Purdue (8-2) at Tulane (6-7)
Friday to Sunday, March 9 to 11 at 7:30, 3 and 2 p.m. ET
Greer Field at Turchin Stadium / New Orleans, Louisiana
All-Time Series: Tied 1-1
Last Meetings: Split a 2-game series (1950 in New Orleans)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Tanner Andrews (Sr, RHP) vs. Tulane's Kaleb Roper (Jr, RHP)
Saturday: Gareth Stroh (Jr, LHP) vs. Tulane's Ross Massey (Jr, LHP)
Sunday: Bo Hofstra (Fr, RHP) vs. Keagan Gillies (So, RHP)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball begins its annual spring break trip with a return to traditional three-game weekend series, taking on Tulane in the program's first visit to New Orleans since the 1950s.
First pitch at Greer Field is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (all times ET). After the season-opening series at Baylor was canceled due to a grounded flight, this weekend will be the Boilermakers' first series of the year on an opponent's home field.
Purdue has made two trips to the state of Louisiana this century, opening the 2006 campaign at a tournament hosted by Louisiana-Lafayette and visiting Baton Rouge for a series at LSU in March 2014. However, the program's last game in the Big Easy was against Loyola University of Louisiana in April 1952.
With the Boilermakers' schedule now featuring traditional three-game weekend series for the remainder of the regular season, the coaching staff has opted to rearrange the rotation. Tanner Andrews and Gareth Stroh will return to the Friday and Saturday starter roles they enjoyed success in a year ago. From the Santa Clara series (March 17-18) through the end of the regular season last year, Andrews and Stroh helped lead Purdue to a 14-7 record on Fridays and Saturdays.
Having pitched 10 1/3 innings over his five relief appearances through the first 10 games of the season, freshman Bo Hofstra was eligible to be ranked among the Big Ten leaders this week. He's tops in the conference with a .088 batting average against and second with a 0.87 ERA. He'll get an opportunity to make his first start Sunday. He's believed to be one of only four freshmen nationally this season to have retired at least 15 consecutive batters. However, he was the only one of the quartet to retire 18 in a row to begin the season.
Purdue's bullpen has worked a combined 18 innings over its first three Sunday games of the season. The Boilermakers have not held the lead at any point during the first five innings of a Sunday game this year. Purdue battled through Sunday struggles in 2017 as well, going 2-9 on the final day of the weekend.
It's an eight-game spring break trip again this year. The Boilermakers remain down on the bayou for midweek games at Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls State before heading north to the Gateway to the West for a weekend series at Saint Louis. Purdue won the final five games of its spring break trip a year ago as part of the first of two seven-game win streaks in 2017.
-- Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) March 7, 2018
RED HOT MIDDLE OF THE LINEUP
Hofstra isn't the only Boilermaker atop the Big Ten this week. Jacson McGowan (6 homers, 1.000 slugging percentage) and Nick Dalesandro (.472 batting average, .556 on-base percentage) also lead the league in multiple statistical categories, Skyler Hunter is right on their heels in batting average (.447) and on-base percentage (.500) while ranking second in the league in runs scored (14).
As the 3-4-5 heart of the order, Hunter, McGowan and Dalesandro have carried the load in terms of run production. Combined they've accounted for at least 50 percent of the team's total in four key statistical categories.
|Statistic/Totals||Team Total||3-4-5 Total||3-4-5 Accounted For|
|Home Runs||9||7 (McGowan 6)||78 percent|
|Runs Scored||69||36||52 percent|
|RBI||64||33 (McGowan 17)||52 percent|
|Walks||44||16 (Dalesandro 8)||36 percent|
ON BASE SAFELY 10 TIMES AT STETSON TOURNAMENT
Dalesandro (8-for-11, 2 walks) and McGowan (5-for-9, 4 walks, HBP) both reached base safely 10 times over the course of Purdue's three games last weekend in Florida. They both had on-base percentages of .714.
Harry Shipley was the last Boilermaker to post an on-base percentage of .700 or better during a weekend series in which the batter made at least 10 plate appearances. Shipley (3-for-5, 3 walks, 3 HBP) did it at Indiana in April 2016. Bryce Bonner (4-for-5, 3 BB, Sac Fly) finished one plate appearance shy of duplicating the feat last season at Texas State.
Kyle Wood (9-for-11, 2 walks, 2 HR, 7 RBI) was the last Boilermaker to bat over .700 with at least 10 at-bats during a three-game weekend series, as Dalesandro did at Stetson's Tournament. Wood accomplished the feat at Oklahoma in March 2015 and won Big Ten Player of the Week for his big weekend.
PURDUE ON SPRING BREAK THIS DECADE
2017: 5-3 -- at Cal State Northridge (1-3), at Santa Clara (4-0)
2016: 2-4 -- at Kansas Tournament (1-2), vs. Ohio in Kokomo (1-2)
2015: 4-4 -- vs. Northern Illinois in Westfield (2-1), at Louisville (L), Valpo (W), Rutgers (1-2)
2014: 2-6 -- at San Diego State (0-4), at Butler (W), at Southern Illinois (1-2)
2013: 4-3 -- at Illinois-Chicago (1-1), at Cincinnati (W), at Louisville (L), at Evansville (2-1)
2012: 6-2 -- at Murray State (3-0), at Missouri State (W), at Wichita State (2-2)
2011: 4-4 -- at UT Martin (2-1), at Vanderbilt (L), at Belmont (L), at Tennessee Tech (2-1)
2010: 6-2 -- at Evansville Tournament (2-1), at Eastern Kentucky (1-1), at Ohio (3-0)
PURDUE TEAMS TO WIN EIGHT OF THEIR FIRST 10 GAMES
Since Purdue's last trip to New Orleans in 1952 (Final Record in Parenthesis)
2018: 8-2 entering weekend of March 9 to 11
2012 (45-14): Opened season 14-1; suffered third loss on March 17, dropping to 14-3
2011 (37-20): Suffered third loss on March 13, dropping to 11-3
1993 (36-22): Suffered third loss on March 27, dropping to 16-3
1964 (15-10): Suffered third loss on May 1, dropping to 12-3
1963 (16-14): Suffered third loss on April 13, dropping to 10-3
1959 (18-11-1): Suffered third loss on April 18, dropping to 11-3
1956 (13-15): Opened season 9-1; suffered third loss on April 28, dropping to 9-3
QUICK LOOK AT TULANE
The Green Wave made the move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference in time for the 2015 baseball season. David Pierce led Tulane to consecutive NCAA Regional appearances in 2015 and 2016 before taking over as the head coach at Texas. Travis Jewett is now in his second season as the head coach after a long stretch as an assistant in the Pac-12. His most recent stops were at Arizona State (2010-12) and Vanderbilt (2013-16).
Third baseman Kody Hoese is a Highland, Indiana, native. He's one of four regulars batting over .300 early this season. He's also helped the Green Wave compile a strong .983 fielding percentage, committing just eight errors in 13 games. Five of those gaffes have been charged to pitchers. Matt Rowland and Grant Weatherspoon have been the primary run producers with seven extra-base hits and 12 RBI apiece.
Sunday starter Keagan Gillies, a 6-foot-8 right-hander, has been the team's most effective pitcher early this season, surrendering just 12 hits through 17 innings. Tulane's staff pitches to contact effectively, limiting opposing hitters to a .248 batting average even with a 6.4 strikeouts per nine innings clip. Lefty Sam Bjorngjeld has been effective as a frequently used reliever, surrendering just one run on three hits over 7 2/3 innings. He's pitched in 9 of the first 13 games, headlining a relief corps that has seen eight pitchers already make at least four appearances.
The Green Wave have played a quality schedule, which has featured weekend series vs. Wright State, Mississippi and Cal State Fullerton. They were swept in Oxford but are 6-3 at home, losing 13-12 at home Wednesday vs. a good Southeastern Louisiana team Purdue will play next week.