By AUSTIN BRAMLEY
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A two-run eighth inning propelled Purdue to a 2-0 victory over the University of Iowa baseball team in both teams’ Big Ten opener Friday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
After playing seven scoreless innings, the game was halted with one out in the eighth. Following a 70-minute rain delay, the Boilermakers jumped on UI reliever Drake Robison.
Purdue’s Nick Dalesandro took the first pitch he saw and laced an RBI triple into the right center field gap to give the Boilermakers a 1-0 lead. On the next pitch, Jacson McGowan doubled to right center to extend the margin to 2-0.
Iowa had its chances throughout the game, stranding two base runners in each of the first three innings and nine for the game. The Hawkeyes were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“We had some really bad at-bats with runners in scoring position in the first six innings, and ultimately that’s what came back to bite us,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We have to score to win, and we weren’t very good offensively today. Their pitchers did a good job of battling.”
Iowa’s pitching staff battled, too.
Starting right-hander Nick Gallagher pitched five strong innings after missing last Friday’s start at Kansas State. The junior pitched five shutout innings, allowing five hits and fanning four.
“The big positive today was that Nick Gallagher was sharp,” said Heller. “After missing last week’s start, he pitched extremely well.”
Senior Josh Martsching entered the game in the sixth, and continued to mow down the Boilermakers. The Bloomfield, Iowa, native retired all six batters he faced, striking out five in two innings of work.
Iowa junior Tyler Cropley collected a career-high three hits, finishing 3-for-4 with a four-inning triple. Senior Mason McCoy (2-for-3 and freshman Grant Judkins (2-for-4) also had multi-hit games.
“I was feeling it starting in batting practice today,” Cropley said. “I wanted to build off of how I hit in the Bradley game and just keep swinging the way I have been.”
Robison (1-2) suffered the loss, allowing two runs on two hits in one inning in relief. It was his first relief appearance since the opening weekend of the season.
Purdue starter Tanner Andrews tossed six shutout innings, allowing six hits and fanning four. Dalton Parker (2-1) earned the win, allowing one hit in one inning of relief before Cameron Williams got the final six outs to notch his first save.
Game two of the series is slated for Saturday at 2:05 p.m. (CT).