We’re now three weeks into the college baseball season and only eight undefeated teams remain. Surprisingly, Purdue is one of them. After sweeping Princeton in a four-game neutral series in Holly Springs, North Carolina last weekend the Boilers stayed in the Carolinas. They took their first midweek game (and first true road game) of the season Wednesday at Charlotte, then got a pair of dramatic walk-off wins this weekend in a sweep of Longwood back in Holly Springs to move to 12-0 on the year.
Purdue 6, Charlotte 2
Purdue got on the board early with a Cam Thompson two run single and RBI double from Troy Viola to lead 3-0 after a half inning. The 49ers got a run in the first and second, but that was it as seven Purdue pitchers combined to throw a gem. Jake Jarvis would have a solo home run in the ninth as Purdue got one in the 8th and two in the 9th for some insurance.
Wyatt Wendell was the winning pitcher, moving to 2-0 on the season with two innings pitched, while Khal Stephen came on with two runners on to get a one out save in the ninth. This was, by a pretty wide margin, Purdue’s toughest opponent to date. Charlotte won over 40 games last year, made the NCAA Tournament, and even won a game once there, so to get this one on their home field is pretty good.
Purdue 6, Longwood 1
Jackson Smeltz moved to 3-0 on the season with seven solid innings, giving up just one run on three hits. He struck out 10 of 22 batters faced and was only tagged for a seventh inning home run., by then. Purdue was already up 6-0, and Kyle Wade pitched two scoreless innings to close it out.
At the plate CJ Valdez and Paul Toetz each had two hits and two RBI. Thompson also had an RBI double as part of a four run third inning.
Purdue 6, Longwood 5 (13 innings)
Purdue was on the ropes a couple of times, but fought back for its first extra inning win of the year. Jake Stadler’s single scored Jarvis in the bottom of the 13th for the win, giving Ricky Castro the victory on the mound after two innings of relief. Stadler also scored the tying run in the bottom of the 12th when Tyler Powers was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Purdue trailed 3-0 before Viola connected on a two run home run in the fifth. Pablo Lanzarote then homered in the next at bat to tie it. A Thompson single in the 8th made it 4-3 Purdue, but a wild pitch from Eric Hildebrand in the ninth allowed Longwood to tie it.
Purdue 6, Longwood 5 (11 innings)
This one was as dramatic as they come. Purdue trailed 5-1 entering the ninth, but got four in the bottom of the inning and a walk-off 11th inning home run from Thompson.
Viola’s two-out double in the ninth completed the comeback, but this was a close one throughout. The teams were scoreless through 6 innings as Wyatt Wendell went 6 1⁄3 strong to start. He only gave up one run on two hits, but it came on a 7th inning single. Longwood then added three in the 8th and one in the 9th around a single Purdue run in the 8th.
A walk and two singles loaded the bases with one out in the ninth for Purdue, then Thompson made it 5-2 with a single. Powers would score on a sacrifice fly, but Viola’s double on a 3-2 pitch with two outs would tie it. Khal Stephen would get the win with two scoreless innings in relief.
Admittedly, Purdue has not played the strongest competition. Of the eight remaining undefeated teams they have the lowest RPI, in the low 90s, but 12-0 is still 12-0. They also have a flair for the dramatic with four walk-off wins in the last six games.
Purdue will now return home for the earliest home opener in the short history of Alexander Field. The Boilers will host Bellarmine for a three game set this coming weekend, and with the Knights struggling at 1-12 Purdue has a great chance to keep the winning going. We can’t underestimate Bellarmine though, as they do have a 1-0 loss to a top 5 Virginia team.
At the plate CJ Valdez is ripping the ball at a .419 average with 9 RBI. Cam Thompson is batting .357 with 19 RBI and a pair of home runs. Curtis Washington Jr. and Mike Bolton Jr. are causing all kinds of problems by getting on base at the top. They have a combined 15 stolen bases and 27 runs scored.