WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Harry Shipley's inside the park home run tied the game and Purdue baseball went on to score five times in the ninth inning to rally for a 10-8 victory at Ball State on Wednesday, extending the nation's longest active win streak to 13.
The Boilermakers (29-16) have matched the longest single-season win streak in program history. Purdue's 1993 and 2001 teams also won 13 consecutive games.
Eight of the nine Boilermakers to bat in the ninth inning reached base safely as they turned an 8-5 deficit into a two-run lead. Purdue has scored four-plus runs in an inning seven times in the last four games.
Evan Warden and Owen Jansen were aboard when Shipley hit a sinking line drive to center field. The ball got past a diving Colin Brockhouse and rolled to the wall. The three-run homer was Purdue's first of the inside the park variety since Jeff Evak rounded the bases vs. Ohio State in April 2014 at Alexander Field.
Ben Nisle delivered a go-ahead two-run single later in the ninth inning after a single by Nick Dalesandro restarted the rally. The Boilermakers scored five runs in the top of the ninth to rally to win for the second time this season.
Ross Learnard struck out Ball State's No. 3, 4 and 6 hitters in the bottom of the frame to close out the victory. He earned his 11th save of the season while recording the final out for the ninth time during Purdue's 13-game win streak. With 15 career saves, the senior has moved into a three-way tie for second place in program history. Learnard extended his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 24 1/3.
The Boilermakers committed three errors for the first time since an April 7 loss at Indiana. Two of those miscues came in the fifth inning as Ball State (26-22) surged in front 5-3 with a three-run rally. Purdue made it a one-run game twice after that, but home runs in the sixth and eighth innings allowed the home team to extend their lead.
Nick Evarts led off the fourth and sixth innings with hits, scoring twice. Warden singled him home in the top of the sixth. Warden's leadoff single in the ninth later ignited the game-winning rally.
Dalesandro hit an opposite-field home run to right center to make it a one-run game in the seventh inning. It was his second homer of the season and first since Feb. 25 vs. Notre Dame, the other game this year that Purdue scored five in the ninth to win.
The six through nine portion of the Cardinals' lineup scored all eight of their runs. Justin Kirkpatrick and John Ricotta both hit two-run homers.
Trent Johnson, Bo Hofstra and Dalton Parker each worked a 1-2-3 inning or the equivalent. Johnson faced only nine batters in what was a planned abbreviated start. The only hit he surrendered was the home run to Kirkpatrick in the third inning. Although he has not been asked to go deep since moving from the bullpen to rotation in March, Johnson has nevertheless conceded two hits or fewer in seven of his nine starts.
The Boilermakers return to action Friday when they open a three-game Big Ten series at Ohio State. First pitch in Columbus is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
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