4/14/18 Minnesota, Evan Kennedy

Senior Evan Kennedy dives into third base after hitting a double to right field on Friday afternoon. Kennedy ran to third after a fielding error by the right fielder at Alexander Field.

After falling behind 3-1 in the first inning, Purdue baseball utilized two 4-run innings to overcome Illinois and move into Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game.

The Boilermakers (37-18), beat Illinois (33-20) in a Saturday semi-final, 11-5, in Omaha. With the win, Purdue eliminated the No. 4 seed Illini in the double-elimination tournament.

The Boilers will face Minnesota (40-13) at 2 p.m., Sunday for the championship. Neither team lost a game in the tournament.

On Saturday, Purdue scored four runs in fifth and seventh innings, a single run in the first and two in the eighth inning in the win.

In the end, Purdue had 11 runs on 11 hits and made two errors. Illinois had 5 runs on 4 hits, but had 3 errors.

Four of the five runs scored by Illinois were the responsibility of stater Ryan Beard. In his 2 2/3 innings, he gave up two hits, but five walks. He faced 15 hitters.

The bullpen, however, was much better. In the remaining 6 2/3 innings the trio of Trent Johnson, Bo Hofstra and Dalton Parker gave up a combined two hits and one run.

"It was really embarrassing early-on," said Coach Mark Wasikowski in a post-game interview on the Big Ten Network. "I didn't think we were there – I don't think we were there mentally ... we had 10 walks (actually it was eight, but Purdue had two errors, too), it was a sloppy game, but with that said I think with Coach (Steve) Holm and Coach (Wally) Crancer getting the hitters going ... and we still come out on top in a baseball game is really a tremendous job. Give credit to the kids."

Four Boilermakers had multiple hits in the game – including both the No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the lineup, shortstop Harry Shipley (2 for 3) and catcher Nick Dalesandro (2 for 4). Both scored three runs each. Right fielder Alec Olund (2 for 5) and designated hitter Evan Kennedy (2 for 4) also had two hits each.

None of Purdue's 11 runs were produced by home runs.

Minnesota and Purdue met twice this season in West Lafayette – both were losses. The Boilers lost the first game 22-7 and the second 18-8. The third game of the series was canceled due to inclement weather.

It's been an amazing year for Purdue, which was picked to finish 11th in the conference. It finished the regular season in second and has a chance to win the tournament title on Sunday.

Purdue will have a chance to win the tournament title for the first time since 2012.

In a post-game interview on BTN, Wasikowski was asked about how he was going to address the team in preparation for the title game.

"What am I going to say to them?," the coach retorted. "Probably the same thing I've been saying and they say to me every day – we were picked to finish 11th and, yeah, that didn't happen."

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