WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – Iowa scored three times in a trio of innings including the top of the first, defeating Purdue baseball, 10-3, Thursday evening to clinch a Big Ten Tournament berth while eliminating the Boilermakers from tourney contention.
Purdue (12-36, 5-17 Big Ten) dropped its seventh consecutive game overall, ninth straight in Big Ten play and sixth straight to Iowa dating back to May 2012. The Hawkeyes (28-20, 9-13 Big Ten) clinched their first Big Ten Tournament berth since 2010.
The Boilermakers had at least one base runner in every inning but grounded into three double plays and left 10 men on base. Nick Hibbing (3-3) and Jared Mandel teamed up for seven innings of one-run relief after starter Black Hickman struggled with his command over two-plus innings of two-run ball.
After giving up three runs on four hits in the first inning, Purdue starter Jordan Minch (1-7) bounced back with consecutive 1-2-3 frames. The Boilermakers scored a single run in the first and third innings to make it a one-run game. But a leadoff walk and RBI double for Iowa in the top of the fourth ignited another three-run rally. Minch had to leave the game with two outs in the inning after taking a hot shot off his shin.
Mandel entered the game after Conner Hudnall’s RBI double plated Kyle Wood to cut the Hawkeyes’ lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth. The lefty retired 11 of the 16 batters he faced while closing out the game, striking out the side in the seventh around consecutive one-out singles en route to finishing the night with six Ks.
Brandon Krieg singled four times to post his third career four-hit effort. He also walked, stole a pair of bases and scored twice. The shortstop has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games. Hudnall and Wood each had a pair of hits, including an RBI double. Jack Picchiotti walked and singled to reach base safely for the 17th consecutive game in which he has started.
Iowa’s 3-4-5 hitters – Tyler Peyton, Jake Yacinich and Dan Potempa – were a combined 6-for-15 with six RBI, all three hitters driving in a pair of runs. Potempa’s two-run double over Kyle Johnson’s head in center field was the big hit of the three-run top of the first.
Purdue’s first batter reached base safely in each of the three innings that Hickman started. The right-hander threw only 25 strikes among the 49 pitches he delivered, but aggressive Boilermaker batters made four outs on fly balls and Steve Maniago grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play with runners on first and second base following a four-pitch walk in the bottom of the second.
Sean McHugh singled to load the bases with no outs in Purdue’s first at-bat against Hibbing in the bottom of the third. Wood hit into another 4-6-3 twin killing, as the Hawkeyes minimized the damaged and maintained the lead.
Meanwhile, the left side of the Purdue infield was unable to record outs for Minch on ground balls early in Iowa’s three-run first inning. Leadoff man Eric Toole beat out a standard grounder to Krieg at shortstop to begin the game. With runners on the corners and one out, Maniago was unable to get an out on a chopper near the third base bag that went for another infield hit.
Three straight two-out singles in the top of the fourth for Iowa turned another frame into an extended rally in which eight Hawkeyes came to the plate.
Matt Gibbs struck out Yacinich to end the fourth with runners on first and second base. The right-hander put up zeroes in the fifth and sixth innings to keep Purdue in it before Iowa blew the game open in the top of the eighth.
Game two of the series is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday.