March 18, 2013
Midweek Stat Pack | Listen | Watch (PPV) | Game Day Central (with Live Links)
Probable Starting Pitchers
Robert Ramer (Sr, RHP) vs. UIC's Mike McKinley (Jr, RHP)
Series History vs. Illinois-Chicago
All-Time Series: Purdue leads 11-6
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. UIC: Purdue leads 6-3 (Since 1999)
First Meetings of 2013: UIC 9, Purdue 2 & Purdue 17, UIC 10 (March 8-9 in Chicago)
Last Meeting in West Lafayette: Purdue 11, UIC 4 (2012)
First Meetings: Purdue swept a doubleheader 5-0 & 14-4 (1982 in West Lafayette)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- While a familiar face will be on the mound to start the game, practically everything else will have a new feel to it as Purdue baseball opens its home schedule with the inaugural game at the Alexander Field Tuesday.
The Boilermakers (7-11) will host Illinois-Chicago (7-9) Tuesday at 4 p.m. as the premiere week at the program's new home stadium gets underway. The inaugural homestand at Alexander Field also features visits from Ohio State (March 22-24) and IPFW (March 27).
General admission tickets have been specially priced for $1 Tuesday. Purdue has won 17 consecutive midweek games dating back to March 2011. That streak does not include games played on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday on the spring break trip the last two seasons.
The Boilermakers officially moved into Alexander Field in August of 2012 as the new school year got underway. The team practiced there throughout the fall and played the annual five-game Black and Gold intrasquad series at the new ballpark. The John Purdue Club's annual Old Gold Black Dinner and a Purdue baseball championship dinner and ring ceremony, honoring the 2012 Big Ten title team, were also marquee events held at the new facility in the fall. But the first homestand of regular-season games in front of a home crowd will officially christen the park this week.
The Boilermakers finally got an opportunity to hold their first team practice of the season at Alexander Field Sunday. Leading up to the spring break trip, the lingering winter weather had forced Purdue to hold practice in the Mollenkopf Athletic Center and occasionally on the artificial turf football practice fields north of Mollenkopf.
Lambert Field was the home of Purdue baseball from 1965 through 2012. The field was razed not long after the 2012 home finale and that location now serves as parking lot for the new and improved Cordova Recreational Sports Center. The Boilermakers closed out the ballpark in style last May, clinching the Big Ten title during the final home weekend and winning the final game at Lambert in walk-off fashion.
Robert Ramer was also the starting pitcher in the Lambert finale against Indiana State. While the senior is only expected to pitch the first two innings Tuesday against UIC, the honor of being the man on the mound for the beginning of the inaugural game at the new ballpark also goes to Ramer. He has already earned his bachelor's degree and is currently an MBA at Purdue.
Ramer pitched the Boilers to a win at Cincinnati last Tuesday, earning his 15th career victory with 8 2/3 innings of four-run ball. The senior was scheduled to start Sunday's game at Evansville, but it was moved to the nightcap of a doubleheader on Saturday due to forecasted rain showers. Because he would have been pitching on three days after throwing over 100 pitches at Cincinnati, Ramer was used in relief instead of starting the series finale Sunday. He closed out the 4-1 win in game one of the doubleheader, working two innings of scoreless relief that clinched the series win. It was his first save since 2010.
By working only the first two innings Tuesday, Ramer should be available to return to the weekend rotation for Sunday's series finale against Ohio State. He has been Purdue's starting pitcher 10 times during the current 17-game midweek win streak.
The Boilermakers have won four of their last six games, a stretch that has seen the team play much better after struggling through a seven-game losing streak from Feb. 24 through March 8. Purdue snapped the streak by scoring a season-high 17 runs thanks to a 20-hit effort in a game two win at UIC. The rubber game of the weekend series in Chicago was rained out.
Four notable lineup changes were utilized for the first time in the March 9 win at UIC. Sean McHugh returned to catcher and Conner Hudnall moved from right field to third base to replace McHugh. Freshmen Jack Picchiotti and Jack Amaro were inserted into the corner outfield spots, adjacent to Stephen Talbott in center. McHugh, Hudnall and Picchiotti (left) have started every game in those positions since.
Illinois-Chicago probable starter Mike McKinley worked a scoreless inning of relief in his team's series-opening win against the Boilers. Ramer has earned three wins against UIC as a midweek starter, giving up five runs over 13 innings while issuing only one walk. He was scheduled to start the game that was rained out in Chicago two weekends ago.
Talbott is 9-for-20 with four walks and 14 runs scored against the Flames during his career. He connected for a two-run homer in the series opener at UIC earlier this month.