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Purdue sends Ohio State baseball to brink of elimination

Shelby Lum / Lantern photographer

Big Ten baseball’s best was more than Ohio State could handle.

The top-seeded Purdue Boilermakers (42-12) edged the Bukeyes (32-26), 5-4, in large part to the play of the Big Ten’s Player of the Year, catcher Kevin Plawecki, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI’s and a home run that gave the Boilermakers the lead back after squandering it away.

In the seventh-inning, with a runner on and trailing 3-2, the Purdue junior drove the first pitch he saw from Buckeyes sophomore starter John Kuchno down the left-field line for a go-ahead, two-run home run.

“I was just looking for a pitch to drive,” Plawecki said. “Getting late into the game, I knew we had to get a rally going.”

Plawecki’s seventh-inning long ball knocked Kuchno out of the game and gave the Boilermakers the lead for good.

“He just flipped (the pitch) over and hit it out,” Kuchno said. “Hooked it right inside the (foul) pole.”

Purdue surrendered its lead in the sixth inning after a pair of OSU extra-base hits gave the Buckeyes the 3-2 advantage.

The first extra-base knock came off the bat of OSU designated hitter Mike Carroll. The sophomore drove a pitch into the gap in right center field for a triple, scoring junior Brad Hallberg to tie the game at two.

Buckeyes, sophomore first baseman Josh Dezse followed Carroll with a double to left center, giving his team a one-run lead.

It didn’t last long though, as Plawecki’s homer came just an inning later.

Albeit in a losing effort, OSU coach Greg Beals said he was proud of his team and thought the game was well-played by both teams.

“Obviously it was a tough loss for the Buckeyes tonight,” Beals said. “But I liked how our guys played and competed. The No. 1 team in our conference and the hometown team went at it, head-to-head in a one-run ball game, and I thought it was a very well-played, competitive college baseball game.”

OSU returns to the field Friday afternoon to take on Nebraska in an elimination game at 12:05 p.m. The winner will play again at 3:35 p.m.

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