Purdue entered the Big Ten baseball tournament as a pretty big underdog, but that is what happens when you’re the No. 8 seed out of 8 teams. Earlier in the day Minnesota beat Indiana on its home field and Northwestern came back against Michigan’s previously invincible bullpen, so there was hope that the underdog stories would continue in Purdue’s game against league champion Nebraska.
In conditions fit for amphibians it was offense that ruled the day against the Cornhuskers. The teams combined for 24 runs and 24 hits with a monsoon breaking out in the later innings, but it was Purdue’s pitching that struggled greatly in a 15-9 loss.
For Purdue to have any chance to make noise in this tournament it needed its 1-2 pitching combination of Tanner Andrews and Gareth Stroh to be lights out in the first two games. Tonight, Andrews wasn’t even able to record an out. After Purdue went down 1-2-3 in the first Andrews faced six batters and all six reached base on 25 pitches. Andrews was pulled without recording an out, and Purdue was down 4-0 after an inning.
Andrews avoided the loss, however, as the Boilers answered immediately with a five run second inning to take a 5-4 lead. Alec Olund had a 2 RBI double in the inning and both Mike Madej and Milo Beam doubled and scored.
From there, Tanner Schumacher was able to hold on for a little while, but two runs in the third and two in the fourth put the Cornhuskers in front for good. Jacson McGowan cut the lead to 8-6 with a solo home run in the fifth, but Nebraska broke the game open with three in the bottom of the inning. Purdue did get within three by adding a run in the 7th and 8th, but a pair two-run homers in the 8th by Nebraska ended any hopes of a comeback. Purdue got a solo home run from Evan Warden in the ninth for the final margin.
The biggest problem for Purdue tonight was its pitching. A total of six Purdue pitchers walked 10 batters and the Cornhuskers made Purdue pay. Schumacher made it 3 1/3 innings with only one walk, but Brian Ghiselli walked four in 1 1/3 innings and was charged with three earned runs. Freshman Hunter Wolfe did a respectable job in relief with five strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings, but he was hit for one of the two-run homers in the 8th. Nebraska also had six doubles and two home runs in their 13 hits, many coming after the above-mentioned walks.
Purdue now falls into the loser’s bracket and it will play the loser between Maryland and Iowa. That game was pushed to tomorrow at 1:30pm because of all the rain in Bloomington. Purdue’s game tomorrow will be at approximately 5pm, immediately after Maryland-Iowa. Michigan-Indiana is the first game of the day in an elimination game at 10am.