WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Ohio State travelled to Purdue for the opening game of each team’s Big Ten season, and while the weather in west-central Indiana saw flurries of snow and a blanket of clouds during pregame, the sun shone through by the middle innings of the contest. The Boilermakers jumped ahead late in the game and held on for a 7-5 victory over the visiting Buckeyes
Kade Kern broke out for three hits in the Buckeyes midweek matchup with Wright State on Tuesday and one-upped himself with an incredible performance on Friday against Purdue. With one out in the second inning, Kern gave Ohio State their first lead of the game with a solo shot over the left field fence that nearly hit the scoreboard, his first home run of the season. Then, after Zach Dezenzo singled and Mitchell Okuley walked with two outs in the third inning, Kern struck again in almost the same exact spot over left field for a three-run home run. The Buckeyes led 4-0 after their third inning at-bat thanks to Kern’s power hitting.
Ohio State starter Isaiah Coupet was dealing in his first two innings on the mound, allowing two walks and no hits while striking out three Purdue batters. In the bottom of the third, the Boilermakers tagged Coupet for two two-run homers to tie the game at 4-4.
In the top of the fifth, the Buckeyes took back the lead. Drew Reckart led off the frame with a walk, advanced to second on a balk, and was moved over to third base on a single by Archer Brookman. Ohio State leadoff man Marcus Ernst lined out to center field to drive in Reckart on a sacrifice fly to give the Buckeyes a 5-4 advantage. Brookman moved up to third after stealing second and advancing on a ground out, and a Trey Lipsey walk put runners on the corners for Zach Dezenzo with two outs. The Buckeyes attempted a first and third play with Lipsey intentionally getting into a pickle to try to sneak Brookman home, but Brookman was thrown out at the plate to end the threat.
Coupet remained in the game for the fourth, but was replaced by freshman Jake Johnson with runners on the corners after allowing a double and a walk. The runner on third was let in after Archer Brookman throw to second base leaked into center field, tying the game at five. Johnson struck out the next two batters and the score was knotted at 5-5 after four innings.
Zach Dezenzo picked up his second hit of the game in the fifth, but was not plated. Purdue took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth after a leadoff triple by Curtis Washington that appeared to careen off the top of the center field wall. He was driven in on an RBI groundout, and the Boilermakers led 6-5 after five.
Nate Karaffa entered for Johnson in the bottom of the seventh. Two singles, two fielder’s choices, and a passed ball later, Purdue scored their last run of the game to make it 7-5. Ethan Hammerberg came out of the bullpen for an efficient inning of work in the eighth to hold the defecit to two runs, but the Buckeyes were unable to mount a comeback and ultimately fell in game one.
The Buckeyes and Boilermakers will square off again for game two at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Sophomore Nate Haberthier will get the start on the mound for Ohio State.