It has been a rough start for Purdue baseball in 2021 to say the least, but at least there was some small improvement this weekend. Purdue headed to league leader Indiana trying to a void another sweep and was, at least, able to take one game. It was right in the other two as well.
Indiana 2, Purdue 1
Once again, a punchless offense was an issue, but it was still almost enough. Purdue got its run in the first inning when Kyle LaPlante was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, driving in Skyler Hunter. The bases were still loaded with one out, but Indiana pitcher Tommy Sommer got out of the jam with two strikeouts. He went on to surrender just two hits and strike out 12 in 6 2/3.
Purdue’s Trent Johnson was up to the task though. He gave up two hits and no runs in six innings. The Hoosiers got to Cory Brooks in the 8th, however. An RBI double from Paul Toetz and a two-out RBI single from Jacob Southern was enough for the win. A pair of walks in the ninth gave Purdue life, but Skyler Hunter struck out to end the game.
Purdue 8, Indiana 5
Hey! Offense! A four run third inning allowed Purdue to build a 5-1 lead and the Boilers were able to hold on with insurance runs in the 6th, 8th and 9th. Indiana was quite helpful in the inning with a bases loaded throwing error that allowed Evan Albrecht to score and a wild pitch that allowed Ben Nisle to score. Miles Simington and Zac Fascia also each had RBI singles in the inning. Purdue took advantage of six walks and 11 hits, but was actually able to convert them into runs. Even then, Purdue left 13 on base.
On the mound Calvin Schapira got the start, but gave up 4 runs in 4 1⁄3 while striking out 7. Eric Hildebrand officially earned the win with three strikeouts in 1 1/3. Nolan Daniel even got the first save of the season by striking out the side in the ninth.
Indiana 9, Purdue 4
Purdue had its chances in this one, but couldn’t get it done. The Boilers took an early 2-0 lead in the second when Fascia scored on a wild pitch and Justin Walker Jr. got an RBI single, but Indiana got those right back in the bottom of the inning. The Hoosiers then got three in the third to go up 5-2, but Mike Bolton Jr. drove in a fourth inning run for Purdue with a double. The Boilers had an excellent chance in the sixth with the bases loaded and no one out, but a double play brought in a run and a groundout ended the inning. Indiana got the run back in the bottom of the inning and tacked on three more in the eighth to clinch the series. Jett Jackson took the loss, giving up 5 runs in just 2 1/3.
The Boilers now sit at 2-9, but they finally get to return to Alexander Field for the first time in two years this coming weekend. All 14 games that the Boilers got in last season were either on the road or at a neutral site, so just getting to play at home is huge for them. They will host a 6-4 Rutgers team that is currently in fourth place in the league. Purdue is close, too. The starting pitching has been mostly okay and the top of the lineup gets something going, but Purdue really struggles converting baserunners into runs.