CARBONDALE, Ill. (www.purduesports.com) – Sean McHugh and Kyle Johnson both hit solo homers and a trio of relievers worked out of numerous jams to extend the game into the 16th inning, but Purdue baseball lost its longest game since 2004 in walk-off fashion, 5-4, at Southern Illinois Saturday afternoon.
Johnson hit a game-tying homer with two outs in the eighth inning. Neither team scored again until Ryan Rosthenhausler delivered a walk-off single to right center with one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 16th inning. Southern Illinois (12-9) left 18 men on base during the course of the game, out hitting the Boilers, 18-8. The Salukis stranded two men in six different innings.
The extended affair was Purdue’s longest game since defeating Ohio State on a 16-inning walk-off in April 2004 at Lambert Field.
The Boilermakers (3-15) led 3-0 after McHugh homered for the second time in as many days with two outs in the fifth inning. The Salukis took their first lead with three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Ryan Casillas’ two-out, two-run double turned a 3-2 Purdue lead into a 4-3 deficit.
Both teams’ bullpens pitched well Saturday. The SIU trio of Tyler Dray, Kyle Pauly and Lee Weld (2-0) teamed up for 8 1/3 innings of one-hit relief. Brett Haan, Patrick Kenney and Kyle Wood gave the Boilers’ 8 1/3 innings of one-run ball. Haan’s four scoreless innings represented his longest out as a Boiler. Kenney put up zeroes in the 12th and 13th innings, striking out the final batter of both frames.
Wood (0-3) left the potential winning run at third base in the 15th inning. But back-to-back walks after a one-out single gave SIU its bases-loaded opportunity. Rosthenhausler had delivered a two-out single with the go-ahead run at second base in the eighth inning, but got thrown out diving back into first base after the runner was held at third. He had also struck out with a man aboard in the 10th and 12th innings. But after his team had stranded the potential winning run on base for seven consecutive innings, the SIU second baseman finally ended the game in the bottom of the 16th.
Steve Maniago doubled to lead off the 15th inning, winning a lefty-lefty matchup vs. Pauly. After a sacrifice bunt from Cody Strong, McHugh was intentionally walked. Purdue tried for a safety squeeze with Wood at the plate but the bunt rolled foul. Pauly came back to strike out both Wood and Conner Hudnall to keep the game tied.
Hudnall did deliver with two outs and the bases loaded in the third inning, driving home a pair with a single through the right side. It was the Boilers’ first hit this season the bases loaded. Hayden Grant ignited the rally with a leadoff double but did not advance to third base until Wood was hit by a pitch with two outs.
Gavin Downs gave Purdue a quality start, keeping SIU off the scoreboard until the sixth inning. Two of the three runs he was charged with scored after leaving the game in the bottom of the seventh with two aboard and one out.
McHugh’s opposite-field home run to right center was his third of the season and 12th career. It came with two outs in the fifth inning, extending the Boilers’ lead to 3-0. Johnson’s long ball to left field was his second of the year and fourth as a Boilermaker. Both players have hit safely in each of the first seven games of spring break. But Johnson’s homer was Purdue’s last hit until Maniago doubled in the 15th. Dray, SIU’s closer, has not surrendered a hit over 8 1/3 innings of relief this season.
Casillas doubled in consecutive at-bats as the Salukis took the lead with four runs over the sixth and seventh innings. Purdue intentionally walked him in the ninth, but pitched to him with men aboard in the 11th, 13th and 15th innings. The first baseman nearly ended the game in the 11th, but Jack Amaro caught a fly ball at the wall in left field.
The rubber game of the three-game weekend series is set for 2 p.m. ET Sunday.