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Purdue blows late lead, falls to Illinois in 12 innings

Trent Johnson worked seven innings of one-run ball in another impressive outing and Purdue baseball took the lead in the top of the ninth, only to lose to No. 25 Illinois 5-2 on a walk-off homer in the 12th inning Friday.

Posted: May 11, 2019 12:43 PM

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (Purdue Sports) — Trent Johnson worked seven innings of one-run ball in another impressive outing and Purdue baseball took the lead in the top of the ninth, only to lose to No. 25 Illinois 5-2 on a walk-off homer in the 12th inning Friday.

Both teams scored a run against the opposition's closer in the ninth inning. The Boilermakers (19-29, 7-11 B1G) used three bunts to score the go-ahead run against Big Ten saves leader Garrett Acton. But Jack Yalowitz's two-out, two-run single plated the tying run in the bottom half of the frame to send the game to extras.

Zac Taylor scored the game-tying run in the ninth and ended it in the 12th with a three-run homer to left field. The Fighting Illini (32-16, 11-8 B1G) scored all five of their runs with two outs. Purdue fell to 1-4 in extra-innings games this season.

Skyler Hunter was thrown out at the plate to end the top of the 12th while trying to score from first base on Zac Fascia's double off the top of the wall in right center. Yalowitz made an impressive throw from the warning track to the middle of the infield where first baseman Kellen Sarver cut it and made the short relay throw to the plate. The relay beat Hunter home by a wide margin, but Hunter almost successfully eluded the tag of catcher Jacob Campbell. Hunter missed the plate as he dove past Campbell and the tag was applied a split second before Hunter could get his hand on the opposite side of the plate.

Johnson posted six consecutive zeros after Sarver's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the first snapped Johnson's consecutive scoreless innings streak in Big Ten play at 15 1/3. His seven innings of one-run ball gave him a career-long outing for the second Friday in a row. Even while surrendering only the one run on four singles, Johnson's league-leading ERA (0.59) and batting average against (.149) in Big Ten play both rose slightly. Johnson has compiled a 1.44 ERA and .160 batting average against in 25 innings as a starting pitcher this season.

Purdue pitchers recorded 12 strikeouts, posting a double-figure total for the 21st time this year. With 428 strikeouts this season, the Boilermakers are just seven shy of their program record of 435 from 2010.

Tyler Powers and Milo Beam teamed up for the go-ahead suicide squeeze bunt in the ninth inning. Powers beat out the bunt for his third hit of the night. Beam had opened the frame with a bunt hit in his first at-bat of the game. Beam also made a nice diving catch in left field on the first ball put in play after he entered the game in the bottom of the sixth.

Matt Moore struck out the Illini's No. 2 hitter Michael Massey on three pitches to end the eighth inning, stranding a pair of inherited runners to keep the game tied at 1-1. Moore has stranded 15 of 17 inherited runners this year.

Ben Nisle pinch hit with two outs and a runner at first base in the 10th inning, returning from a back injury that had sidelined the 2018 unanimous Big Ten All-Freshman team selection since March 13. He also played left field for the final three frames.

Andrew Bohm (0-8) struck out four over 2 2/3 innings in his first relief appearance of the season. He fanned Taylor to open the 11th inning, but could not retire the Illini's center fielder again the following frame.

Fascia finished the night with two outs and was hit by a pitch twice, extending his hit streak to 12 consecutive games. Cole McKenzie had two hits, a walk and RBI ground out. He has reached base safely in 16 straight games. Ryan Howe's leadoff single in the fifth inning extended his hit streak in Big Ten play to nine consecutive games.

Game 2 of the series Saturday has been officially moved back to 6 p.m. ET.

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