The good news is that Purdue got its first win on the very young baseball season this weekend. The bad news is that they only got one win. The Boilers were certainly ambitious in facing a pair of top 25 teams on the road to start the year. We knew it was going to be tough to come out of the first seven games with a winning record, but at least they were not completely swept this weekend. Here is how the four games went down in Austin
Friday: Texas 7, Purdue 2
Longhorn ace Bryce Elder showed why he is a Friday night starter for a premier team in this one. He struck out six and scattered six hits against one run in six innings of work as Purdue couldn’t get its offense on track. The Boilers fell behind 2-0 in the first when Ryan Reynolds delivered a two-out, two-run single. Purdue got one back in the fourth when Skyler Hunter scored on a fielding error after a Johnny Sage double, but Purdue couldn’t get it second run until the ninth. Texas added single runs in the fifth and sixth before blowing the game open with three in the seventh.
Dalton Parker took the loss, lasting only three and two thirds. Ben Nisle, Zac Fascia, and Johnny Sage each delivered two hits.
Saturday Game 1: Texas 13, Purdue 6
The Boilers got off to a much better start in this one, plating three runs in the first. Nisle drove in a run on a groundout and Hunter brought home two with a single, giving starter Ryan Beard an early advantage. That lasted until the second, when Texas exploded for seven runs. Michael McCann had a three-run triple in the inning and both Bryce Reagan and Eric Kennedy had two-run homers in the inning. Beard ended up going four innings, but officially gave up 10 runs.
At the plate for Purdue Owen Jansen had a pair of hits and two RBI. Overall the Boilers managed just seven hits, but added three more runs in the fifth to make it 7-6. Texas struck back with three in the bottom of the inning, two in the sixth, and one in the seventh.
Saturday Game 2: Purdue 4, Texas 0
After getting knocked around for the first five games of the year the Purdue pitching staff finally had a solid performance. Andrew Bohm, Bo Hofstra, and Matt Moore combined to limit the longhorns to just one hit, a third inning infield single. Longhorn starter Coy Cobb was also good, pitching seven shutout innings. Purdue finally broke through with a four-run ninth inning thanks to three Texas errors in the inning.
Milo Beam scored the first run on a single from Fascia, while Nisle scored on a throwing error on the play. A second error on a fielder’s choice from Sage allowed Fascia to score, while Sage would score later on a groundout.
Hofstra would be the winning pitcher, going three innings and striking out three. Bohm was great in the start with five strikeouts in five innings while giving up one hit.
Sunday: Texas 3, Purdue 0
Texas got three runs off of Patrick J. Smith in the first inning and that was all they would need as the team traded zeroes the rest of the day. Smith settled down to go six innings, but it was the Purdue offense that faltered. Matt Whelan handcuffed Purdue by giving up only two hits in five innings. The Boilers would finish with three hits on the day and struck out nine times.
For the series Nisle had the best outing, going 6 for 16, but with only one RBI. Once again, walks were killer from the pitching staff. Purdue pitchers handed out 23 walks over the four games, six of those from Parker on Friday night.
The good news is that none of these games can be considered “bad” losses. They will pay dividends by giving us schedule strength and it is encouraging that we were at least competitive in four of the six losses so far. A couple hits today and some better pitching last week and Purdue is 4-3 right now. We did get one win too, so that will be a valuable taken later on.
Next up the Boilers will head to Tulsa for another four-game set against Oral Roberts. They went 0-3 this weekend in the Kleberg Bank College Classic, losing to Texas A&M Corpus Christi, BYU, and Ohio State. They were 38-20 a year ago and won the Summit League, but lost a weekday game at Purdue 7-6 late in the season. It is a chance for Purdue to get back on track against a team that will be a strong contender to return to the NCAA Tournament from the Summit League.