WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue baseball overcame an early 5-0 deficit with six unanswered runs, but it was Minnesota that enjoyed its top offensive output of the season, scoring 12 straight runs to take the series opener 22-7 Friday at Alexander Field.
The 29 runs were the most ever scored in a game in the six-year history of Alexander Field. The Gophers (22-10, 6-1 B1G) have scored 54 runs in their four consecutive games at the Boilermakers’ home field dating back to last weekend’s neutral-site sweep of Penn State. Minnesota has won six straight games overall.
Ben Nisle connected for a pair of home runs to left field for Purdue (15-14, 4-3 B1G), joining Alec Olund as the only active Boilermakers with a multi-homer game during their college careers. Coincidentally, both players are graduates of Lake Central High School in Northwest Indiana.
Nisle went deep in the second and sixth innings, posting the first multi-homer game by a Boilermaker since Kyle Johnson and Kyle Wood both connected for long balls twice in one of the games of a March 2016 doubleheader at East Tennessee State. The program’s last multi-homer game in Big Ten play was posted by Sean McHugh in May 2013 vs. Iowa. Nisle joined Olund and McHugh as the only Purdue players to go deep twice in a game at Alexander Field.
The Gophers scored at least three runs in an inning four times. Minnesota scored 10 times with two outs Friday, including a three-run triple from Micah Coffey in the fifth inning and all seven of its runs the following frame. Those rallies allowed the Gophers to pull away after Purdue had taken a 6-5 lead entering the top of the fourth.
The Boilermakers were unable to record the game’s first out until Alex Boxwell, batting eighth in the lineup, hit a sacrifice fly to left field. That plated the fifth and final run of a long first inning, during which Purdue committed a pair of errors after Minnesota loaded the bases with a double, walk and single to open the game.
The Boilermakers responded offensively, scoring twice in each of the first three innings to chase the Gophers’ starter Reggie Meyer in the bottom of the third. Even though he threw nearly 50 pitches in the first inning, Tanner Andrews was able to record four more outs than his counterpart Meyer. But Brett Schulze (7-0) was the top pitcher of the game, working 4 2/3 innings of two-hit relief. The only run he surrendered came on Nisle’s solo homer in the sixth inning.
Harry Shipley singled in each of his first two at-bats, extending his hitting streak to seven consecutive games and reaching base safely at least twice for the 12th time in the last 13 games. Skyler Hunter reached base safely four times, recording three hits. Shipley and Hunter both scored on Nick Dalesandro’s go-ahead single in the third inning that gave Purdue its short-lived 6-5 lead.
Nisle homered into the left field bullpen in the second inning, connecting for his career long ball at Alexander Field. The freshman has five home runs this season, but hit his first Friday since March 11.
Hunter’s RBI triple plated Shipley in the first inning. It was Hunter’s first extra-base hit since March 3. Jacson McGowan followed with a sacrifice fly. The Boilermakers lost for only the fifth time in 19 games this season when McGowan has recorded an RBI.
Purdue used eight pitchers while surrendering its highest run total since a 22-4 loss to Indiana State at Alexander Field in April 2016. The Boilermakers had not surrendered 20 runs against a Big Ten opponent since a 26-3 loss to Minnesota at the 1995 Big Ten Tournament.
Evan Warden moved up from third base to the mound in the ninth inning, working a 1-2-3 frame in his Purdue debut on the hill. It was the first scoreless inning posted by the Boilermakers since the top of the third.
Minnesota’s Eli Wilson hit an inside-the-park home runs to center field in the seventh inning.
Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.