For the first time in almost two decades, Purdue has pulled off an impressive in-conference feat.
The Boilermakers (19-16, 7-4 Big Ten) have swept multiple Big Ten series, winning all three games in their series against Maryland (16-23, 3-8) in College Park, highlighted by Sunday’s comeback win.
Purdue won by scores of 7-1 on Friday, 4-3 in 11 innings on Saturday, and 8-6 on Sunday.
Head coach Mark Wasikowski was pleased with his team’s effort after the series wrapped up on Sunday afternoon.
“It could be a turning point in the season; we had a 4-1 week and we had a chance to win all five games this week,” he told Purdue Sports after the game.
Friday’s game was highlighted by the pitching performance of senior Tanner Andrews, who struck out nine in seven-plus innings of work. His night was spotlighted by him striking out Maryland’s 3-4-5 hitters in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“I just really had to dig deep. ... I didn’t command the ball well early, the defense made great plays, the offense picked me up. We really grabbed the momentum of the game,” Andrews said after the win.
Purdue was only up 4-1 at the time of the consecutive strikeouts, and added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth. The Boilers’ offensive output was bolstered by right fielder Alec Olund, who went 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs.
Moving on to the Saturday game, junior Jacson McGowan was the key to Purdue’s success, connecting with a pair of clutch solo home runs in both the ninth and 11th innings.
He hit the first go-ahead or game-tying home run for Purdue since Sean McHugh did it in 2014. The team is an impressive 10-0 in games this year where McGowan homers.
“I had been swinging well all day, but to be able to come up in that situation and do that for our team is really awesome. ... That ball felt so good off the bat it was unreal, it felt so good, especially to come back from an 0-2 count,” McGowan said after his big plays.
In the Saturday game, the Boilers used five pitchers over the course of the game, as junior Garreth Stroh started and struggled early. Senior Ross Learnard earned the save, retiring batters with a 1-2-3 frame in the 11th inning.
To wrap up the series, the Boilers had to come up with some come-from-behind magic in their Sunday win.
Purdue trailed by intimidating deficits of both 4-0 and 6-2, and used a five-run seventh inning to take a 7-6 lead in the seventh inning.
The Boilers used a very balanced attack from the plate to complete the comeback, with four Purdue batters finishing the game with two hits.
“That was really impressive that our guys were able to mount a comeback, instead of saying, ‘All right, we got our two wins, let’s just go home,’” Wasikowski said after the game.
Purdue continues Monday with a break from conference play in a matchup against Chicago State to kick off a nine-game homestand. They hope to take some of the momentum from this weekend’s series against Maryland to Alexander Field, where the team has struggled as of late.