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Purdue Beats No. 16 Indiana in Midweek Action

Purdue sets a new attendance record at Alexander Field with 2,369 fans tonight.

After sweeping Maryland over the weekend Purdue baseball came home with a pair of midweek games to start a nine game homestand. The first was a relatively easy one vs. lowly Chicago State, while tonight’s game against No. 16 Indiana was a chance to tie the season series with the Hoosiers at 2-2 after losing the Big Ten series in Bloomington two games to one. It would also be a huge quality win to start a push toward the NCAA Tournament.


Purdue 8, Chicago State 1

Redshirt freshman Andrew Bohm got the first start of his career and was excellent. He was perfect through four innings and gave up just two hits and no runs over 5 innings of work, his longest outing since Tommy John surgery last year. He got the win and Mike Kornacker had only two hits over three scoreless innings as Purdue led 8-0 going into the ninth.

At the plate Evan Warden had a big 3-run double in the bottom of the 7th to break the game wide open. Nick Dalesandro and Alec Olund each had three hits and an RBI as well to pace the offense. It was a pretty solid effort overall as Purdue ran its win streak to four games.


Purdue 5, No. 16 Indiana 3

Any chances Purdue has for an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament relied on a victory tonight against the Hoosiers. Indiana is ranked 16th in the coaches poll and is 29th in the current RPI. Purdue entered just 1-5 against top 50 RPI teams, beating Indiana but losing to the Hoosiers twice, Minnesota twice, and Stetson. Purdue still has three games each against No. 40 Ohio State and No. 51 Michigan, so there are chances left against the better teams on the schedule, but tonight was a great non-conference opportunity.

The fans showed up too. A new program record of 2,369 fans at Alexander Field saw Purdue get clutch hits and come away with a very good win. Nick Evarts had an RBI single in the first to give Ryan Beard an early 1-0 lead. Indiana got the run back in the second, but Ben Nisle singled gome Nick Dalesandro in the third to make it 2-1.

Indiana made it 2-2 in the fourth when Matt Gorski had an inside-the-park home run thanks to Skyler Hunter diving for a catch in right field and missing. The momentum quickly shifted back to Purdue in the bottom of the inning when Olund scored on a sacrifice fly and Dalesandro just beat out a potential double play with one out to score Warden.

Carrying a 4-2 lead Purdue ran into trouble in the sixth. The first three runners got on and Beard was facing a bases loaded, no one out situation. Matt Lloyd lined out to second and Ryan Fineman was doubled off to get two outs on a single pitch. The Hoosiers stole a run by getting into a rundown between first and second to allow Gorski to steal home though.

Once again, Purdue had an answer. Purdue loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a hit batsman with no one out in the bottom of the inning. Dalesandro then grounded into a double play, but an important insurance run scored to make it 5-3.

From there Purdue’s bullpen shined. Bo Hofstra had a perfect 7th. Patrick Smith won a lefty vs. lefty situation in the 8th and Trevor Cheaney got the final two outs for a perfect 8th. Then it was Ross Learnard time. Learnard eanred his 7th save and 4th in the last 5 days with a prefect ninth. Beard officially got his second win to improve to 2-3.

The Boilers have now won five in a row and sit at 21-16 on the season. The win improved the RPI to 70 as well, up 7 spots. The Boilers get No. 149 Rutgers for three games this weekend, then last place Northwestern next week. That is a huge opportunity to build a record and secure a Big Ten Tournament berth.

As for the NCAA Tournament, the Big Ten currently has a record 6 teams in the latest projections according to D1 Baseball. Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio State appear to be in great shape. Illinois and Iowa are on the Bubble, and Illinois has an RPI of 57 as of this writing, just 13 spots ahead of Purdue. They are 4-4 against the top 50 in the RPI and Purdue is 2-5. Their next three weekends are against Indiana, Ohio State, and Michigan though.

Iowa is also at 4-4 against the top 50 in the RPI and is at 47. Michigan is 11-0 in the Big Ten, but is just 1-4 against the top 50 despite being on a 20-game win streak. Purdue has a chance to catch these teams and snag an at large bid, but it likely has to win its series against Ohio State and Michigan while dropping, at most, one other game. Aside from those two Purdue’s remaining nine games are against teams rated 149 or worse in the RPI, so any loss in those nine would not be great.

The Boilers do have a chance though, and there is always the Big Ten Tournament, too. Indiana has been the best team on paper all year in the league and we have taken two from them, so we can play with anyone in the league.