WEEKEND SERIES INFORMATION
Purdue at Texas State
Friday to Sunday, Feb. 17 to 19 at 7, 2, 1 p.m. ET / 4-Game Series with Saturday Doubleheader
Bobcat Ballpark / San Marcos, Texas
All-Time Series: Texas State leads 3-0
Last Meetings: Texas State swept a three-game series (March 2009 in San Marcos)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Tanner Andrews (Jr, RHP) vs. TXST's Connor Reich (So, RHP)
Saturday Game 1: Gareth Stroh (So, LHP) vs. TXST's Brandon Lewis (So, LHP)
Saturday Game 2: Tanner Schumacher (Sr, RHP) vs. TXST's Nick Fraze (Fr, RHP)
Sunday: TBA for Purdue vs. TXST's Wes Engle (So, RHP)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball begins its new era with a season-opening series at Texas State, visiting the Lone Star for its inaugural weekend under the guidance of new head coach Mark Wasikowski.
First pitch at Bobcat Ballpark in San Marcos is slated for 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. for Saturday's doubleheader and 1 p.m. Sunday (all times ET). The Boilermakers will be opening a new season with a four-game weekend against a single opponent for the first time since playing five straight against North Carolina State to begin the 1987 campaign, which ended in the team's first-ever NCAA Regional appearance. This season is Purdue's 130th as an intercollegiate program.
The Boilermakers' first 28-man travel roster of the new season features 15 new players -- seven freshmen and eight transfers. Five of those players are expected to be in the lineup for Friday's opener. Starting pitcher Tanner Andrews is not among the newcomers, as he's in line to become the first Boilermaker to start consecutive season openers on the mound since Matt Bischoff made three straight opening day starts from 2008 to 2010.
Senior Tanner Schumacher is slated to start game three of the series. He was the first man out of the bullpen in the opener a year ago, working a combined 7 1/3 innings during the opening weekend of 2016. The two Tanners both pitched in a team-high 21 games last season so they're familiar faces on the mound for Purdue.
What won't be a familiar is a southpaw starting for the Boilermakers. Set to start game one of Saturday's doubleheader, newcomer Gareth Stroh is in line to become Purdue's first left-hander to start on the mound since Jordan Minch made the last of his 25 career starts in May 2014. Only 12 of Purdue's 472 2/3 innings pitched, just 2 ½ percent, were thrown by left-handers last year.
ICYMI: Coach Waz & our guys detailed how the new coaching staff has put in place a new approach in preparing for '17 https://t.co/Y7rTpfgS1P
-- Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) February 11, 2017
The Boilermakers are expected to employ an aggressive style of play under Wasikowski, who has stressed a brand of instinctive baseball in working the count, running the bases and playing defense. Preparation and attention to detail are the essentials to the fabric of the program he and his staff have worked diligently to install in their first year. Purdue was just 3-18 in games decided by two runs or fewer last season. Finding a way to win more of those close games would be step one in returning to a level of competitiveness the program will need to end their four-year Big Ten Tournament drought.
Purdue is making its first trip to the Lone Star State since playing in Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's tournament in February 2015. It's the program's first visit to San Marcos since March 2009 when Purdue was the opponent for the first weekend series in the history of Bobcat Ballpark. New Boilermakers and Texas native Bryce Bonner (Katy) and Cameron Williams (Seabrook) are both part of the travel roster this weekend.
Current Major League Baseball all-star and Texas State alumnus Paul Goldschmidt demonstrated his immense potential in Purdue's previous visit to San Marcos, finishing the weekend 6-for-14 with four home runs and 12 RBI.
Texas State joined the Sun Belt Conference in time for the 2014 baseball season. The Boilermakers will play another Sun Belt Conference team next weekend when they travel to Little Rock. The Bobcats were picked fourth (of six) in the Sun Belt's West Division this season after posting a 31-28 record a year ago. Junior college transfer Connor Reich will take the ball for the season opener. He redshirted at TCU as a freshman in 2015 before recording seven wins and 60 strikeouts in 48 innings last year at Navarro College. Jonathan Ortega is the Bobcats' top returning position player. He led the team with 252 at-bats as a freshman, batting .286 with 14 doubles, 35 RBI and eight sacrifice bunts.