After a brutal sweep at the hands of Maryland last week Purdue entered a four game set with Minnesota seeking a strong finishing kick. They ended up getting it. The Gophers are really bad this year, and Purdue took advantage by winning the first three games of the weekend rather easily. Game 4 didn’t go quite as planned, as Minnesota broke a 16 game losing streak with a walk-off win.
Purdue 9, Minnesota 3
Calvin Schapira got off to a rough start by giving up two runs in the first, then settled in for one of his best outings of the season. He gave up 3 runs in seven innings and got his first win of the year thanks to some solid offensive support.
The biggest blow came in the fifth, when Jake Parr blasted a grand slam for his first career home run and move Purdue in from 7-2. Ryan Howe also had a big day. going 4 for 4 at the plate. Purdue ended up scoring nine straight after falling behind 2-0 before giving up a ninth inning run.
Purdue 12, Minnesota 5
Purdue jumped on the Gophers early in this one, going up 3-0 after a half inning thanks to RBIs from Skyler Hunter, Parr, and Howe. The Gophers got a run in the bottom of the inning and a second in the second, but a seven run third inning blew the game open for Purdue. The big inning came about thanks to another grand slam, this time from Miles Simington.
On the mound Trent Johnson scattered four runs on nine hits, but was able to notch his third win of the season being going 5 1/3. Ricky Castro gave a strong 3 1⁄3 in relief as Purdue held the Gophers at bay. Simington had a monster day by going 4 of 5 with 4 RBI.
Purdue 17, Minnesota 4
This one was never in doubt, really. Purdue got up 10-0 through five and a half innings and never looked back. Purdue also benefitted from four Minnesota errors, but when you pound out 19 hits those errors are only magnified. Cory Brooks earned his second win of the season by going 7 innings and giving up only two runs on four hits.
At the plate 12 different Boilers had at least one hit. Tyler Powers was 3 for 3 with a pair of walks. Cam Thompson also had a ninth inning three-run home run.
Minnesota 9, Purdue 8
This was the only game that was really close on the weekend, and it was a back and forth affair. Zac Fascia’s two run double in the fifth put Purdue in front 4-3. After the Gophers got a three-run homer in the bottom of the inning Purdue came back with four in the 6th to move back in front 8-6. It would stay that way until the ninth, when Purdue’s bullpen completely melted down. Minnesota put together a three-run inning thanks to a single, wild pitch, fielder’s choice, three more singles, a hit by pitch, and a walk-off wild pitch. As mentioned above, the win broke a 16 game losing streak for Minnesota and it was just their fifth victory on the year.
Despite the frustrating end to the weekend Purdue did have a positive experience, and will look to finish strong with four games this coming weekend at home. They will play Penn State twice and Minnesota twice in a three-team pod. It is only for pride. Nebraska clinched the Big Ten today and enter the final weekend at 29-11 (Purdue did beat them in the season opener, at least). Maryland, Michigan and Indiana will likely join them in the NCAA Tournament, and Iowa has a shot, but may have fallen off the bubble with a series loss at Northwestern this weekend.