TOURNAMENT INFORMATION: WESTIN LAKE MARY STETSON INVITATIONAL
Purdue vs. Central Michigan (2-5-1), Virginia Tech (3-5) and Stetson (6-1)
Friday to Sunday, March 2 to 4 / Melching Field at Conrad Park / DeLand, Florida
vs. Central Michigan / Friday, March 2 at 1 p.m. ET
vs. Virginia Tech / Saturday, March 3 at 1 p.m.
at Stetson / Saturday, March 4 at 1 p.m.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Gareth Stroh (Jr, LHP) vs. CMU's Michael Brettell (Jr, RHP)
Saturday: Tanner Andrews (Jr, RHP) vs. Va Tech's Ian Seymour (Fr, LHP)
Sunday: TBA for Purdue vs. Stetson's Mitchell Senger (So, LHP)
vs. Central Michigan: CMU leads 2-1 / Last Meeting: CMU 10, Purdue 4 (1996)
vs. Virginia Tech: Tied 2-2 / Last Meetings: Purdue swept a 2-game series (1998)
vs. Stetson: SU leads 4-2 / Last Meetings: Purdue won 2-of-3 (1997)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball travels to the Sunshine State for the first time in five years for another non-conference tournament, taking on three opponents it has not played in two decades at the Westin Lake Mary Stetson Invitational.
The Boilermakers are slated to play three 1 p.m. ET games at Melching Field in DeLand, Florida. Purdue plays Central Michigan on Friday, Virginia Tech on Saturday and host Stetson on Sunday.
Stetson's Sunday starter Mitchell Senger threw a no-hitter in his last start, striking out 16 in a victory vs. George Washington. With identical 6-1 records entering the weekend, the Boilermakers and Hatters were both highlighted among D1baseball.com's 10 teams On the Upswing this week.
Virginia Tech is led by former Maryland coach John Szefc, who made the move from College Park to Blacksburg this past summer. The Terrapins eliminated Purdue from the Big Ten Tournament last season.
Central Michigan and Va Tech are both remaining in Florida for their spring break trips after the weekend is complete in DeLand. That's why they're playing in the tournament finale Sunday at 7 p.m. The two teams are scheduled to play again Wednesday at Stetson.
The Boilermakers begin their eight-game spring break trip next weekend with a three-game series at Tulane. Southeastern Louisiana, Nicholls State and Saint Louis are also on the schedule for the spring break trip.
FIVE YEARS SINCE LAST TRIP TO FLORIDA
Surprisingly, Purdue has not played a game in Florida since the opening weekend of the 2013 campaign. The Boilermakers split their four games at the Big East/Big Ten Challenge in the Clearwater-St. Petersburg area. Purdue opened at the Big East/Big Ten Challenge five straight seasons from 2009 to 2013.
The Boilermakers played 13 games in DeLand from 1993 to 1997, including winning two of three at Stetson during the opening weekend of the 1997 spring break trip. Four of the nine games on the 1994 season-opening spring break trip were played against Va Tech (two) and Stetson (two) in DeLand.
Along with Indiana and Iowa, Purdue is among the three Big Ten teams that are 6-1 entering the third weekend of the young season. The Boilermakers are off to their best seven-game start since the 2012 Big Ten championship team was also 6-1. Purdue teams to open the season 6-1 since 1950 included...
2012: Suffered second loss March 17, dropping to 14-2
2000: Suffered second loss March 4, dropping to 7-2
1964: Suffered second loss April 15, dropping to 7-2
1959: Suffered second loss April 18, dropping to 11-2
1956: Suffered second loss April 27, dropping to 9-2
1955: Suffered second loss April 23, dropping to 7-2-1
1954: Suffered second loss April 24, dropping to 6-2
The 1954 and 1955 teams were coached by NFL hall of famer Hank Stram.
The Boilermakers opened the season 5-1 three seasons in a row from 1989 to 1991 but lost their seventh game each year.
THRILLERS IN THE ALAMO CITY
Purdue won the Alamo Irish Classic last weekend in San Antonio thanks to a pair of last at-bat victories. The Boilermakers scored a combined six runs in the ninth inning in the comeback wins vs. Incarnate Word and Notre Dame. Purdue was down to its final out in the ninth inning of both games, but came up with a clutch hit to plate the game-tying run. The seven heroic hits over the course of the two games included...
Evan Kennedy's pinch-hit two-out double in the 9th vs. UIW
Evan Warden's game-tying two-out RBI double in the 9th vs. UIW, scoring Tyler Powers from second
Skyler Hunter's leadoff double in the 10th vs. UIW
Nick Dalesandro's walk-off single in the 10th vs. UIW, scoring Hunter from second
Hunter's two-run double in the 9th vs. UND
Dalesandro's game-tying infield single in the 9th vs. UND, scoring Hunter from third
Braden Giroux's go-ahead single in the 9th vs. UND, scoring Dalesandro from second
Purdue won twice in its final at-bat during the same weekend for the first time since February 2015 when the Boilermakers defeated Sam Houston State in thrilling fashion in both ends of a doubleheader in Corpus Christi, Texas.
QUICK LOOK AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Highlighted by series wins vs. Northwestern and Missouri State as well as a midweek win at Michigan, the Chippewas won 31 games and the Mid-American Conference's West Division title in 2017. They've already gone to extra innings twice this year as part of a 2-5-1 start that included a tie Sunday at New Mexico due to a travel curfew. Central Michigan gave up 40 runs over four games in the thin air of Albuquerque, 20 coming in a series-opening loss.
Michael Brettell will take the ball for CMU again to begin the weekend after giving up 12 runs on 12 hits and four walks over two innings at New Mexico. But the Canadian was solid in a season-opening win vs. Stephen F. Austin, striking out 10 over seven innings of one-run ball. Dazon Cole has already made four relief appearances, striking out 11 over 8 1/3 innings while surrendering just six hits. He's also an outfielder.
Evan Kratt (11-for-27, .526 OBP, 7 RBI) is off to a hot start this season after batting .302 with 30 RBI a year ago. Catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powell has a .600 OBP to go along with 7 RBI. Leadoff man Zach Giles has more runs scored (10) than hits (9) thanks in part to four extra-base hits and seven free passes.
QUICK LOOK AT VIRGINIA TECH
The Hokies won their home opener in walk-off fashion Tuesday, defeating Radford in 12 innings after tying the game in the bottom of the ninth on a wild pitch. Since giving up 17 runs in a season-opening loss at Coastal Carolina, Va Tech has surrendered just 29 runs in its last seven games. Virginia Tech lost to Iowa in 10 innings and defeated Ball State last weekend in New Orleans.
Lefty Ian Seymour, the projected Saturday starter, has made his first two college starts against Kansas State and Ball State. He's racked up 17 strikeouts over 12 1/3 innings while surrendering just six hits. Andrew McDonald has already made five relief appearances, recording 15 strikeouts over 12 1/3 innings. Both pitchers have also walked six.
Tom Stoffel (11-for-33), Jack Owens (10-for-31) and Sam Fragale (9-for-33) are all back after batting over .300 last season. Fragale is Va Tech's top power hitter, connecting for 14 doubles and 15 homers to go along with 63 RBI in 2017. Stoffel also had big power numbers with 21 doubles, eight homers and 49 RBI a year ago.
QUICK LOOK AT STETSON
The Hatters are an annual contender in the Atlantic Sun Conference and have made nine NCAA Regional appearances since 2000. They went 15-6 in conference play last year, but were under .500 overall at 27-29. Stetson is off to a hot start this season, winning three times in shutout fashion already.
Senger earned numerous national weekly honors for his no-hitter. The 16 strikeouts Sunday were three more than he had for the entirety of his freshman campaign. He issued 20 walks in 17 2/3 innings while making just one start. But his breaking ball and command have taken a big leap this season. The lefty gave up just one earned run over six inning while striking out nine in his season-opening start vs. Manhattan. Closer Brooks Wilson is another power arm the Boilermakers would like to avoid. He has registered 13 strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings while surrendering just one hit.
Austin Hale (7-for-19, .478 OBP) and Jorge Arenas (7-for-27, 5 XBH) have been SU's most productive hitters early this season. Hale led the team with 13 doubles a year ago. Leadoff man Jacob Koos is also back after batting a team-high .217 and stealing 23 bases in 2017.