IU baseball beat Purdue 17-2 in seven innings in its home opener Wednesday at Bart Kaufman Field.
During the fifth inning when IU widened its lead by six runs, the two teams agreed on a 10-run mercy rule after seven innings.
The game started off precariously for IU in the top of the first inning. Sophomore pitcher McCade Brown loaded the bases with a walk and hit two batters with a pitch. He then walked junior outfielder Miles Simington, which scored a run for Purdue.
Opening struggles in the field didn’t stop the Hoosiers from starting out strong offensively. They scored seven runs in the first inning, making it through the entire lineup and allowing junior infielder Drew Ashley and sophomore outfielder Grant Richardson to bat twice.
Senior infielder Jordan Fucci started off the runs for IU in the first inning when he hit a long double that cleared the loaded bases. Fucci had five runs batted in this game and went 2-4 at the plate.
“I was just trying to stay simple,” Fucci said. “Hit something backside. Try to drop some runs in, and it paid off. I just don’t try to do too much when people are on base.”
IU head coach Jeff Mercer said Fucci’s three-RBI double set the tone for the game. The Hoosiers scored one run in the second inning, three in the fourth and six in the fifth.
Every player on IU’s starting lineup scored at least one run during the game, and all but two players scored in the first inning. Junior infielder Cole Barr first scored in the second inning and senior infielder Jeremy Houston scored in the fifth. Barr and junior outfielder Elijah Dunham both scored three runs.
Purdue could not keep up with IU offensively. The team only had five hits compared to IU’s 16, a season best for IU. After scoring because of a walk in the first inning, Purdue didn’t score again until the seventh, which was an unearned run due to a fielding error.
Purdue had seven different pitchers in the game, only two of whom pitched a full inning or more. The team replaced its starter junior pitcher Andrew Bohm in the first inning after only one out because he had allowed seven runs.
IU also replaced its starting pitcher early when the team took Brown out after the first inning. He was removed as a precaution because of an injury, and senior Cal Krueger came in without warming up in the bullpen.
“He’s the guy that you just trust in a tough spot to be able to come in and handle the situation,” Mercer said. “He came in to settle things down and throw strikes and execute. He got us a chance to kind of get back onto our game plan.”
Krueger pitched two innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. He had two strikeouts.
“We thought it was going to be a tight game today, but for a home opener you can’t really ask for much else,” Krueger said. “It was a fun game, a lot of guys got in and we just took care of business.”
Even with IU’s win over Purdue by 15 runs, Mercer still sees areas where the team needs to improve.
“We’re on a journey,” Mercer said. “We did a lot of knucklehead things today. We were really bad around the bases, we didn’t throw fastballs for strikes, we didn’t throw breaking balls very well and we didn’t take care of the ball late. We had some things that we need to get better and clean up and go back to work tomorrow.”