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Purdue rally falls short in 2-1 loss to Northwestern

After not having multiple base runners in the same frame all day, Purdue baseball loaded the bases with no outs and made it one-run game in the ninth inning, only to lose 2-1 at Northwestern on a game-ending double play Saturday.

Posted: Mar. 23, 2019 10:17 PM
Updated: Mar. 24, 2019 8:00 PM

EVANSTON, Ill. (Purdue Sports) — After not having multiple base runners in the same frame all day, Purdue baseball loaded the bases with no outs and made it one-run game in the ninth inning, only to lose 2-1 at Northwestern on a game-ending double play Saturday.

Cole McKenzie and Nick Evarts each singled with a runner in scoring position in the ninth inning, but both hits came on line drives that one hopped the right fielder. Skyler Hunter scored on Evarts' hit, but the Boilermakers (6-16, 1-1 B1G) stranded the tying run at third base as the game ended on a 6-3 double play.

Sunday's rubber game has been moved up to a 1 p.m. ET first pitch.

Trent Johnson struck out a career-high 10 over 4 1/3 innings of one-hit relief, recording the most Ks by a Purdue pitcher since Tanner Andrews fanned 10 in a St. Patrick's Day shutout at Santa Clara in 2017. The Boilermakers have 26 strikeouts in the series and 75 in the last seven games, posting a double-figure total six times during that stretch and on nine occasions in the last 14 contests.

Johnson fanned 10 of the 15 batters he faced, retiring the final nine batters he faced in order. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning by striking out NU's No. 3 hitter as the first batter he faced. The sophomore also struck out the 9-1-2 hitters in order with a man at third in the sixth inning.

Northwestern (6-12, 1-1 B1G) starter Hank Christie (1-2) pounded the strike zone over seven-plus shutout innings, throwing 70 of his 99 pitches for strikes. He struck out six and issued only one walk.

Purdue put is leadoff man aboard in three of the final four innings, but was unable to score until the ninth. The Boilermakers couldn't capitalize on Tyler Powers' leadoff double in the sixth inning and hit into another double play to erase Owen Jansen's single to open the top of the eighth.

Northwestern closer Nick Paciorek walked Hunter and Johnny Sage on a combined 10 pitches to begin the ninth inning. McKenzie worked the count full before hitting his line drive into right field to load the bases. In their final at-bats of the game, Hunter and McKenzie both extended their long reached base safely streaks. Hunter has been on base in 19 consecutive Big Ten games and McKenzie has reached safely in 16 consecutive games overall.

Paciorek won a full-count battle with Zac Fascia, striking out the Purdue catcher for the first out. Evarts' RBI single made it a one-run game, but Ryan Howe hit the first pitch of his at-bat to the shortstop for the game-ending twin killing.

The Wildcats scored both of their runs with two outs in the first inning. Howe was trying to help hold on a runner at second base when Shawn Goosenberg hit a hot shot through the vacated right side of the infield for an RBI double. Goosenberg scored when Powers threw wide of first base after double clutching on a slow chopper to third base.

The Boilermakers have been outscored 28-5 in the first inning this season.

Evarts reached base safely three times, drawing Purdue's only walk vs. Christie to go along with a pair of singles.

The Boilermakers will be playing a rubber game to close a series for the third weekend in a row.

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