EAST LANSING, Mich. (Purdue Sports) – Michael Mullen drove in the go-ahead run with a two-out single in the 11th inning and Purdue baseball turned three inning-ending double plays to outlast Michigan State, 5-3, in the opener of a three-game Big Ten series Friday afternoon.
The Boilermakers (7-22, 3-4 Big Ten) snapped a five-game losing streak in extra-inning affairs dating back to May of last season. It was Purdue’s first extra-inning win since March 2013 at Penn State.
The teams are now scheduled to play a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. to wrap up the series. The forecast for Sunday called for rain showers from much of the day.
Steve Maniago played a great overall game, connecting for his first collegiate home run en route to a three-hit effort. He scored the go-ahead run on Mullen’s go-ahead single in the 11th and also contributed to two of the three double plays. The third baseman made a running catch in foul territory for the final out of the game.
Matt Gibbs (1-0) worked three scoreless innings of relief for his first win as a Boilermaker. After inducing an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play with two men on in the bottom of the 10th, the right-hander worked a 1-2-3 frame in the 11th to close out the win. Mullen made a nice turn at second base on the 5-4-3 twin killing in what was his first inning of the day at second base.
Thirty-two players saw action in the game, including 17 for Purdue. Brandon Krieg delivered a two-out, two-run single to give the Boilers an early 2-0 lead. Maniago went deep to right field in the top of the fourth. Michigan State’s Jimmy Pickens hit a game-tying two-run homer to right field in the third inning.
Jordan Minch worked 7 1/3 innings of three-run ball, striking out five and issuing just one walk. He has pitched into the eighth inning in each of his first three Big Ten starts this season. The left-hander induced an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Big Ten steals leader Anthony Cheky with the bases loaded and Purdue up 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh.
The Boilermakers recorded season-high totals for hits (15) and strikeouts (14). The strikeout total was the team’s most since an April 2009 win at Penn State. Michigan State (18-13, 3-4 Big Ten) starter Mick VanVossen struck out 10 over seven innings, posting his second consecutive double-figure strikeout total. Maniago’s home run was only the second allowed by the right-hander in 60 innings this season.
Gibbs has now pitched 9 1/3 scoreless innings over his last three appearances, surrendering only four hits during that span. Kyle Wood had two singles Friday to extend his reached safely streak to 15 consecutive games. Sean McHugh’s reached safely streak ended at 18.
Singles by Matthew McHugh and Maniago gave Purdue runners on the corners with one in the top of the 11th inning. Pinch runner Patrick Kenney, normally a relief pitcher, went first to third on Maniago’s base hit through the right side. Kenney was cut down between third and home on a comebacker off the bat of Krieg for the second out. But Mullen singled through the left side on the first pitch of the game he saw for the go-ahead RBI. Krieg scored an insurance run when new MSU third baseman Dan Durkin let a grounder off the bat of Sean McHugh roll between his legs into left field.
Gibbs got the game into extra innings by leaving runners on second and third in the bottom of the ninth inning. A leadoff single, sac bunt & walk to Durkin as a pinch hitter put the winning run in scoring position with the top of the order coming up. Gibbs retired Cheky on a comebacker for the second out. Chase Toth had replaced MSU RBI leader Blaise Salter as a pinch runner in the bottom of eighth. So Gibbs faced Toth instead of Salter with the game on the line. Toth tried to drag bunt but popped up out on the first pitch.
Joe Eichmann and Tim McElroy each got a big out in the eighth inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Eichmann got Joel Fisher to fly out to center field. The game-tying run scored on the sacrifice fly, marking only the fourth of 27 inherited runners that Eichmann has allowed to score this year. McElroy won his lefty-lefty matchup with Ryan Krill to end the inning.
Maniago turned a line drive to third base into a double play to end the bottom of the fourth inning, tagging out the runner on third.
Saturday’s doubleheader is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch. Purdue is 1-5 in doubleheader action this season.