WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Nick Dalesandro used his legs to create the lone run of the day in the first inning and the Purdue pitching staff posted its second shutout of the series, leading the Boilermakers to a 1-0 win vs. Rutgers on Sunday to complete a weekend sweep.
The Boilermakers (24-16, 10-4 B1G) have won eight straight games, the program's longest streak since winning 10 consecutive games in April 2012. Purdue did not trail this week while winning the first five games of their season-long nine-game homestand.
The Boilermakers have surged into third place in the Big Ten standings thanks to a six-game win streak in conference play. Purdue has swept Big Ten series against Penn State, Maryland and Rutgers, marking the first time in program history it has posted three sweeps of at least three games in league play. The Boilermakers' last set of consecutive sweeps came in April 2012 during a seven-game Big Ten win streak.
Trent Johnson (2-1) matched his season high with six strikeouts over five-plus innings in his Alexander Field debut. Bo Hofstra, Trevor Cheaney and Ross Learnard teamed up to finish off the shutout with four innings of one-hit relief. Hofstra struck out three of the first four batters he faced, Cheaney put together his sixth consecutive scoreless appearance and Learnard earned his eighth save while working a 1-2-3 top of the ninth. It extended the senior's consecutive scoreless innings streak to 21 2/3.
Dalesandro recorded the game's first hit with a one-out single in the bottom of the first. He stole second and took third when the throw sailed into center field. That was an important additional 90 feet because Dalesandro was able to score on a comebacker off the bat of Skyler Hunter. He held his ground at third initially, but broke for home when pitcher Karl Blum (0-3) threw to first base to retire Hunter. Dalesandro didn't even need to slide to beat first baseman Chris Folinusz's throw to the plate.
• Purdue did not trail in a series for the second time under head coach Mark Wasikowski, also accomplishing the feat in last year's home sweep of Illinois. That was another series in which it conceded just four runs, as was the case this weekend. By scoring in the bottom of the first both Saturday and Sunday vs. Rutgers, the Boilermakers have held the lead for 26 consecutive innings dating back to the second inning of Friday's win.
• Purdue has not trailed for 48 consecutive innings dating back to the end of the seventh inning of the April 22 win at Maryland. During last year's seven-game win streak, the Boilermakers did not trail for 57 consecutive innings.
• Purdue defeated Rutgers 4-0 Friday and 1-0 Sunday. It marked the first time since May 1992 vs. Indiana that the Boilermakers posted a pair of shutouts in the same Big Ten series. Overall, Purdue accomplished the feat for the first time since shutting out Cal State Northridge three times in a series at Alexander Field in May 2016.
• The Boilermakers won game 2 of the that CSUN series in 1-0 fashion, the program's last such win prior to Sunday.
• Purdue turned 10 double plays in its five games this week. Seven were of the ground ball variety. Shortstop Harry Shipley contributed to nine of the 10 twin killings. Entering the week, the Boilermakers had turned 28 double plays in 35 games.
• Dalesandro singled and walked Sunday, finishing the weekend having reached base safely in nine of his 13 plate appearances. He has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games.
• Shipley's 12-game hitting streak in Big Ten play came to an end, but he drew a walk in fifth inning to extend his career-long reached base safely streak to 18 consecutive games overall. Shipley played flawless defense at shortstop this week, leading the way as the Boilermakers committed just three errors (.984 fielding percentage).
• Jacson McGowan came to the plate with the bases empty in each of his first three at-bats so Rutgers finally pitched to him, retiring the big cleanup hitter three times. McGowan did draw a walk in his final plate appearance to finish the weekend with seven free passes (6 walks, 1 HBP). He has reached base safely in 11 straight games, but his unique run of reaching safely at least twice in 10 consecutive games came to an end. Purdue won for only the fourth time in 14 games when McGowan did not record an RBI this season. However, three of those wins have come during the current win streak.
Johnson worked a pair of 1-2-3 innings while matching his longest outing of the season. He went out for the sixth inning, but after a leadoff walk to begin his third time through the lineup coupled with a wild pitch on his first offering to the next hitter, Purdue quickly went to the bullpen. It proved to be the right move as Hofstra struck out Rutgers' No. 2 and 3 hitters while stranding the tying run at second base.
Johnson worked a pair of 1-2-3 innings and faced only three batters in the top of the fifth thanks to an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. The only hits the freshman allowed came consecutively with one in the second inning. He came back to retire the next two batters.
Alec Olund and Milo Beam both made fine catches in foul territory. Olund ran a long way to snare a foul pop off the bat of the cleanup hitter to end the sixth inning. Beam made a sliding catch deep in the left field corner to begin the top of the ninth.
Ben Nisle accounted for two of Purdue's four hits and was also hit by a pitch.
The Boilermakers are idle this week for final exams on campus. Their nine-game homestand resumes Friday with the opener of a weekend series vs. Northwestern. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. ET.