THIBODAUX, La. (Purdue Sports) — With runs still tough to come by for Purdue baseball, an early 3-0 deficit proved fatal for the Boilermakers in a 4-2 loss at Nicholls State on Wednesday in game No. 5 of the spring break trip.
Purdue (9-6) has conceded five first-inning runs during its current three-game losing streak, a big reason why it has not held the lead at any point during the skid. The Boilermakers have dropped five of their last six dating back to March 4.
Purdue had the tying on first base after a pinch-hit RBI single from Evan Kennedy in the ninth inning. But Nicholls State (5-12) retired Harry Shipley and Evan Warden to close out the win.
Ryan Beard hit a batter with the first pitch that he threw. It proved to be a bad omen as the left-hander plunked five of the first 19 batters that he faced. While only that first hit batsman ended up scoring, the free passes led to Beard facing 26 batters over five innings of four-run ball.
The first seven batters to come to the plate for the Colonels in their three-run first inning put together a productive plate appearance. Beard was unable to get an out on the first of back-to-back sacrifice bunts. The additional out allowed led Nicholls to score its second run on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. The first run of the game scored on a wild pitch and cleanup hitter Gage Teer also delivered an RBI double off the wall in right center.
The Boilermakers had a lot more opportunities to score runs than they did in Tuesday's 4-0 loss at Southeastern Louisiana. Purdue's leadoff man reached base safely in three of the first five innings. Nick Dalesandro was also robbed of a leadoff double in the ninth inning by a diving catch in right center by Dane Simon. It proved to be a big out after the next three Boilermakers reached base safely.
Ben Nisle singled twice and drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second. His leadoff single in the fifth inning led to Purdue's first run on an RBI ground out from Shipley. But the Colonels got the run back in the bottom of the frame after their first four hitters reached base safely. Teer scored from first base on an opposite-field double from Kyle Knauth.
Purdue relievers Bo Hofstra and Ross Learned teamed up to retire eight of the nine batters they faced. Dalesandro doubled off a runner at first base from short left field to erase a leadoff walk in the seventh inning.
Bryce Bonner walked after both of Nisle's singles. In the ninth, he drew the only walk issued by Nicholls' Cayden Hatcher in 23 1/3 innings pitched this season. Skyler Hunter also reached base safely twice with a pair of singles. Nisle and Hunter both have a team-high seven hits on the spring break trip.
The Boilermakers fly to St. Louis on Thursday and begin a three-game series against the Saint Louis Billikens on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. Since March 2016, the teams have played four times in three different cities -- Lawrence, Kansas, West Lafayette, Indiana, and San Antonio, Texas. Purdue will be making its first visit to the Gateway to the West since the 2006 spring break trip.