WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Gopher Baseball team returned to Purdue’s Alexander Field for the second-straight week after “hosting” a three-game series against Penn State in West Lafayette last weekend, and Minnesota thanked the Boilermakers for their hospitality with a 22-7 victory in the series opener on Friday evening.
Minnesota (22-10, 6-1 Big Ten) scored three runs before the first out of the ballgame, taking advantage of a pair of Boilermaker errors in the top of the first. Luke Pettersen led off the game with a double, Jack Wassel worked a bases-loaded walk, Cole McDevitt a single, and Alex Boxwell a sacrifice fly each to drive in a run for the Gophers. Purdue (15-14, 4-3 Big Ten) had an answer in the bottom of the inning when Skyler Hunter tripled down the right field line to score Harry Shipley, coming in to score himself on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jacson McGowan. The Boilermakers pulled within two when Ben Nisle scraped a two-run home run over the wall in left, just out of reach of the leaping Jordan Kozicky.
Purdue hit three singles in the third, taking a 6-5 lead and chasing Reggie Meyer after 2.1 innings of work, allowing six earned on seven hits. Brett Schulze (7-0) came in to get the Gophers out of the inning, and the Maroon & Gold promptly tied the game in the top of the fourth. Ben Mezzenga led off the inning with a bunt single, moving to third on a wild pitch and a fielder’s choice before coming in to score on a solid single by Micah Coffey. That ended the day for Purdue starter Tanner Andrews, who gave up six hits and five walks while surrendering six runs, including three earned.
The Gophers regained the lead in the top of the fifth. After back-to-back doubles by Boxwell and Jordan Kozicky, Minnesota loaded the bases. Coffey ripped a triple to the gap in right center to make the lead 10-6. The Gophers were not done there, as they piled on seven runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by a two-run double off the bat of Wassel, and scored two more in the seventh on an inside-the-park home run off the bat of Eli Wilson. The centerfielder tried to make a diving play but could not come up with it as the ball rolled to the wall allowing Wilson to come all the way around.
Schulze worked 4.2 innings, striking out four while allowing just one run on a home run, scattering a pair of hits. Bo Hofstra (1-3) drew the loss out of the bullpen for the Boilermakers, allowing three runs on three hits in just 0.1 inning.
No NCAA pitcher entered the weekend with more than seven pitching wins, a feat Brett Schulze matched with his victory on Friday … with its five-run first inning and seven-run sixth inning, Minnesota has now scored at least five runs in an inning on eight different occasions this season … Wilson’s inside-the-park home run was the first for the Gophers since Bobby Juan against Michigan back on March 30, 2012.
The series continues Saturday afternoon as Minnesota and Purdue meet at 2 p.m. ET at Alexander Field.
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