April 26, 2002
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Purdue scored twice in the top of the ninth to break a 5-5 tie to give itself a 7-5 victory over Ohio State in the first game of a four-game weekend Big Ten series Friday night at Bill Davis Stadium.
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Buckeyes, which have also lost each of the last three Wednesday night non-conference games. Ohio State is now 23-12-1 overall and 11-5 in the Big Ten, while Purdue improved to 20-19 overall and 10-7 in the conference.
With two on and two out for the Buckeyes in the eighth with the scored tied 5-5, it appeared Brett Garrard (So., Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) would give the Buckeyes a one-run lead on a hit to shallow rightfield. But Nick McIntyre, the Purdue second baseman, chased the blooper down grabbing it over his shoulder for the final out of the inning and ending the Buckeye threat.
The Boilermakers carried the momentum of the great catch by scoring the winning run in the top of the ninth on a base hit by third baseman John Gusich. That single through the right side scored McIntyre, who had led off the inning with a base hit to left. First baseman Kris Luce was intentionally walked to put runners at first and second. Gusich’s base hit moved Luce to second and then a sacrifice bunt by Andy Rempel moved him to third. He scored on a wild pitch by Ohio State reliever Brandon Steen (Sr., Hendersonville, Tenn./Hendersonville) to give Purdue the 7-5 lead.
Nick Swisher (Jr., Parkersburg, W.Va./Parkersburg) doubled with one gone in the bottom of the ninth, but he was stranded there on a fly out by Doug Dendinger (Sr., Greenwich, Ohio/South Central) and a strike out by Joe Wilkins (Sr., Grove City, Ohio/Dublin Scioto). In all, Ohio State left 10 runners on base, including eight in scoring position.
“The bottom of the eighth and the top of the ninth were exactly the same for both teams,” said OSU coach Bob Todd. We got our guys in scoring position, but their guy, McIntyre, made a great catch over his shoulder to prevent our guy from scoring.”
The game played out much the same way the loss to Wooster on Wednesday did. Wooster scored twice in the top of the ninth to break a tie and hand the Buckeyes a 9-7 defeat.
Ohio State started the game strong. Christian Snavely (So., Defiance, Ohio/Defiance) led off the Buckeye first inning with a triple and then scored on a ground out to second by Garrard to give the Buckeyes an early 1-0 lead.
The lead, however, was short-lived as Purdue put up four runs in the top of the second. Four consecutive hits, including a double by first baseman Kris Luce, led to the first three runs and then a single by second baseman Nick McIntyre plated the fourth run of the inning for the Boilermakers.
Ohio State loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the second, but failed to get a run across the plate after Mike Rabin (Fr, West Chester, Ohio/Lakota East) grounded back to the catcher, who threw to home catching. The catcher then threw to first to catch Rabin on the double play.
The Buckeyes got three runs across the plate in the third inning though. Garrard led off the inning with a double to right field and then Swisher walked. Dendinger singled through the right side to score Garrard. Swisher advanced to advanced to third on a throwing error by the Purdue rightfielder. Dendinger also advanced to second. A single by Wilkins scored Swisher and a base hit by Drew Anderson scored Dendinger to even the score 4-4.
Garrard drew a walk in the seventh to break a string of 11 consecutive batters retired by Purdue starter Chadd Blasko. Doug Deeds (So., Bexley, Ohio/Bexley) followed the walk with a base hit to left and then Swisher delivered the go-ahead run, scoring Garrard from second to give the Buckeyes a 5-4 lead.
Purdue tied it up again in the top of the eighth on a base hit by shortstop Mitch Koester that scored Andy Rempel who reached on a fielding error by Snavely at second.
The two starters left the game with the scored tied 5-5. OSU starter Nate Smith (Jr., Bryan, Ohio/Bryan) pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on 11 hits without a walk. He struck out two Boilermakers. Blasko lasted just seven innings giving up all five earned runs, on 10 hits, striking out six and walking four.
Brent Coudron got the win for Purdue and improved to 3-2 on the season, while Steen was tagged with the loss for Ohio State. It was his first decision of the year against four saves. He pitched only the final 1 2/3 innings allowing the two runs in the ninth by the Boilermakers.
Ohio State has lost the first game of a four-game series once this season and responded to win the final three games against Penn State after the Nittany Lions took the first game of that series April 5-7.
Purdue and Ohio State will play a doubleheader Saturday at 4:05 p.m. Fans attending the Ohio State football spring game are invited to bring their ticket stub from that game to Bill Davis Stadium for free admission to the baseball twinbill.