It took a detour to Georgia, but the 2018 Purdue baseball season got off to a great start this season. After being unable to get to Baylor due to travel issues Purdue agreed to play Western Michigan at the Perfect Game complex in Emerson, Georgia and it went, well, perfect. Purdue won all three games 5-1, 5-1, and 10-4 to start the year 3-0.
Game 1: Purdue 5, Western Michigan 1
Tanner Andrews scattered five hits across 6 2⁄3 innings to go with no runs and nine strikeouts to earn the win. Ross Learnard, the preseason All-American in the bullpen, struck out two in an inning and a third to earn the save as Purdue’s pitching dominated. The Boilers used a 3-run home run from Ben Nisle int he fourht inning while Jacson McGowan had a solo homer. Learnard’s strike out with the tying runs on second and third in the 8th was clutch.
Game 2: Purdue 5, Western Michigan 1
The second game of the doubleheader finished with the exact same score, but Western Michigan led 1-0 with a run in the 4th. Purdue tied it with a run in the 4th and added three more in the 5th. EVan Warden and McGowan each added home runs in the game offensively.
On the mound Gareth Stroh gave up just the one run in five innings, but it was Nick Wojtysiak who went the final four innings to pick up the win. He gave up only three hits and struck out four.
Game 3: Purdue 10, Western Michigan 4
Purdue trailed 2-0 and 3-2 in the final game, but a 4-run 6th inning flipped things around Purdue added two insurance runs each in the 7th and 8th. McGowan was 4 of 5 with his 3rd home run of the weekend and 4 RBI, while Skyler Hunter was 4 for 4 with 3 runs scored.
On the mound Purdue spread out its innings. Bo Hofstra earned his first career win with two innings of relief. Ryan Beard gave up 3 runs in four innings in his first start at Purdue.
For the weekend Hunter had 7 hits in 11 at bats with 3 RBI and 4 runs scored, while McGowan was 7 of 13 with the three home runs and 7 RBI. That likely will have McGowan in the running for Big Ten Player of the Week.
Next week Purdue will play in San Antonio int he Alamo Irish Classic. They will play St. Louis and Incarnate Word on Friday and Notre Dame on Sunday, with a fourth game to be determined for Sunday based on the results of the previous games. St. Louis is 1-3 on the season and Purdue swept two games from them last season. Incarnate Word split a four-game set with North Dakota State this weekend. Notre Dame took one of three at LSU to start the year.