Feb. 28, 2014
Saturday Weather Forecast for Birmingham, Ala.
65 degrees, clear skies
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue baseball takes on a pair of familiar foes for a doubleheader against two different teams Saturday, squaring off against Butler and Samford at Joe Lee Griffin Field on Samford's campus in the Birmingham suburb of Homewood.
First pitch vs. Butler is set for 11:30 a.m. ET. The nightcap against Samford will follow at 3 p.m. ET. The doubleheader is taking place of what was originally supposed to be the middle game of a three-game set featuring the Bulldogs of Indianapolis and the Bulldogs of Birmingham. Butler (1-4) and Samford (3-4) were kind enough to let Purdue (0-6) join the weekend schedule after the Boilers' series at Missouri State was canceled due to winter weather in the forecast for Springfield, Mo.
Purdue head coach Doug Schreiber said Wednesday that he wanted to see how the returning guys would compete this weekend after there were some low moments for the Boilers against Butler and Samford a year ago. Butler scored seven times in the second inning of the April 2 game at Alexander Field last season en route to an 8-4 win. The loss ended Purdue's nine-game win streak in the series that dated back to 1996. It was also the program's first midweek loss since March 2011.
The Boilermakers played Samford five times in the span of 10 days early last season. Purdue was 3-2 on the young campaign after winning the first meeting at Mississippi State's tournament, only to lose the next four games against Samford as part of a skid that reached seven straight overall. The two neutral-site games in Starkville were both tightly contested and not decided until the eighth inning. But in Birmingham, Samford outscored the Boilers 25-7 in a three-game sweep.
Purdue faced Samford's projected Saturday starter, right-hander Alex Milazzo, twice last season. Butler's Kyle Kramp started against the Boilers in the 2011 meeting in Indianapolis. Assistant coach Payton Bieker was the starting catcher in the game, but otherwise no active Boilermakers saw action in the 10-8 Purdue win.
The Boilermakers will look to begin getting their season on track against a pair of teams that have also experienced some early-season struggles. Like Purdue, Butler had its season-opening weekend impacted by weather. Instead of playing in a USA Baseball Tournament in Cary, N.C., the Bulldogs split a two-game series with Illinois State in Nashville in what was a late replacement to the schedule. Butler lost all three of its games at a tournament in Spartanburg, S.C., last weekend.
Samford is currently in the midst of a season-opening 10-game homestand. But the Bulldogs dropped two of three to Valparaiso and Memphis in their first two home series.
Conner Hudnall, Brandon Krieg and Sean McHugh each had a four-hit game against Samford last season. Krieg also connected for his first collegiate home run at Joe Lee Griffin Field in the finale of last year's series in Birmingham. But Samford took advantage of the hitter-friendly left field to the tune of five home runs in the series against the Boilers. The Bulldogs have already hit nine home runs in their seven home games entering the weekend.
Joe Eichmann's 7 2/3 innings of one-run relief highlighted last year's game against Butler. It was the longest outing by a Purdue reliever since at least the beginning of the 2008 campaign.
Purdue's Recent Doubleheaders vs. Two Different Teams
Feb. 22, 2013: vs. Samford (W, 9-4) & at #5 Mississippi State (L, 3-2) - Starkville, Miss.
Feb. 17, 2013: vs. #4 Louisville (L, 9-4) & vs. Connecticut (W, 5-3) - St. Petersburg, Fla.
Feb. 25, 2012: at #20 East Carolina (W, 6-4) & vs. Maryland (L, 11-1) - Greenville, N.C.
Feb. 18, 2012: vs. Connecticut (W, 9-4) & vs. Cincinnati (W, 6-0) - St. Petersburg, Fla.
May 28, 2010: vs. Indiana (W, 15-5) & vs. Iowa (L, 8-3) - Columbus, Ohio (Big Ten Tournament)
Feb. 21, 2009: vs. Michigan (L, 4-3) & vs. South Florida (L, 7-5) - Clearwater, Fla.
May 24, 2008: vs. Indiana (W, 11-7) & at Michigan (L, 3-2) - Ann Arbor, Mich. (Big Ten Tournament)