EMERSON, Ga. (Purdue Sports) — Four home runs and strong pitching propelled Purdue baseball to a pair of 5-1 victories in a season-opening doubleheader sweep of Western Michigan on Saturday.
Tanner Andrews worked 6 2/3 shutout innings in game one, striking out nine in his season-opening win for the second year in a row. Ben Nisle connected for a towering three-run homer over the left field foul pole in the fourth inning. It was the freshman's first collegiate hit.
Gareth Strong (5 IP) and Nick Wojtysiak (4 IP) teamed up for nine innings one-run ball in the nightcap. Wojtysiak pitched out a pair of jams, stranding four base runners over his first two innings. Jacson McGowan connected for a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning after Skyler Hunter's RBI single had given the Boilermakers' their first lead of game two.
• Purdue has won its first two games in consecutive seasons for the first time since doing it three straight years from 1957 to 1959.
• McGowan also hit a solo homer in game one, becoming the first Boilermaker to homer in both games of a doubleheader since Kyle Wood in March 2016. He's the first Purdue player to homer in each of the first two games since at least 2004.
• Andrews has worked a combined 13 2/3 innings of one-run ball as the Boilermakers' season-opening starter the last two years. He worked three 1-2-3 innings and struck out five his first time through the lineup. The senior recorded a pair of strikeouts in four different frames.
• Nisle is the first Purdue freshman since Cameron Perkins in 2010 to homer in the team's season opener.
• Hunter drove in the Boilermakers' first run of the season with a bases-loaded single in the third inning of game one and delivered the go-ahead RBI in the nightcap.
Ross Learnard recorded Purdue's biggest out of the day, striking out WMU's cleanup hitter as the potential tying run with runners on second and third to end the eighth inning of game one. He closed out the victory with a hitless top of the ninth.
Evan Warden homered as part of a three-hit effort in game two. After starting all but one game at second base this season, he opened the new season at third base. He started Purdue's first double play turn of the year, a 5-4-3 twin killing that erased a leadoff single in the fourth inning of game one.
Braden Giroux's two-out single, the Boilermakers' first hit of the season, helped ignite the rally that produced the team's first run. After Warden and Harry Shipley both drew free passes, Hunter delivered the bases-loaded single. Warden was thrown out at the plate from left field to end the frame.
In the fifth inning of game two, Nick Dalesandro scored the game-tying run from first base on Evan Kennedy's opposite-field double to left center. Kennedy joined Hunter, McGowan and Warden as Boilermakers with three hits on the day.
Three of the four hits Stroh surrendered were bunched together in the fourth inning when the Broncos (0-2) took their only lead of the day. It was the only inning of the nightcap in which WMU had its leadoff man reach base safely.
Catchers Bryce Bonner and Dalesandro both threw a base stealer out at second base.
Sunday's series finale is slated for 11 a.m. ET.
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