May 17, 2001
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The votes are in. After two days at the Big Ten Tournament the MVP has been the Ohio State grounds crew. After two days of torrential downpours play resumed Thursday evening on a near-perfect field.
Michigan (27-27) downed Purdue (32-24), 10-2, in the first elimination game of the tournament before 359 fans at Bill Davis Stadium. UM advances to play the loser of tomorrow’s 3:35 p.m. game between Illinois and Minnesota at 12:05 Saturday afternoon, while Purdue is eliminated.
Purdue jumped on the board first when catcher David Harrell blasted his sixth home run of the season off a 1-1offering from UM’s Bobby Wood to open the second inning.
The Boilermakers cruised through the first four innings behind pitcher Chadd Blasko. The righthander allowed one hit through four, but ran into a buzzsaw in the bottom of the fifth as UM plated five runs in the inning. Jordan Cantalamessa started the inning with a single and then advanced to second on a Nate Wright sacrifice bunt. He then zipped to third on a wild pitch by Blasko and later scored on a C.J. Ghannam single to knot the score at one. Shortstop Bill LaRosa drew a walk and Gino Lollio reached base on an error by third baseman John Gusich. The bases were loaded and the Wolverines had only one out. Scott Tousa drove a long single off the glove of center fielder Nate Sickler to score Ghannam. Mike Sokol then advanced to first on an error by second baseman David Blomberg. Brock Koman hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning. Jake Fox then stepped to the plate and delivered a two-out RBI single to give UM a 5-1 advantage.
Purdue tried to stage a rally in the seventh as Nate Sickler, Kris Luce and John Gusich all reached base. Pinch-hitter Simon Klink stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, but was struck out by Wood. Mike Duursma then delivered a run-scoring sacrifice fly to cut the lead to three. Wood got out of the potentially dangerous inning when he struck out Daniel Underwood.
Michigan padded its lead to six in the bottom of the seventh. Tousa delivered a 1-0 pitch from Blasko deep into the night over the right-field fence to give UM a four-run lead. Sokol then walked and scored on a double by Koman. Koman scored on a single by Cantalamessa and the Wolverines took an 8-2 lead into the eighth.
UM added two more in the bottom of the eighth when Tousa hit his second home run of the day and fourth of the season. It was a two-run bomb off a 3-1 pitch from Dave Gassner.
Wood (5-3) was spectacular. The junior went the distance, scattering seven hits, giving up two runs while striking out a career-high 10. It was his first nine-inning complete game.
Blasko (6-6) took the loss. In 6.1 innings of work, he gave up eight hits, eight runs (five earned), walked two and struck out seven.
Michigan head coach Geoff Zahn
“I thought we played well tonight. Bobby Wood was dominating. We got some timely hitting. Scott Tousa was outstanding. He hasn’t made an error in the Big Ten, he is everything you want in a second baseman.”
Purdue head coach Doug Schreibert
“We didn’t hit enough. I tip my hat to Michigan. They pitched well, got timely hitting and drove the ball. They took advantage of our defensive lapses. You hate to play 28 conference games and 56 games overall and have one weekend decide your fate. We didn’t play well and we deserve anything that comes our way.”