College baseball: Purdue tops error-prone Valparaiso in NCAA opener
By Mike Clark Post-Tribune correspondent June 2, 2012 4:34AM
Valparaiso's Andrew Bain leads off second base with Purdue's David Miller holding in the first inning of the second game of the Gary Regional of the NCAA Baseball Tournamen at the Steel Yard. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
GARY – Ryan Bridges knew what the fans at U.S. Steel Yard were going through.
Bridges and his Purdue teammates couldn’t do much as the hours passed while Kent State and Kentucky played a 21-inning marathon in the opener of the NCAA Gary Regional Friday night.
“I was (going) back and forth (between the stands and locker room) then got sick and tired of it,” said Bridges, a first baseman from Griffith. “I just kind of sat in the locker room and watched TV a little bit, just relaxed and tried to stay a little focused.”
Mission accomplished. Bridges had two hits and some nice scoops of off-target throws as the Boilermakers knocked off error-prone Valparaiso 7-2 in a game that ended early Saturday morning.
Joe Haase (11-1) pitched six-hit, one-run ball over seven innings as Purdue (45-12) earned its first-ever NCAA tournament win. Barrett Serrato and Cameron Perkins each had two hits and two RBI for the Boilermakers, who play Kent State at 7 tonight in the winners’ bracket final.
Valparaiso (35-25), making its first NCAA playoff appearance since 1968, committed five errors and gave up six unearned runs.
“We played hard, we just didn’t play very well tonight,” VU coach Tracy Woodson said. “That’s what’s disappointing.”
The Crusaders went up 1-0 in the top of the third when Andrew Bain, singled home Billy Cribbs, who doubled and advanced on Steven Scoby’s sacrifice.
But Serrato’s two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the third put the Boilermakers ahead to stay. And while VU was squandering scoring chances against Haase, Purdue was capitalizing on the Crusaders’ defensive lapses and making some web gems of their own,
Bridges scooped a low throw from Perkins on Cribbs’ grounder with two out and two on in the fourth, and second baseman Brandon Krieg robbed Bain of an apparent hit up the middle in the seventh.
“It wasn’t the cleanest of games,” said Purdue coach Doug Schreiber, whose team made two errors. “But after waiting six hours at the ballpark, we’ll take any kind of win we can get.”
Valparaiso starter Tyler Deetjen (8-3) went 6 2/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and seven runs (one earned) while striking out five and walking one.
“Our strengths are pitching and defense,” Woodson said. “Tyler did exactly what he’s done all year. We just didn’t make plays.”
Purdue added a run in the fourth and two more in both the sixth and seventh. Valparaiso got its final run in the eighth on Cribbs’ RBI single.