WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (PurdueSports) — Purdue baseball gave up a run five times over six innings in the middle of the game and suffered a damaging rubber-game loss at the hands of Michigan State 7-4 Sunday at Alexander Field.
There was a combined 23 runners left on base in the back-and-forth affair, which also featured nine walks, nine wild pitches, three errors and a two-out RBI bloop single that could have been caught in the seventh inning. That play occurred with the score 4-3 and helped the Spartans pull away.
The Boilermakers (18-28, 7-10 B1G) dropped to 3-4 in rubber games this season, including 1-3 in Big Ten play. For the 19th time this decade, they lost a weekend series after winning the opening game. Fifteen of those frustrating series have been Big Ten weekends.
Had Purdue won Sunday, it would have moved into a three-way tie for seventh place in the Big Ten standings with two weekends to go. Instead, the Boilermakers will likely need to win each of their final two series (at Illinois, vs. Ohio State) to have a chance to qualify for the eight-team Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan State (16-29, 5-12 B1G) won its third series in the last five weekends, but also claimed its first series victory on the road since sweeping Northwestern in Evanston in April 2018.
Purdue scored three of its four runs on wild pitches, including two on consecutive pitches with two outs in the fourth inning. That allowed the Boilermakers to tie the game at 3-3. But MSU retook the lead on another bases-loaded walk in the following frame. The Spartans’ bullpen worked 5 1/3 innings one-run ball, surrendering just four singles.
Michigan State scored four times with two outs. Bailey Peterson’s RBI bloop single in the seventh inning dropped in between second baseman Tyler Powers and right fielder Cole McKenzie. That two-out hit extended the visitors’ lead to 5-3. Another run scored moments later when a ground ball went through the legs of shortstop Evan Albrecht.
Peterson also drew the two-out, bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning that forced home the go-ahead run. Batting in the eight-hole, he finished the day 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBI.
The first six Spartans to bat in the third inning put together a productive plate appearance. Purdue starter Patrick J. Smith had retired six of the first seven batters he faced entering the frame. Smith erased Peterson’s leadoff single by picking him off at first base, or it could have been a three-run frame. After a walk and consecutive singles loaded the bases, a four-pitch walk forced in a run. A successful squeeze bunt followed.
Dalton Parker (0-3) struck out MSU’s 2-3-4 hitters consecutively over the fourth and fifth innings, but was unable to get the final out of the top of the fifth. The bases-loaded walk to Peterson gave the visitors the lead back after Johnny Sage and Tyler Powers had scored on the consecutive wild pitches in the previous frame.
Matt Moore escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning and retired the first five batters he faced Sunday, giving the lefty a streak of 12 consecutive batters retired dating back to April 27. He has allowed only two of 15 inherited base runners to score this season.
Zac Fascia’s two-out RBI single in the seventh inning extended his season-best hit streak to 10 consecutive games. He’s the third Boilermaker with a double-figure hit steak this year. Fascia drove in a run in all three games of the series and has 12 RBI during Purdue’s nine-game homestand. Cole McKenzie singled twice and also walked, reaching base safely for the 14th consecutive game.
The Boilermakers conclude their season-long homestand Tuesday vs. Ball State. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. ET.