After splitting the first two games of the weekend series with the Southeast Missouri Redhawks, the Purdue Boilermakers looked to capture the weekend series win on Sunday afternoon. Thanks to a great performance at bat, the Boilers were able to capture a victory 6-2 over SEMO.
Senior pitcher Patrick J. Smith got the start for the Boilermakers, his first appearance in the series. Smith got off to a strong start, pitching the first three innings without giving up a single run and only allowing two hits from the Redhawks.
While Smith produced on the defensive side, the Boilers' bats got off to a slow start, but Purdue decided to make its run in the bottom of the third inning. Sophomore Tyler Powers started the inning with a bomb to the back wall, placing him on third base. Freshman outfielder Milo Beam, Purdue's new leadoff hitter, was able to lay down a blunt which stifled the infield bringing Powers home. Junior outfielder Skyler Hunter stepped up to the plate and brought Beam home with a single. Junior outfielder Cole McKenzie was able to bring Hunter home as Purdue left the inning with three runs.
McKenzie went 3-of-4 at the plate and was perhaps the best hitter on the field Sunday.
"Recently I've been seeing the ball very well," McKenzie said. "Having the confidence that the coaches have in me really helped me out as well."
The Redhawks seemed like they found Smith's number in the top of fourth, as he gave up two hits and a 4-0 walk in the inning. But ultimately, Smith was able to maintain his composure and leave the inning without giving up a run.
The Boilermakers asked on another run in the bottom of the fourth to take take a commanding 4-0 lead. Although Smith struggled in the fourth, he returned to the mound and continued to work the plate. After retiring two batters, freshman Kyle Wade came in from the bullpen to handle the pitching duties.
Wade struggled to find his accuracy in the top of the sixth, giving up two runs, placing SEMO right back into the game. James Kulak then stepped in for Wade to prevent Purdue from losing its lead. Purdue was able to tack on one more run in the bottom of the inning, heading into the top of the seventh with a 5-2 lead over the Redhawks.
The seventh inning saw another pitching change for the Boilers who had a community day at the mound, only getting about an inning a piece from each pitcher besides Smith. Kulak was replaced by freshman pitcher Austin Peterson. Peterson was able to push through the inning without giving up a run, although he came in with two base runners and only one out.
Junior catcher and designated hitter Bryce Bonner helped Purdue pad its lead in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI bringing Hunter home to score. The Boilers headed into the eighth inning with a controlling 6-2 lead, and it seemed the game was all but over. Peterson wrapped up the the top of the inning pretty quickly as SEMO went three up, three down on three straight ground balls toward first base.
Purdue was unable to produce any runs in the eighth, so they headed into the top of the ninth with Peterson on the mound and went on to finish off the Redhawks and clinch the win.