May 26, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio -
Indiana Baseball (31-27) dropped into the Big Ten Tournament's losers' bracket on Friday, falling to #18 Purdue (43-12) in a 3-0 pitchers' duel. The Hoosiers now need to rip off three straight victories to win the conference tourney and advance to the NCAA Regionals. The IU run begins on Saturday at 3:35 pm versus Michigan State (37-20).
The top-seeded Boilermakers were led by starting pitcher Lance Breedlove and his 7.1 innings of shutout baseball. Reliever Blake Mascarello finished off the blanking by working the final 2.1 frames. Six different Hoosiers recorded a hit, but none were strung together close enough to plate a run.
Kyle Hart went toe-to-toe with Breedlove through the first four innings, carrying a scoreless game into the fifth. That is when his day came to an end just 4.1 innings into a three-hit outing. He was replaced by Jonny Hoffman with two on, one out. The All-Big Ten First Teamer did exactly what he was asked to, inducing the desired groundball to turn two. The double play didn't come to fruition though when Eric Charles sprinted down the line and beat out the relay throw. The Boilermakers scored one on IU's missed opportunity, and then another on a subsequent RBI-single into center.
Next was a match-up between the Big Ten's best relief pitcher and the Big Ten's best player, Kevin Plawecki. Hoffman won the battle of the B1G's best, retiring Plawecki and keeping Indiana within striking distance at 2-0.
For the second time in as many games, the Hoosiers entered the eighth inning in a two-run hole. After scoring four in Thursday's contest, Indiana started another eighth-inning rally on Friday.
Will Nolden, who may have made the defensive play of the season earlier in the ball game to preserve a 0-0 tie, delivered again with a one-out single. Trace Knoblauch kept it coming in the next at-bat, pulling a pinch-hit single through the infield. The bases became jammed full of Hoosiers three pitches later when Justin Cureton roped an 0-2 offering down the line, ricocheting off the glove of the diving third baseman. A check swing from Kyle Schwarber found his bat and a slow roller out to the shortstop had double play written all over it. Schwarber motored down the line, however, not only beating the throw but also watching the Boiler first baseman drop the ball. The hustle had pulled IU within one run with Freshman of the Year Sam Travis due up. The score came off the board though when runner's interference was called on Cureton's slide into second; resulting in Schwarber being ruled out and a shocked, angry Hoosier contingency in the stands.
Purdue's two big guns, Cameron Perkins and Plawecki, combined for an insurance run in the home half of the eighth. Dillon Dooney
drew a walk and Michael Basil
, Thursday's hero, drilled a two-out single in the top of the ninth. They were both stranded as Purdue concluded the 3-0 win.
If Indiana defeats Michigan State on Saturday, IU will get another crack at the Boilers in a 7:05 pm nightcap.