WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Purdue baseball had plenty of scoring opportunities but finished the night 0-for-10 with runners scoring position while stranding 11 men on base, falling to Ball State 2-0 Tuesday at Alexander Field.
The Boilermakers (15-13) were shut out for the third time this season. They had a base runner in each of the first seven innings, but stranded at least two runners in four straight frames from the bottom of the fourth through the seventh. Ten of the 11 men left on base were stranded in scoring position.
Over the last four games, Purdue is batting .065 (3-for-46) with runners in scoring position and is 0-for-7 with the bases loaded.
Ball State’s Noah Powell led off the sixth inning with a home run to left field. It was the only run Ryan Beard (1-2) allowed over six innings of four-hit ball. In his first two starts at Alexander Field, Beard has surrendered just two runs on six hits over 12 2 2/3 innings. Bo Hofstra retired all six batters he faced Tuesday and has now worked 7 1/3 innings of two-hit scoreless relief this year at Alexander.
The Cardinals (16-15) used five pitchers in the combined shutout. Cody Freed closed out the win with three innings of one-hit relief, retiring eight straight batters to finish the game. Freed also batted for the first time this season after Ball State lost the designated hitter when Chase Sebby moved from DH to catcher in the bottom of the seventh.
The Boilermakers cut down a pair of runners at the plate on failed squeeze bunts. The second of those plays came with Freed at the plate during a bizarre ninth inning in which the ball was not put in play.
The Cardinals scored their insurance run in the top of the ninth on a balk called on Trevor Cheaney in the midst of an intentional walk. A hit batter, walk and wild pitch gave Ball State runners on second and third with no outs. After Chaney struck out Ball State’s cleanup hitter and with Freed due up next, the Boilermakers chose to intentionally walk William Baker. But with a 3-0 count on Baker, Cheaney was called for the balk that allowed both runners to advance.
The out at the plate on the failed suicide squeeze coupled with another strikeout finally brought the unusual frame to a close.
Jacson McGowan (single, 2 walks) and Charlie Nasuti (3 walks) both reached base safely three times. Harry Shipley doubled and walked, reaching base safely at least twice for the 11th time in the last 12 games. He has a .500 on-base percentage during that stretch. With Shipley and Nasuti aboard and two outs in the fifth inning, the Cardinals intentionally walked McGowan. But Nick Floyd (4-0) responded by striking out Skyler Hunter to end the frame.
McGowan has reached base safely in 11 of his 16 plate appearances (.688 OBP) over the first four games at Alexander Field.
Evan Warden (third base) and Shipley (shortstop) both made fine diving stops to take hits away from Ball State.
The Boilermakers host Minnesota this weekend for their first home series of Big Ten play. Friday’s series opener is set 6 p.m. ET.
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