Purdue tops Northwestern 9-7, takes Big Ten opening series

Purdue opens Big Ten play with first series victory in Evanston since 2012.

Posted: Mar. 24, 2019 8:50 PM

EVANSTON, Ill. (Purdue Sports) — With a leadoff man aboard eight times and multiple base runners in every frame, Purdue baseball scored in six different innings to win a back-and-forth rubber game at Northwestern 9-7 Sunday.

The Boilermakers (7-16, 2-1 B1G) overcame deficits of 3-1 and 7-6, winning despite stranding 15 runners on base. The Wildcats (6-13, 1-2 B1G) scored all seven of their runs on two-out homers, a three-run shot in the first inning and grand slam in the bottom of the sixth.

Five different Purdue players reached base safely at least three times, including Cole McKenzie and Zac Fascia earning their way on base five times apiece. They batted 3-4 in the lineup again Sunday. Northwestern recorded only two outs against them in a combined 12 plate appearances. Overall, the Boilermakers drew 15 free passes (10 walks, 5 hit by pitch).

Fascia's double was the big hit of the two-run eighth inning that gave Purdue the lead back. McKenzie scored the tying run on an error by the NU shortstop. Nick Evarts was credited with his fourth RBI on the play. Ryan Howe came through with a sacrifice fly to center field moments later to plate Fascia as the go-ahead run.

SUNDAY NOTABLES
• The Boilermakers posted their first series win in Evanston since 2012.
• Purdue has won its first series of Big Ten play in consecutive years for the first time since 1994 and 1995.
• With Sunday wins vs. NJIT and Northwestern this month, the Boilermakers' already have two rubber game victories this season. They had not won multiple rubber games in the same year since 2015 and same month since April 2011.
• Evan Albrecht (.667 OBP), Nick Evarts (.643) and Cole McKenzie (.533) all reached base safely at least eight times in the series. Tyler Powers, Evarts and McKenzie hit safely in all three games of the series.
• Skyler Hunter (3-for-6) recorded hits from both sides of the plate for the third time in the last six and 16th time in his Purdue career. Hunter also extended his reached base safely streak in Big Ten play to 20 consecutive games.
• Evarts' career-high four RBI were also the most by a Boilermaker this season.
• McKenzie extended his reached base safely streak to 17 consecutive games.

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