May 25, 2012

click here for complete list of scores

Around the Tournaments: Friday recaps


Pitching and defense carry Purdue past Indiana

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder



COLUMBUS, Ohio – If pitching and defense really do win championships, it might be time to start engraving that trophy.


Lance Breedlove (right) and Blake Mascarello combined on a six-hit shutout and the defense played errorless baseball for the second straight night as top-seeded Purdue blanked second-seeded Indiana 3-0 in the Big Ten Tournament at Huntington Park.


The Hoosiers (31-27) will face fifth-seeded Michigan State in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The winner of that game will have to beat the Boilermakers (43-12) on Saturday night and again on Sunday afternoon to win the championship.


“I thought it was a well-played college baseball game,” said Purdue head coach Doug Schreiber. “Hats off to both pitching staffs, I thought they did a great job.”


Breedlove (8-5) was outstanding. He allowed just two hits in the first seven innings, a single in the first and another in the third. The right-hander ran into trouble in the eighth, with his team holding a 2-0 lead. After a come-backer to the mound started the inning, Will Nolden and Tim O’Conner both singled to put men on first and second.


One of the biggest plays by the Purdue defense came next and did not result in an out. IU leadoff hitter Justin Cureton laced a ball down the third base line. Cameron Perkins dove to his right and got a glove on the ball, causing it to roll slightly behind him in foul territory instead of finding the left field corner. Nolden was forced to stop at third, leaving the bases loaded and keeping the Hoosiers off the scoreboard.


“In that situation we were in ‘no doubles’ so I was shading the line a little bit,” Perkins said. “He hit it really hard and I happened to get some glove on it. I was upset with myself. I thought I should have made the play.”


The effort was appreciated in the opposite dugout as well.


“That was a great play,” said Indiana head coach Tracy Smith (left). “To me, that was the play of the game. That was an unbelievable play. He didn’t get the out but boy, did he save some runs right there."


The next play was critical as well. With Mascarello having relieved Breedlove, Kyle Schwarber hit a bouncer to Perkins at third, who tried to start the 5-4-3 double play. The relay throw to first by second baseman Eric Charles was not handled cleanly by first baseman Ryan Bridges, allowing Nolden to touch home plate. But second base umpire Jim Schaly ruled that Cureton slid into the defender and not into the bag, awarding the double play and taking the run off the board for the Hoosiers.


The play by Perkins allowed the Boilermakers to get out of that inning without any runs scoring.


“If he’s not on the line, that’s a possible tie ballgame with the lead run in scoring position,” Schreiber said. “He did a great job just getting a glove on it and gave us a chance to get the double play.”


Purdue added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth as Perkins drove a double down the left field line to start the inning and scored on a base hit by Kevin Plawecki.


The Hoosiers rallied in the top of the ninth, using a two-out walk and single to bring the tying run to the plate. Mascarello got pinch-hitter Chad Clark to ground out to second to end the contest.


Breedlove worked 7.1 innings with five hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Mascarello allowed a hit and a walk in the final 1.2 innings to record his third save.


“I thought the big key for us was that we didn’t allow one of their leadoff hitters to get on,” Schreiber said. “We got all nine of them out.”


The Purdue pair combined for 19 outs by ground balls.


“I went out there trying to throw strikes and let my defense do the work,” Breedlove said. “They did a great job. I trusted my defense and they were making great plays out there.”


Purdue snapped the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth. Sean McHugh drew a leadoff walk and was erased at second on a failed sacrifice attempt by David Miller. Stephen Talbott singled and Andrew Dixon walked, loading the bases and ending the night for starter Kyle Hart. Jonny Hoffman entered and got Charles to hit a grounder to short. The ball was slightly bobbled before getting the force out at second. The relay throw to first was not in time for the double play, allowing Miller to score the first run. Perkins followed with a base hit to bring home Talbott and make it 2-0.


(photos courtesy of Purdue and Indiana  Media Relations Office)