Purdue entered the weekend with positive momentum in the Big Ten baseball race. It left with three straight losses. Purdue’s trip to Lincoln was a frustrating one, as the Cornhuskers took all three games thanks to a big inning in each.
Friday: Nebraska 17, Purdue 0
In the most lopsided game of the season the Cornhuskers pounced on starter Patrick J. Smith from the beginning, then knocked around reliever Kyle Wade. It was the fifth time this season that Purdue has been shutout. Purdue gave up six in the first, two in the second, and seven in the fifth while managing just five hits themselves. Nebraska starter Matt Waldron scattered four hits in seven shutout innings while recording nine strikeouts.
Saturday: Nebraska 13, Purdue 4
Purdue held a lead in this one as Skyler Hunter drove in two runs in the third with a triple and later scored on an error. That gave the Boilers a brief 3-1 lead. The big inning came back to bit the pitching staff, however, as an error on what could have been a double play led to a seven run fifth inning for Nebraska. Cam Chick had a three-run homer in the inning for the big blast. Evan Albrecht drew a bases loaded walk in the sixth, but Purdue could get no more as Nebraska got two more in the bottom of the inning.
Sunday: Nebraska 9, Purdue 5
The theme of the big inning continued today as Purdue led 3-2 going to the bottom of the fourth, but gave up six runs in the inning. Another error with the bases loaded and one out blew the inning open and Nebraska rolled from there. The good news is that Purdue finally found some power in its lineup. Purdue entered the game with just two home runs in the first 29 games, but Ryan Howe and Zac Fascia both homered to double that total. Hunter also added another triple, and he now leads the conference with four triples on the season.
Purdue has one midweek game this week, and it will be televised Wednesday night at 7pm on Fox Sports 1. Purdue heads to Bloomington to face Indiana in a game that will not count in the Big Ten standings. It is the only meeting with the Hoosiers this season and continues the tradition started last year where Purdue and Indiana played a single midweek non-conference game in West Lafayette. Indiana is solid again this season at 19-12 overall and they share the Big Ten lead with Nebraska at 7-2.
Purdue will then be home next weekend for three games against Iowa. The Hawkeyes are 16-12, 5-4 in the Big Ten, and a team we will be battling for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. The Boilers have pretty much no chance at an at large bid now, but can still make some noise in the conference and league tournament if they make it.