Another day in Omaha, another win. Purdue faced Illinois on Saturday afternoon in the Big Ten tournament and came away with an 11-5 win to advance to Sunday's championship game.
This this one was not as smooth as previous wins in the tournament. Ryan Beard struggled a bit to start, as the Boilers trailed 4-1 entering the 5th inning. Purdue scored 4 in the 5th thanks to a pair of errors to take a 5-4 lead. A pair of wild pitches in the 7th helped Purdue score 4 more and open up a 9-5 lead after Illinois tied it with a run in the bottom of the 5th. The Boilers then added 2 more in the 8th to salt it away.
Skyler Hunter and Jacson McGowan each drove in 3 runs. Harry Shipley and Nick Dalesandro were the beneficiary of those RBIs as each scored 3 times at the top of the lineup.
All told, Purdue pitchers gave up 4 hits. Beard was hit for 4 earned runs in 2 2/3, but Trent Johnson, Bo Hifstra, and Dalton Parker combines to get the last 19 outs. They gave up a run on 2 hits and each struck out 2. Hofstra officially moved to 5-3 as the winning pitcher.
Full highlights from Saturday's 11-5 comeback win vs. Illinois that moved #Purdue into the Big Ten Tournament title game. Thankful for the BTN's great coverage this week. #BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/70C3YfzqOz— Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) May 26, 2018
Purdue will play Minnesota at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon for the tournament championship, and it is just a 1 game, winner-take-all situation. The winner gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, but Purdue should be in regardless. At 37-18, Purdue has a strong at large profile and an RPI of 27. They may have an extremely small chance of hosting a regional if we win tomorrow, as we would enter the tournament having won 22 of 24 games. A tournament title would only be the second in school history. With one more win, either tomorrow or next week, we would have the second most wins in any Purdue baseball season ever, trailing only the 45 wins in 2012.
So let's keep this ride going!