TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Trevor Cheaney and Ross Learnard both struck out the side in a frame while teaming up to retire 14 of the final 16 batters, helping guide Purdue baseball to a 3-1 victory in 10 innings at Indiana State on Tuesday.
Charlie Nasuti’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly on a full-count pitch plated Nick Dalesandro as the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th. The Boilermakers (16-15) snapped a five-game losing skid, won in Terre Haute for the third time in four years and won a true road game in extra innings for the first time since April 2014 at Michigan State.
It was a big bounce back night for the Purdue pitching staff. After surrendering 40 runs on 39 hits in two losses to Minnesota this past weekend, the Boilermakers gave up just three hits Tuesday. Trent Johnson (3 IP, 0 H), Patrick J. Smith (2 IP, 1 H), Cheaney (2 1/3 IP, 1 H) and Learnard (2 1/3 IP, 0 H) all worked at least two scoreless innings in the win.
Cheaney and Learnard both retired seven of the eight batters they faced. Cheaney struck out the side in order in the in the seventh inning and also fanned the leadoff man of the following frame. Leanard (2-1) struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th to close out the win.
Dating back to the March 28 win vs. Valparaiso, Learnard has recorded 10 of his 12 outs via Ks in the final inning of the last four Purdue victories he has closed out. The senior has worked 15 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to Feb. 25 and lowered his career ERA as a Boilermaker to 0.70 over 64 innings.
Johnson is still in line to start Sunday’s series finale at Maryland. He took the ball Tuesday after the series finale with Minnesota was rained out. The freshman has surrendered only 14 hits in 24 innings this season, good for a .173 batting average against.
The Boilermakers loaded the bases to begin the game, but could only cash in for one run on an infield single by Jacson McGowan. He recorded his team-leading 38th RBI and was walked in three of his next four plate appearances. McGowan was intentionally walked with second base open in the 10th.
Dalesandro was thrown out at the plate trying to tag up on a line drive to center field in the first inning. Nine innings later, Dalesandro was able to score on Nasuti’s fly ball to center after Luke Fegen’s throw was up the third base line. It was Nasuti’s first at-bat of the night and he did a nice job of working the count full against ISU closer Ethan Larrison (1-3).
Purdue’s insurance run in the 10th inning scored in unconventional fashion moments later. Larrison thought time had been called when he threw the ball into the ISU dugout while asking for a new baseball. Instead, the umpires ruled time had not been granted and both base runners still aboard were awarded two extra bases. Skyler Hunter came home from second base.
Hunter accounted for the Boilermakers’ top defensive play of the night, a diving catch in left center for the second out of the third inning. Dalesandro later picked off a runner at second base for the final out of that frame. He also threw out his 14th base stealer of the season Tuesday.
Purdue and Indiana State (17-14) are scheduled to play again Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Alexander Field in West Lafayette.