3/26/19 Purdue 5, Valparaiso 1; Zac Fascia

Junior catcher Zac Fascia catches a pitch in a March game against Valparaiso.

After nearly four hours of weather delays due to frigid temperatures, Purdue was finally able to begin its second game in the weekend series against Penn State.

The Boilers (14-7, 0-4 Big Ten) defeated the Lions (9-16, 3-1 Big Ten) Friday night. In game one of the series, Purdue won 1-0; however, a rain filled Saturday afternoon resulted in game two being moved to Sunday.

The Boilers started redshirt sophomore pitcher Andrew Bohm. He previously stared six games this season but has been unable to get a win, holding a 0-3 record so far this season.

The Lions started redshirt junior Eric Mock on the mound, who has started four games for Penn State this year. Mock came into to the game with a 3.00 ERA and a 2-1 win-loss record.

It was a defensive battle, as both pitchers came to play. Both teams were able to get runners in scoring position, but neither side was able to capitalize.

The game was scoreless through the first three innings; however, Penn State began to come alive at the top of the fourth. The Lions had runners on the corners with no outs, but junior catcher Zac Fascia was able to pick off the runner on third with a timely pitch-out from Bohm. Two strikeouts later and the Boilers were able to sneak out of the inning without giving up a run.

The two pitchers continued to duel through the next couple innings. Bohm had given up 5 hits through the top of the fifth inning but continued to escape without giving up runs, striking out six batters and inducing ground balls while enlisting the help of the fielders.

Mock was even more remarkable in his first five innings, allowing only 1 hit from the Boilermakers. They were unable to get anything more than a ground ball against him. Their first hit came in the first inning. Batters found the base path on walks, but Purdue was unable to seize the opportunity.

Midway through the top of the sixth inning, sophomore pitcher Trent Johnson came in to relieve Bohm after his great start. Johnson inherited a runner at third base, but Bohm had taken care of the first two outs before he took the mound. The Lions were able to bat the runner in and break the dry spell on the scoreboard before Johnson could get the Boilers out of the inning.

Penn State also made a pitching change in the bottom of the sixth inning, bringing in freshman Tyler Shingledecker. He seemed to have some freshman jitters as he made a crucial error resulting in a runner on third to come home and tie the game at 1-1.

Johnson completely dominated the top of the seventh inning, going three up, three down — all strikeouts.

"He did a fantastic job and kept us right there," said Purdue head coach Mark Wasikowski. "(He) really pitched exceptionally well."

The Boilermakers were unable to capitalize on the momentum shift as two pop flies and a ground out ended their time at the plate.

The Lions came out in the eighth inning swinging for fences. They sent two bombs to the outfield. One was hauled in by the Boilers the other tipped off junior outfielder Milo Beam's glove, resulting in a crucial error that landed a runner on second, eventually putting him on third with a sac-fly. Johnson, however, was unfazed. He fought through and escaped the inning without giving up a run, leaving the game tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth.

The Boilers were able to get two runners on base in the bottom of the eighth inning, but just like Penn State, they fell just short of batting in a run.  

It all came down to the ninth inning as the two teams entered tied. Just like Friday's matchup, sophomore pitcher Bo Hofstra came in to close and did an amazing job. He had two strike outs to start the inning. However, the third batter got away from him. The next batter popped out, setting up Purdue with a chance to get the walk-off win.

Freshman infielder Ryan Howe came in clutch for Purdue, getting a leadoff single to left field to start the inning for his fifth hit of the series, but his teammates were unable to bring him home.

Boilermaker fans got more for their money as the game then went to extra innings.

Hofstra continued to make winning plays for the Boilers in the tenth inning to help his team survive and move on to the bottom of the inning. Purdue started the bottom of the inning at the top of its lineup, which is a coach's dream. Leadoff hitter junior Skyler Hunter was unable to get on base. However, it was Owen Jansen, who had the RBI that won Fridays matchup, who made tonight's crucial play. He had a double to left field, putting himself in scoring position. Freshman Seth Gergely came into pinch run and stole third base on a wild pitch. After tagging up on a fly ball, Gergely made it home and scored the winning run. 

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