Purdue outhit, but did not outscore Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, losing to Minnesota, 5-4, Sunday afternoon in Omaha.
Minnesota (41-13) had six runs on 11 hits, while Purdue (37-19) had four runs on 13 hits.
In a back-and-forth game, neither team led by more than a single run until the end. A two-run sixth inning for the Gophers was the difference.
Here's part 1 of Sunday's postgame press conference at the Big Ten Tournament as Jacson McGowan & Skyler Hunter discuss the 6-4 loss to Minnesota in the title game. pic.twitter.com/OuQRfkcReP— Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) May 27, 2018
More postgame comments from Sunday in Omaha as Coach Waz breaks down the back & forth nature of the 6-4 loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament championship game. #Purdue is eager to play again next week in an NCAA Regional. #BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/B1CATyE6hZ— Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) May 28, 2018
With Trevor Cheaney pitching and Purdue leading 4-3 in the sixth, Minnesota’s center fielder Alex Boxwell singled on a 2-2 count, then right fielder Jordan Kozicky bunted his teammate to second. After a fly out by DH Toby Hanson, second baseman and leadoff batter Luke Pettersen singled up the middle to tie the game, 4-4. Pettersen stole second and Ben Mezzenga singled up the middle to put Minnesota ahead, 5-4.
That proved to be the winning run, but Purdue had a chance later to tie the game again.
In the eighth, DH Evan Kennedy doubled with one out. Charlie Nasuti was put in as a pinch runner for Kennedy.
After right fielder Alec Olund flied out to center, third baseman Evan Warden hit a hard single to left. The ball was hit hard enough to allow left fielder Mezzenga to throw out Nasuti at the plate.
Minnesota added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.
With one out, DH Toby Hanson singled up the middle and then Pettersen singled to left to advance Hanson to second. After a Mezzenga fly out, shortstop Terrin Varva doubled, driving home Minnesota’s sixth run.
In the ninth, Purdue went down 1-2-3, ending its unprobable mid- and late-season run. The Boilermakers were picked to finish 11th in the Big Ten, but finished second in the regular season and as the runner-up in the tournament.
For Minnesota, it marked the first time since 2014 that the regular season champion also won the post-season tournament. The Gophers were 13-1 since May 1 and won their last nine games this season.
• “The run ain’t over yet,” Purdue outfielder Skyler Hunter said. “We got a regional coming up and the run has just begun. (This) loss put a little bit of fire in our eyes. We’re going to play with an even bigger chip on our shoulder now and we’re going to show the nation that the Purdue Boilermakers, we can play baseball.”
• Six Purdue players made the All-Tournament team: Tanner Andrews, Nick Dalesandro, Jacson McGowan, Harry Shipley, Evan Warden and Skyler Hunter.
• Purdue will wait until Monday to learn its post-season fate. The NCAA Tournament selection show will be broadcast at noon on ESPNU.
– The Tribune Media Service contributed to this report