Ninth inning comeback wins Indiana their first series in West Lafayette since 2002

Hoosiers can’t find grass all day in hard hit balls, but leverage walks and and a pair of contacts in the infield to comeback on Purdue 5-4 Sunday.

By Carl James @jovian34 May 5th, 2024

There was no shortage of hard-hit balls for the Hoosiers Sunday. They just all seemed to find a glove. A Purdue outfield defense that seemingly let everything go over their heads on Saturday, were making plays left, right, and center. So many warning track grabs, diving catches in the gaps, and straight up at-em balls.

It was only fitting that in the ninth inning a comebacker deflected off the pitcher and a misplayed dribbler off the pitcher’s gloves would be the balls in play that got the Hoosiers the 1-run lead they needed to take the series.

Indiana Hoosiers 5, Purdue Boilermakers 4:

Inning by inning details in the Live Game Blog | Box Score

The highlight for the Hoosiers was on the mound, where redshirt freshman righty Jacob Vogel, usually a 1 or 2 inning arm, got the win in 4.0 innings of scoreless work allowing 2 hits, a walk, and hitting one batter. Aydan Decker-Petty allowed 2 runs in 3.2 innings of work. He was really pushed to 76 pitches striking out 6 in his outing in relief of starter Ty Rybarczyk who only went 1.1 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits.

It was hard Sunday to evaluate the Hoosiers offensively by statistics. Only Devin Taylor and Brock Tibbitts got two hits and the team only had 8 in total. However, as mentioned above, this game had a huge number of very loud outs. IUSTV’s Josh Pos caught the following response to a scorched out by Taylor on video.

So, Indiana got into the top of the ninth inning down 4-1 and made a quick out. Then Brock Tibbitts and Carter Mathison got the rally started singles. This prompted the second Purdue pitching change of the day. While pitching changes often have the benefit of giving hitters a different profile to deal with, they also run the risk of not being sharp or accurate.

Jake Stadler walked on four pitches to load the bases. Seeing an opportunity, head coach Jeff Mercer had freshman Andrew Wiggins pinch hit for defensive replacement Hayden Carlson. Wiggins came into the game with a 21% walk rate. Wiggins worked the count and walked as well, scoring Tibbitts. Taylor smacks a comebacker off the pitcher for an RBI station-to-station single. Josh Pyne struck out, but Nick Mitchell also draws a walk to tie the game. Tyler Cerny then taps a pitch with a check swing that the pitcher makes an error on, plating the go-ahead run. Taylor tries to score as well, but is caught in a pickle to end the inning.

It turns out Jacob Vogel only needed the one run lead. He did come off the mound a bit to the left on breaking pitches away missing a few badly, but he compensated in the same at bats, producing two groundouts and flyout to seal the victory. He needed only 51 pitches to get through 4.0 innings.

The win takes the Hoosiers into a three-way tie for second place with Nebraska and Purdue for the Big Ten (B1G) title at 12-6, one game behind league leading Illinois (13-5). If the season ended today, Indiana would be the second seed in the B1G Tournament (see our standings page for a detailed explanation of the current tiebreakers).

Indiana hosts Cincinnati who is having a solid inaugural year in the Big 12 at Bart Kaufman Field at 6pm on Tuesday.