May 26, 2012
click here for complete
list of scores
Around the Tournaments: Saturday recaps
Purdue battles past Indiana to
win first Big Ten title
By Phil Stanton
(The original story stated Eric Charles slid
into Dustin DeMuth at third base in the ninth. After looking at
the replay, Charles slid into Michael Basil. That correction has
Ohio – It was an intense ending to a terrific tournament.
Top-seeded Purdue scored the game-winning run on
an errant throw in the top of the ninth to edge second-seeded
Indiana 6-5 in the Championship Game of the Big Ten Tournament.
It was the first Big Ten tourney title in program history.
“That was another exciting college baseball game
with a lot of action, timely hits, key pitches, key plays on
defense,” said Purdue head coach Doug Schreiber. “It wasn’t
without some mistakes on our part. They made some mistakes as
well to allow us that opportunity, especially that last run.
What happened at the end of the game shouldn’t take away from
what those kids did on the field. I was very proud of our guys,
the resiliency that they showed.”
Both benches emptied following the play, an ugly
ending to a spectacular week of action.
With the score tied at 5, David Miller led off
the top of the ninth with an infield single for the Boilermakers
(44-12) and was sacrificed to second by Stephen Talbott. Andrew
Dixon also reached on an infield hit, sending Miller to third.
Eric Charles hit a chopper to third baseman
Dustin DeMuth. Miller broke from third on contact and was caught
in a rundown. DeMuth threw to catcher Kyle Schwarber and Miller
headed back toward third. Schwarber threw back to DeMuth, who
ran Miller toward home before tagging him out. Dixon was
hustling to get to third. After DeMuth tagged Miller, he threw
high to third in an attempt to get Dixon, who scrambled to his
feet and raced home with the go-ahead run.
Charles broke for third and slid hard into
covering the bag. They became entangled and appeared to start
wrestling. Both benches emptied as the umpires tried to restore
“First and third with one out, we want to stay
out of the double play,” Schreiber said. “It was a chopper,
maybe not a true double play ball. Miller had to release, stayed
in the rundown long enough. DeMuth did a good job of running him
down, and turning and throwing. Maybe a great throw would have
gotten Dixon on a close play. It was a tough play. He’s running
toward home and making a tag and had to turn and throw to third.
The ball got away and Dixon was able to score.
“Charles probably didn’t need to try to come to
third but he’s being aggressive, he’s playing aggressive
baseball. I thought once the throw was there he did slide hard,
no doubt about it. I don’t think it was dirty in any way. I
think he was tying to slide through the guy. I don’t thing the
guy was straddling the base. Their fielder was in front of the
base and Charles was trying to go through him. The third baseman
took it. I thought if it would have been left there it would
have been fine. Guys started coming from every angle.
“I grabbed Charles and kept him from doing
anything else. I could have easily grabbed DeMuth off Charles
but that’s not my job to grab their player. So I waited and I
grabbed Charles. I’ve got Charles and he’s defenseless. Probably
the best thing was in the melee we got knocked to the ground. I
could cover him up and keep him from getting kicked and punched.
You don’t want to see that in any ballgame but those things
sometime happen. I thought the umpires did a good job of
clearing it and figuring out what they needed to do. Kudos to
the umpires on how they handled it.”
After a lengthy delay, Charles was ejected for a
flagrant slide and DeMuth was ejected for fighting.
“There was a lot of testosterone flowing out
there,” said IU head coach Tracy Smith, “young whippersnappers
wanting to buck up. You realize that you are dealing 18, 19,
20-year-old kids that don’t have a lot of perspective. It was an
unfortunate event. Our message was, regardless of the outcome of
this, regardless of Purdue and Indiana, to me, that was not good
for our conference. How it started, how it happened in the
middle, and how it finished I think was a big-time black eye for
our conference. I’ll be very very curious to see the tape. So
I’m going to reserve any comments on that. From what I gather
right now it’s not pretty, so I’m embarrassed for our
conference. I felt it was important that win, lose or draw,
Indiana University was going to shake hands at the end of the
game because that’s much more important than a baseball game.
“Once that tape comes out, I honestly think there
are going to be more penalties based on looks on clubhouse TV,
and it wasn’t pretty. [The umpires] had to go on what they saw
right away. They ejected the guy who made the initial slide.
They ejected Dustin DeMuth for a headlock. I want to see it and
if I have to do some teaching and learn some lessons with our
guys too as we move forward we’ll do that.”
Nick Wittgren (3-0), who got the final two outs in the eighth,
got two strikeouts and a flyout in the ninth to end the contest.
“No regrets is really what comes to my mind in
terms of what kind of effort our guys gave today,” Smith said.
“On a hot day playing a good Michigan State team, going extra
innings, finding a way through a lot of adversity through that,
battling through some things. In the Purdue game, I would like
to have seen a more dramatic way to score a run than of us
throwing it away in that type of ballgame. But it was an
aggressive play. I have no regrets, and I think our team has no
regrets, in talking about laying everything on the line and
walking away feeling pretty good about yourself. It’s tough to
swallow the loss no doubt but I think the guys will feel pretty
good about themselves that they gave everything they had in both
Purdue got on the board in the top of the second.
Barrett Serrato had a leadoff double to right center and
remained their following a groundout and a strikeout. Miller
ripped a long single off the wall in right to plate Serrato and
give the Boilermakers a 1-0 lead.
The Boilermakers added to their lead in the
fifth. Ryan Bridges drew a leadoff walk to start the inning.
After showing bunt on the first pitch, Miller bounced a
hit-and-run single over the first baseman’s head. The right
fielder bobbled the ball, allowing Bridges to score and Miller
to take second. Stephen Talbott bunted Miller to third and a
deep sacrifice fly to center by Andrew Dixon brought home Miller
with the third run.
The Hoosiers used a two-out rally to get on the
scoreboard. Will Nolden had a two-out double to right and scored
on a base hit by Tim O’Conner. Justin Cureton followed with a
double to left to plate O’Conner and make it a 3-2 game.
Purdue tacked on a run in the top of the sixth as
Kevin Plawecki started the inning with a walk, moved to third on
a hit-and-run single by Serrato and scored on a grounder to
first by Angelo Cianfrocco to push the lead to 4-2.
Indiana took advantage of Purdue’s first two
errors of the tournament to tie the game in the bottom of the
sixth. Schwarber reached on an error by the third baseman. Sam
Travis hit a potential double play ball back to the mound, but
the throw was not handled at second, giving the Hoosiers runners
on the corners. Micah Johnson doubled to right to bring home
Schwarber and move Travis to third. Michael Basil hit a high
foul pop down the right field line that was caught by the second
baseman. His throw to the plate was late as Travis scored the
Plawecki homered in the top of the eighth to put
the Boilermakers on top 5-4. It was his second home run of the
The Hoosiers responded again in the bottom of the
eighth. Travis had a leadoff double and moved to third on a
fielder’s choice. Pinch-runner Chris Sujka replaced Travis on
third and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Basil to knot the
score at 5.
Big Ten All-Tournament Team
P Jonny Hoffman, Indiana
P Tony Bucciferro, Michigan State
P Lance Breedlove, Purdue
C Kevin Plawecki, Purdue (right)
1B Ryan Krill, Michigan State
1B Richard Stock, Michigan State
2B Micah Johnson, Indiana
3B Cameron Perkins, Purdue
SS David Miller, Purdue
SS Kirby Pellant, Ohio State
OF Will Nolden, Indiana
OF Anthony Cheky, Michigan State
OF Barrett Serrato, Purdue
DH Michael Pritchard, Nebraska
Most Outstanding Player: Kevin Plawecki,
(photos courtesy of Purdue Media