Purdue baseball returned this weekend and it was definitely a mixed bag. The Boilers played with a lot of grit in the season opener on Friday, earning a come from behind win. Unfortunately that was the lone highlight. Over the final three games Purdue managed just two runs and left enough runners on base that they now have their own Congressional representative.
Purdue 6, Nebraska 5
This was a back and forth game as Purdue trailed 1-0 after two innings, but went in front behind a three-run third inning. Miles Simington, Mason Gavre, and Kyle LaPlante each had RBI singles in the inning, with Gavre and LaPlante both delivering with two outs.
Nebraska came back with two in the fourth and one in the fifth to make it 4-3, but Purdue got a run in each of the last three innings around an 8th inning Cornhusker run. In the 7th Ben Nisle got a one out triple and scored on a passed ball. In the 8th, and Nebraska went up 5-4, Zac Fascia led off with a double and scored on a single from LaPlante.
Jackon Smeltz gave Purdue a chance by striking out the side in the top of the 9th, then it was time for more Nisle and Fascia again. Nisle reach on a one-out single, then Simington was hit by a pitch. Freshman Jack Firestone loaded the bases with a walk, then Fascia drove in Nisle with a sac fly for the win.
Smeltz earned the win with his three strikeouts in an inning pitched. Trent Johnson was solid in his first start, striking out 7, but he also gave up four runs on 10 hits. Cory Brooks had 5 strikeouts in 2 2⁄3 innings.
Nebraska 7, Purdue 2
Nebraska 10, Purdue 0
The Saturday DH was a rough one for Purdue. A six run third inning that featured two Purdue errors was the difference. Simington drove in Nisle on a sacrifice fly in the sixth, then Mike Bolton Jr. tripled and scored on a double from Fascia, but that would be the last offense Purdue would have on the weekend. Over the course of the seven inning game Purdue left 8 runners on base.
In game 2 it was all Nebraska. Purdue managed only two hits and a five run second inning for the Cornhuskers put Purdue down early. Simington and Fascia were the only Purdue players to get a hit over the second seven inning game.
Nebraska 4, Purdue 0
Sunday’s game was perhaps the most frustrating of the three losses. Purdue left 10 runners on base. In the third and seventh they left the bases loaded and in the sixth and eighth they had two on with one out, but grounded into a double play.
Jett Jackson struck out 10 in 4 1/3, which is excellent, but a first inning solo home run and second inning RBI double was enough. The Cornhuskers were able to add two more runs in the ninth for insurance and to clinch the series.
Simington was Purdue’s best hitter over the weekend, going 5 of 11 with 2 RBI and a run scored. Nisle was 5 of 15 with 4 runs scored and had two triples. Purdue’s lack of power was on display though as Purdue had no home runs to Nebraska’s five.
Things do not get any easier as Purdue heads to Greenville, SC next week to face Michigan for four games. The Wolverines took two of three this weekend from Iowa and are one of the preseason league favorites.