For the second straight day, the Crusaders received a strong effort from a starting pitcher, but were held scoreless inside a Big Ten park. Purdue defeated Valpo 2-0 at Alexander Field Wednesday afternoon despite Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point) turning in 6 2/3 innings of stellar pitching.
Jack Picchiotti broke a scoreless tie in the fifth when he sent a 1-1 offering from Foreman over the wall in right.
The Crusaders missed a golden opportunity to respond in their half of the sixth. Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) stroked a one-out to single to chase Purdue starting pitcher Shane Bryant. Boilermaker skipper Doug Schreiber brought reliever Joe Eichmann in to face Daniel Delaney (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks [Fresno State]). Eichmann promptly walked the Crusader backstop on four straight pitches. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position with one out.
Eichmann settled in and picked up two momentuous strikeouts to keep the shutout bid intact.
Purdue added a cushion run in the seventh when Cody Strong plated Picchiotti with a two-out RBI single.
Like Connor Kaucic yesterday, Foreman pitched well enough for his team to win. He allowed just two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander walked a batter and punched out three.
Jason Condit (Putnam, Ill./Henry-Senachwine [Illinois Central College]) kept the Crusaders in the ballgame when he entered in the bottom half of the seventh. Purdue had the bases loaded with two outs and its leadoff batter at the dish, but Condit got Michael Vilardo down on strikes to end the frame and keep it 2-0.
Boilermaker reliever Alex Wood proved to be too much for the Brown and Gold, though. The lefty struck out the side in the eighth, racking up a total of five in 2 2/3 innings.
Junior Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) boosted his average to .317 with his fourth two-hit game since March 8th. He also drew a walk in the ninth inning.
Palace, Delaney, and Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) all reached base twice.
The Crusaders (4-12, 1-2 Horizon) will welcome Youngstown State (4-8, 1-2 Horizon) to Emory G. Bauer Field for a three-game set this weekend. The Penguins will be the home team for all three tilts. The two teams will play a single game Friday and a doubleheader Saturday. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 1:00 pm CT.