simcox for the first run of the Volunteers season. Two batters later David Houser drove in Senzel to make it a 2-0 ball game in Tennessee's favor, before the Boilers recorded the last out on a fly ball.

In the bottom of the seventh the Volunteers saw one more run cross the plate off of Christin Stewart's double off the left field wall.

The game ended in a weird way. Brandon Krieg was on first with one out, and Sean McHugh hit a fly ball to deep center field on a hit and run play. Krieg unfortunately didn't realize where the ball was and had already rounded second base as the center fielder caught the ball. Krieg beat out the throw from center field to first base to double him up. However, since Krieg had touched second base, the Volunteers were able to toss the ball over to second and get him out to end the game.

Matt Frawley made his collegiate debut on the mound allowing 1 run on 3 hits in 2 innings on the bump.

This winning pitcher was Nick Williams (1-0). Drake Owenby earned his first save of the season. Jordan Minch (0-1) was tacked for the loss.

Game 2: Purdue (0-2) at Tennessee (2-0)

Starting pitchers: Kyle Wood (Purdue) (0-0) vs Kyle Serrano (Tenn.) (0-0)

Purdue-2 R, 6 H, 0 E

Tennessee-20 R, 23 H, 0 E

Well not much really positive to come out of this game besides that just about everyone got some playing time for the Boilers.

Conner Hudnall recorded his second double of the day in the third inning. Sean McHugh led all Boilers for the game with two hits. Jeff Evak picked up his first collegiate base hit, while Jordan Bickle made his first pitching debut. Purdue tossed 8 different pitchers in the game, four of them recording less than 3 outs during their outings.

Kyle Serrano pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 runs on 4 hits and picked up his first win of the season. Kyle Wood was credited with the loss after only recording one out and giving up 4 earned runs in the first inning.

Game 3: Purdue (0-3) at Tennessee (3-0)

Starting Pitchers: Connor Podkul (Purdue) (0-0) vs Andrew Lee (Tenn.) (0-0)

Purdue-2 R, 8 H, 1 E

Tennessee-8 R, 7 H, 1 E

Although the score board doesn't show it and it's another tally in the loss column, I believe this was the best played game by the Boilers of the weekend.

Connor Podkul took the mound for the first time since the last game of the 2012 campaign due to sitting out last season because of Tommy John surgery.  Andrew Lee for the Volunteers was making his first college pitching start as he as well was coming off of Tommy John surgery. He played first base and batted for the Vols during the 2013 season. Podkul was limited to a 30 pitch count which got him through 1 inning and he faced 3 batters in the 2nd without recording an out.

We struck first in the top of the second off a Kyle Johnson single to right field and Kyle Wood scoring off of the fielding error.

However, Tennessee capitalized on 6 walks and a balk in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Accumulating 7 runs on 3 hits and leaving 2 stranded.  Patrick Kenney replaced Podkul with bases loaded and no outs, he failed to record an out while struggling to find the zone against four batters (on a side note, the ump behind the plate was not consistent at all, and I found out that he does a lot of Tennessee's inter-squad scrimmages).  Gavin Downs quickly replaced Kenney and was able to limit the damage to only one more run for the inning.

Downs pitched amazingly, only allowing one earned run over 5 innings of play on 4 hits.

Besides the bottom of the 2nd when we gave up seven free bases around the bases, we played great. We tacked on one more run in the top of the 8th when Kyle Wood doubled to right field and Brandon Krieg scored. Sean McHugh was right behind Krieg put was thrown out by the right fielder on a controversial call at home plate.

Kyle Wood recorded his first two hit game of the season along with an RBI. Jordan Lewis recorded his first hit of his college career which was a double in the top of the 9th.

Andrew Lee was the winning pitcher (1-0), while Connor Podkul picked up the loss (0-1).

There are positive times ahead for this team, Tennessee has had the advantage of being able to get outside for a few practices compared to us. Still look for these boys to be the silent team in the Big Ten play.

The Boilers return to action this upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday against Rice at 5:30pm ET, 3pm ET, and 2pm ET respectively.