Blake Mascarello, Purdue fall in elimination game at NCAA Gary Regional
By Mike Clark Post-Tribune correspondent June 3, 2012 11:34PM
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:21AM
GARY — Blake Mascarello’s final game in a Purdue uniform didn’t turn out the way he would have liked, but he can’t argue with what went before.
Mascarello, a lefty from Crown Point, was part of by far the most successful senior class in Boilermaker baseball history.
The book was closed on that group Sunday at U.S. Steel Yard, when Purdue fell 6-3 to Kentucky in an elimination game of the NCAA Gary Regional.
The Boilermakers finished 45-14, breaking the school record for wins (37) they tied a year ago. Purdue also won its first Big Ten tournament title and its first league championship since 1909. The Boilermakers also made just their second NCAA postseason appearance, getting the first playoff win in school history when they beat Valparaiso on Friday night.
Even just minutes removed from a season-ending loss, Mascarello could see the big picture.
“Every year you expect to have a big year,” he said. “But this year we exceeded our expectations. It feels great to be a part of the first team that’s going to do this. I think there will be many more coming along the line.”
And Mascarello was a big part of what Purdue did this season. An All-Big Ten second team pick, he finished 8-1 with a 1.85 ERA and a 49-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
He worked in two of the Boilermakers’ three regional games, throwing 3 2/3 innings of six-hit, one-run relief on Sunday.
Mascarello relieved starter Robert Ramer during Kentucky’s decisive fourth inning, when the Wildcats scored four times to erase a 2-0 deficit. A dropped fly ball by Purdue center fielder Tyler Spillner opened the door for Kentucky, which got a two-run single from Cameron Flynn, an RBI double from Zac Zellers and a run-scoring single by Matt Reida.
Mascarello kept the game within reach. But the deficit proved too much for Purdue, which was limited to RBI hits by Kevin Plawecki (triple) and Barrett Serrato (double) in the first, and Cameron Perkins in the eighth.
Still, one loss — even in the postseason — isn’t much against all the good memories Mascarello has of his time in West Lafayette.
“This is the closest group of players I’ve ever been around in any sport,” he said. “And that says a lot about the senior class.”
Purdue coach Doug Schreiber isn’t looking forward to saying goodbye to that group. But he is eager to see what lies ahead for a program on the rise, one that will open a new stadium next season.
“There will be new names and new faces,” Schreiber said. “But the expectations will be the same.”