Purdue wrapped up a pretty disastrous spring break trip by getting swept in all three games at St. Louis over the weekend. After going 8-1 in its first nine games with good wins over Incarnate Word, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech Purdue has now lost 8 of its last 9. It’s 8-game road trip through Louisiana and St. Louis was a dismal 1-7. Even worse, the pitching that was performing so well surrendered 33 runs in 3 games, while the hitting continues to struggle.
St. Louis 15, Purdue 1
Inclement weather forced Friday’s game to Saturday as a doubleheader and game one was a complete butt-whipping for the Billikens. St. Louis put up 8 runs on 4 hits in the second inning, but it was a dropped fly ball that led to most of the damage. The play occurred on what should have been the third out, getting Purdue out down just 3-0 after a 2-run homer in the inning. Instead, the Billikens were able to plate 6 unearned runs. Tanner Andrews lasted only two innings and gave up 9 runs, but only three were earned. Skyler Hunter had an RBI single in the third, but overall Purdue managed just five hits.
St. Louis 11, Purdue 9
Purdue faired a little better in game 2, but still gave up 11 runs on 14 hits. The Boilers started quickly by plating two runs in the first on a 2-run double from Nick Dalesandro. Gareth Stroh got through the first unscathed, but gave up single runs in the second and third to tie. Purdue battled back with three in the fourth thanks to a two-run double from Evan Warden, but could not hold the 5-2 lead.
The Boilers led 6-3 going into the bottom of the sixth, but the bullpen gave up 3 in the sixth, 2, in the seventh, and 3 in the eighth. Dalesandro cleared the bases with a 3-run double in the ninth, but Ben Nisle flew out to retire the side representing the tying run. Dalesandro finished the game with three hits and 5 RBI.
St. Louis 7, Purdue 3
Purdue once again had an early lead thanks to a Dalesandro triple in the second and a sac fly from Nisle. Trent Johnson started strong and gave up just one hit in four innings, but Bo Hofstra was tagged for 4 runs in the fifth. He retired the first two batters in the inning easily, but was then hit for four straight singles and a triple. St. Louis added 3 more runs in the seventh and Purdue was only able to answer with a run in the sixth and one in the 8th.
The 1-7 spring break road trip torpedoed Purdue’s at large NCAA hopes barring a very strong Big Ten season. The RPI dropped from 19 on March 11th all the way down to 110. What’s frustrating is that the way Purdue was hitting going into the Tulane series it should have gone at least 4-4. All told Purdue was shut out twice in 8 games on the spring break trip and scored three runs or less in four of the other six games. The only win was a 12-8 win over Tulane last Saturday. St. Louis is also one of the hottest teams in the country right now, having won 10 straight after a 1-7 start.
Now at 9-9 on the season Purdue plays at Ball State (10-10) on Tuesday afternoon before finally having its home opener Friday night against Lipscomb. Lipscomb is 9-11 on the year, but did take 2 of 3 at home against Michigan.