WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Purdue baseball scored five times in an inning for the second day in a row and overcame the 11 free passes it issued on the mound, defeating Northwestern 9-2 Sunday to complete a third consecutive Big Ten series sweep.
The Boilermakers (27-16, 13-4 B1G) won their 11th straight game, registering the team's longest win streak since 2001. It's also tied for the fourth longest streak in program history. Purdue and Rhode Island have both won 11 consecutive games to share the top spot nationally for active win streaks.
The Boilermakers clinched a Big Ten Tournament berth Sunday. They've won nine straight in conference play via the three consecutive sweeps against Maryland, Rutgers and Northwestern. Purdue remained one game behind league leaders Minnesota and Michigan in the standings. Next weekend, the Boilermakers travel to Ohio State, the Gophers host Michigan State and the Wolverines host Illinois.
Ben Nisle drove in a run in all three of his plate appearances. The freshman recorded a bases-loaded walk, sacrifice fly and two-out RBI single. Nick Dalesandro and Skyler Hunter both registered a pair of hits and scored a combined five runs.
Purdue's first seven batters of the game reached base safely, leading to its sixth five-run inning of the season. Three of those have come during the 11-game win streak.
However, the Boilermakers were one pitch away from trailing entering the bottom of the first. Trent Johnson walked the bases loaded with two outs and was down in the count 3-0 against Charlie Maxwell. But he came back to retire Maxwell on a foul pop up. Northwestern (14-28, 4-17 B1G) left the bases loaded three times Sunday while stranding 12 men on base.
Ryan Beard (3-3) worked 4 1/3 innings of two-hit relief in to earn the victory after taking over for Johnson with two outs in the fourth inning. The Purdue bullpen pitched 13 2/3 innings of three-run ball in the series. Two of those three runs were scored in the ninth inning after the Boilermakers led by at least five runs.
• Purdue's nine-game win streak in Big Ten play is one shy of the program record established in 2001 as part of a 13-game overall win streak, also a team record.
• By winning the first eight games of their season-long homestand, the Boilermakers are riding their longest single-season home win streak since March 1989.
• Purdue swept Northwestern at home in a series of at least three games for the first time ever. Entering the weekend, the Wildcats had won six of the last eight meetings in West Lafayette dating back to April 2010.
• Hunter extended his hit streak in Big Ten play to 11 consecutive games. He has also reached base safely in 11 straight games overall. He drove in a run and scored a run in all three games vs. NU, finishing the weekend with a team-high seven RBI.
• Harry Shipley reached base safely for the 21st straight game, extending his career-long streak. He has been on base in 17 consecutive games at Alexander Field dating back to the end of 2017.
• Dalesandro extended his reached base safely streak to 14 straight games. He has also hit safely in eight consecutive games. The catcher stole five bases in the series and threw out a pair of base stealers Sunday. For the season, Dalesandro has a team-high 19 stolen bases while also cutting down 18 base stealers.
• Jacson McGowan drew a walk for the ninth straight game and reached base safely for the 14th game in a row.
• Alec Olund and Evan Warden hit safely and drove in a run in all three games of the sweep. Dalesandro and Shipley hit safely and scored a run in every game.
Purdue pitchers issued seven walks and also hit four batters Sunday. Johnson conceded just one hit but walked five over 3 2/3 innings. The freshman did retire six consecutive batters from the second through fourth innings. Beard also retired six straight at one point and did not surrender a hit until the 12th batter he faced.
Dalesandro and Hunter connected for consecutive doubles in the second inning. McGowan and Nisle delivered back-to-back RBI singles with two outs in the fourth inning.
The Boilermakers close out their nine-game homestand Tuesday, resuming midweek play with a 6 p.m. ET game vs. Fort Wayne.