WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – Purdue baseball had its chances late in the game to record what would have been its marquee win of the season against No. 10 Louisville, but it was the Cardinals that finally cashed in on a scoring chance in the 10th inning to take the game, 3-1, Tuesday afternoon at Alexander Field.
The Cardinals (24-8) went ahead in the top of the 10th on an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Will Smith. The Boilermakers (6-22) were unable to complete what would have been an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play with runners on the corners and one out.
Relief pitchers for both teams escaped numerous jams late in the game as the teams combined to leave 23 runners on base. Purdue left the bases loaded in the eighth and men on first and second in the ninth.
The Boilermakers fell to 0-3 in extra-inning games this season and have now lost five straight extended affairs dating back to the final weekend of the 2013 campaign. Tuesday marked the second straight Purdue-Louisville game in West Lafayette that was decided in 10 innings. After beating Memphis in extra innings Sunday, the Cardinals played in consecutive extra-inning games for the first time since 2009.
Kyle Wood connected for a solo home run into the right field bullpen on the first pitch of the bottom of the second. It was his second long ball of the season and seventh as a Boilermaker. Wood accounted for the first homer by a Purdue player at Alexander Field this season.
Making his sixth appearance in the last 10 games, Matt Gibbs helped the Boilers get the game to extra innings by stranding a pair of runners in both the seventh and eighth innings. He was able to keep the game tied after Louisville had runners on second and third with one out in the top of the eighth.
Purdue used seven pitchers in the game. Starter Gavin Downs bounced back from a rough outing Saturday against Penn State with three scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit, pitching over a leadoff double in the top of the second.
Louisville starter Josh Rogers struck out a season-high six over six innings of three-hit ball.
Sean McHugh and Wood each had a pair of hits to extend their reached base safely streaks. McHugh’s now stands at 18 consecutive games while Wood’s run reached 14 straight games. Brandon Krieg reached on an error to begin the game but finished the day 0-for-5, ending his career-best hitting streak at 12 consecutive games.
McHugh doubled with two outs in the bottom of the eighth after right fielder Colin Lyman misplayed a base hit while trying to make a diving catch. Center fielder Cole Sturgeon (2-0) took the mound and walked Kyle Johnson and Wood to load the bases. But Sturgeon got Cody Strong to ground out to second base to end the inning.
An inning later, Sturgeon walked Matthew McHugh and threw the ball into center field on a comebacker off the bat of Steve Maniago. But the lefty came back to strike out Krieg and Jeff Evak to end the threat.
Louisville tied the game in the top of the sixth on a two-out single from Lyman. Jeff Gardner drew a walk against Tim McElroy and took second on a wild pitch by Matt Frawley.
Zach Lucas’ hustle double with one out in the 10th inning led to the go-ahead run. A ground ball through the left side glanced off the glove of Krieg as he made a diving attempt to keep the ball in the infield. The ball rolled into no man’s land and Evak wasn’t able to get there in time before Lucas could take second. An infield hit from Mike White followed, giving the Cardinals runners on the corners.
Right fielder Jack Amaro threw out a runner at third to finally end the top of the 10th, the play coming on a two-out RBI single from Alex Chittenden.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday when they open a three-game series at Michigan State, visiting East Lansing for the second year in a row and third time in the last four seasons.