In a very odd finish to Purdue’s game against Michigan in the second round of the winners’ bracket of the Big Ten Tournament, the Boilermakers had a walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to win, 5-4, Thursday night in Omaha.
Purdue’s Milo Beam walked on a wild pitch with one out in the bottom of the ninth. The ball was not immediately fielded by Michigan catcher Harrison Salter, so Beam advanced to second. The Wolverines were caught napping after lackadaisically throwing the ball late to second that nobody covered third so Beam made it there with ease.
Michigan (33-20) intentionally walked the next two Purdue batters – pinch hitter Charlie Natsui and Alec Olund. With the infield pulled in, Purdue third baseman Evan Warden was able to slap the ball up the middle for the game-winning RBI.
Warden was 1 of 4 in the game, but it was Beam’s base running that set up the victory.
“When I was walked, I saw the ball get by the catcher so I was running fast,” Beam said in a post-game interview on BTN. “I slid (into second base) because one of the middle infielders he was putting the (fake) tag down, so I thought there was going to be a play. Then I hear Was (head coach Mark Wasikowski, who was the third base coach) yell, ‘Milo, Milo’ so I ran and there was nobody there either.”
The two intentional walks filled the bases with one out, which set up Warden’s walk off hit.
“We're all confident that whomever it was (batting) would get the job done,” Beam said. “All he had to do is put the ball in play and I was going to score no matter where it was. He got it up the middle and I scored and that was that."
Dalton Parker, a reliever who pitched the top of the ninth, got the win for Purdue.
Starter Gareth Stroh pitched 5 2/3 innings, but was pulled with the bases loaded, leading 3-0. Bo Hofstra relieved, got a strikeout on the first batter, but the ball was not caught after the swing.
Purdue catcher Nick Dalesondro, who could have stepped on home plate for a force out, threw late to first allowing a run to score. Then Michigan's next batter hit a single driving in two. That tied the game at 3, but all the runs were unearned.
Purdue took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth, but Michigan came back to tie it with a run in the eighth.
Having won its first two games, Purdue (36-18) gets a day off and will next play at 1 p.m., Saturday, in Omaha. It will play the winner of Friday's Illinois vs. Indiana game.