WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue baseball faced a sizable early deficit while committing a season-high five errors, falling to Iowa 10-4 in the series opener Friday at Alexander Field.
Six of the Hawkeyes’ 10 runs were unearned. But they recorded a number of big hits to cash in on the Boilermakers’ miscues. Ben Norman delivered a three-run double to open the scoring in the first inning. A pair of errors in the fourth inning helped extend the visitors’ lead to 7-0.
As Iowa’s 6-7-8 hitters, Tanner Wetrich, Luke Farley and Matthew Sosa all delivered a run-scoring hit. The top third of the Hawkeyes’ lineup was a combined 0-for-10, but still managed to account for five runs scored thanks in part to five walks.
Purdue’s 11-game home win streak in Big Ten play came to an end. The Boilermakers (10-22, 4-5 B1G) suffered their season-high sixth straight loss. They’ve been outscored 16-3 in the first inning during the skid. They’ve also surrendered three or more runs in an inning eight times during the last six games. Purdue has committed 13 errors during its losing streak after making just seven errors in the previous 11 games.
Skyler Hunter singled twice and walked twice, recording a hit from both sides of the plate for the 18th time as a Boilermaker. He has reached base safely in 32 consecutive games against Big Ten teams and is now riding a 10-game overall hit streak. The junior became just the fourth Purdue player since 2005 to record a double-figure hit streak in three different seasons.
Bryce Bonner connected for an RBI triple in the sixth inning as part of a two-hit effort. He recorded an extra-base hit for the third game in a row. The junior also threw out a pair of base stealers.
Conner Tomasic worked 3 2/3 innings of one-run relief, matching his longest outing of the season. The freshman retired eight of the first nine batters he faced and posted the Boilermakers’ only true 1-2-3 frame of the night when he retired Iowa’s 1-2-3 hitters in order in the sixth inning.
A hit batsman, error by shortstop Evan Albrecht and a walk loaded the bases in front of Noman in the top of the first. The junior doubled to right center on the first pitch he saw. Patrick J. Smith (3-3) regrouped and posted zeros in the next two frames. But the Boilermakers committed two more errors in the fourth inning as the Hawkeyes (19-13, 6-4 B1G) blew it open with a three-run rally. Smith failed to get an out on a sac bunt back to the mound, leading to a bases-loaded opportunity after Purdue opted to issue an intentional walk to load the bases. Smith won a lefty-lefty matchup with Mitchell Boe, inducing a soft ground ball to first base. But Zac Fascia overthrew Bonner at the plate and two runs scored on the play.
When the Boilermakers scored in the sixth and seventh innings, Iowa immediately matched those run totals in the top half of the following frames.
Cole McDonald (3-3) cruised his first two times through the Purdue lineup, retiring 13 of the first 16 batters he faced. The only run he surrendered over six innings of four-hit ball scored on Bonner’s two-out triple in the sixth inning.