UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (Purdue Sports) — The Boilermakers raced out to an early three-run lead and Tanner Andrews made it stand up with 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball, leading Purdue baseball to a 3-2 win Friday at Penn State to begin Big Ten Conference play.
The Boilermakers (12-10, 1-0 B1G) opened league play with a victory for the fourth time in the last five years and sixth time this decade. The series will conclude Saturday with a 1 p.m. ET doubleheader.
Ross Learnard struck out the No. 1 and 2 hitters in the PSU lineup with the tying run on second base to close out the win, earning his second save of the week and third of the season. The Nittany Lions (7-13, 1-3 B1G) put their leadoff man aboard in each of the final three innings, but were only able to score twice.
Andrews (3-3) and Bo Hofstra were both able to escape bases-loaded jams without runs scoring. Andrews pitched over a leadoff single and a pair of walks in the first inning, recording two of his four strikeouts in the frame. He went on to retire 10 consecutive batters through the top of the fourth. The senior has now worked 13 1/3 innings of one-run ball over two appearances at PSU's Medlar Field.
Hofstra entered the game with Purdue up 3-1 and two men aboard in the seventh inning. Tyler Powers made an excellent diving stop behind the second base bag to prevent a run from scoring on what turned into an infield single by Connor Klemann. Hofstra responded with a strikeout and ground out to keep the Boilermakers in front by two runs.
The Purdue bullpen's streak of 12 consecutive scoreless innings came to an end in an unusual way in the bottom of the eighth. Alec Olund made a strong throw to the plate after catching a fly ball to right field. Catcher Nick Dalesandro tagged out Mason Nadeau as he slid in, but the home plate umpire ruled that Dalesandro illegally blocked the plate and awarded PSU the run on the sacrifice fly. Trevor Cheaney struck out the next batter to finish the frame.
Three singles and a sacrifice bunt helped lead to a pair of Purdue runs in the third inning, extending the lead to 3-0. Powers led off with the first of his two hits, scoring on an RBI single from Dalesandro. With Skyler Hunter and Dalesandro on the corners, Jacson McGowan hit a tailor-made double play ball to third base. Dalesandro was forced out at second, but Hunter was able to score from third when Curtis Robison dropped the throw to first base. An RBI was not credited when it was ruled an error at first on the back end of the attempted double play turn.
McGowan did record his team-high 27th RBI of the season in the first inning with a sac fly to right field. Harry Shipley scored after reaching on a game-opening error and stealing both second and third.
Neither team had a runner advance past first base from the fourth through sixth innings. Penn State starter Justin Hagenman (2-3) retired nine in a row after Hunter scored on the failed double play turn in the top of the third. He struck out nine over seven innings.
Of the 17 strikeouts in the game, 10 were via a called third strike.
Saturday's 1 p.m. doubleheader will be Purdue's fifth twinbill over the first seven weekends of the season. The Boilermakers are 5-3 in doubleheader action this year.