Today was a picturesque spring day in Indiana, so with rain in the forecast for Sunday Purdue and Iowa moved their series finale to today. That made for a doubleheader at Alexander Field, and with it being Purdue Aviation Day at the airport it was a great day to take the family northwest on I-65. The drone of the Purdue Grand Prix (won by Brenden Johnson) going on in the background the Boilers and Hawkeyes played two. Purdue broke a six-game losing streak with a win in game 1 today, but dropped game 2 to give the series to Iowa.
Iowa 10, Purdue 4
Errors were the story of the night Friday night in the series opener with the Hawkeyes. Purdue committed five mistakes in the field leading to six unearned run in the loss. After getting the first out of the game Patrick J. Smith hit a batter, then an error and a walk led to a bases loaded situation with one out in the first. Ben Norman delivered a three-run double, then scored on a single to make it 4-0 Iowa before Purdue even batted. The Hawkeyes added three more unearned runs in the fourth to lead 7-0 before Bryce Bonner drive in a sixth inning on an RBI triple, but Iowa got the run back in the very nest inning. Purdue would score twice in the seventh, but gave both runs right back in the top of the eighth.
Game 1: Purdue 9, Iowa 5
In a back-and-forth game Purdue led 4-0, trailed 5-4, then led 9-5 after a five run seventh inning to break a six-game losing streak. Bryce Bonner got Purdue on the board with a solo home run in the first. Charlie Nasuti then drove in Ryan How with a second inning triple and scored on a single from Johnny Sage. Sage would later score in the inning on a sacrifice bunt.
Iowa would get a run in the fourth, three in the fifth, and one in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead before Purdue had it big inning. Bonner and Cole McKenzie drew 1-out walks in the seventh and Zac Fascia brought them both home with a two-run triple to right field. Howe singled home Fascia, then scored as part of a bases loaded two-run single from Tyler Powers. From there the Purdue bullpen shut the door.
Matt Moore threw only seven pitches and struck out the lone batter he faced in the top of the seventh, but that was enough to earn him his third win of the season. Bo Hofstra closed out the win with two scoreless innings.
Game 2: Iowa 6, Purdue 3
The Hawkeyes broke a 2-2 tie with four runs in the top of the eighth to take the series. Cole McKenzie hit his first home run of the season in the first, but Iowa added a pair of runs in the second. Ryan Howe reached on a double in the second and scored on a groundout before Ryan Beard and Grant Judkins settled into a pitcher’s duel. Beard was great through seven innings, but took his fifth loss of the season after giving up two singles to start the eighth before he was pulled. A wild pitch moved the runner up and Austin Martin drove both home with a single. Norman then added a two-run homer to make it 6-2.
McKenzie drove in a run in the eighth with a single, but it wasn’t enough. Grant Leonard struck out three batters in the 1 1/3 he faced for Iowa to earn his eighth save.
Purdue now sits at 11-23 on the season, but 5-6 in the Big Ten. That’s still a pretty good spot in the conference race halfway through with Rutgers (4-4), Michigan State (0-7), Illinois (1-5) and Ohio State (4-5) left as the four conference series remaining. The only way Purdue is returning to the NCAA Tournament is with the automatic bid of winning the Big Ten Tournament, but by just making said event there is a chance. The top eight teams in the league standings make the Big Ten tournament, so that should be the goal the rest of the year.
Purdue hosts Butler Tuesday night at 7pm in a game that will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 before going to Rutgers for Easter weekend.