Probable Pitching Matchups Game One Friday: Brad Schreiber (Jr, RHP) vs. OSU's Jaron Long (Jr, RHP)
Game Two Saturday: Jordan Minch (Fr, LHP) vs. OSU's Brad Goldberg (Sr, RHP)
Game Three Saturday: Robert Ramer (Sr, RHP) vs. OSU's Brian King (Sr, LHP)
Series History All-Time Series: Ohio State leads 137-61-1
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. OSU: Ohio State leads 30-13
2012: Purdue Won 3-of-4, Winning 2-of-3 in Columbus & the Big Ten Tournament Meeting
Last Series in West Lafayette: Ohio State swept a three-game series (2009)
Purdue's Last Series Win vs. OSU in West Lafayette: Purdue swept a 4-game series (1987)
First Meeting: Purdue 4, OSU 3 (1913 in West Lafayette)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Big Ten Conference play gets underway and Alexander Field premieres this weekend as Purdue baseball welcomes Ohio State to campus for the first time since 2009 for a three-game series at the Boilermakers' new stadium.
The series schedule was reorganized Thursday due to the persistent unseasonable weather. The inaugural game at Alexander Field is now set for Friday at 5 p.m. With rain and snow in the forecast for Sunday, games two and three will be played as part of a 2 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.
Purdue (7-11) and Ohio State (12-6) did not play in 2010 and 2011 as the lone non-play opponents on each other's Big Ten schedules. The Boilermakers won three of the four meetings last season, taking two-of-three in the Big Ten-opening series in Columbus and winning the Big Ten Tournament meeting in the semifinal round of the winner's bracket.
The road team has won the last four Purdue-OSU series dating back to 2007. The Buckeyes took weekend sets in West Lafayette in 2007 and 2009. The Boilermakers enjoyed victorious weekends in Columbus in 2008 and again last year. Meanwhile, Purdue has won five consecutive weekend series at home dating back to May 2011.
Due in part to the Boilers' large amount of roster turnover from last season coupled with not playing OSU in 2010 and 2011, only four active Purdue players have seen action in games against the Buckeyes. Angelo Cianfrocco enjoyed a strong showing against OSU a season ago, finishing the four games 6-for-17 with a double and six RBI.
Each member of the Boilers' weekend rotation -- Brad Schreiber, Jordan Minch and Robert Ramer -- won his last start. Schreiber worked six innings of one-run ball in the series-opening win at Evansville last weekend. Opposing hitters went just 1-for-11 against the big right-hander with runners on base. Minch earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for his six shutouts innings of two-hit ball in the game two victory at Evansville. Ramer came up just one out shy of a complete-game win in his March 12 start at Cincinnati and then closed out the game two win at Evansville in his first relief appearance of the year.
This weekend represents the Buckeyes' first true road series of the season. Ohio State played its first 15 games away from home, but 11 of those contests were neutral-site affairs. By comparison, Purdue has played its first 18 games away from campus, 12 of those contests being true road games on the opposition's home field. The Buckeyes have posted eight of their 12 wins in neutral-site action and begin Big Ten play having won seven of their last nine after winning a series against Bryant in Columbus last weekend.
The pitching has led the way for OSU, ranking second in the Big Ten with a 2.52 ERA. Trace Dempsey has settled into the closer role with two-way standout Josh Desze sidelined for the first two months with a back injury. Dempsey has recorded seven saves in his 10 appearances while surrendering only one run. Brad Goldberg has been the Buckeyes' most dynamic starter, compiling a 1.52 ERA while surrendering only 18 hits in 29 2/3 innings. Purdue saw their other two weekend starters last year in Columbus. Jaron Long (5 walks in 34 1/3 innings) and Brian King (6 walks in 32 2/3 innings) are both consistent strike throwers who have three wins apiece this year.
Offensively, OSU ranks third in the Big Ten with 35 stolen bases. Aaron Gretz (.345, 7 doubles, 12 walks) is off to a strong start. Joe Ciamacco has stolen eight bases to go along with a team-best .367 average. Freshman Jacob Bosiokovic has connected for three of the Buckeyes' seven home runs and shares the team lead with 14 RBI, but he has also struck out 19 times in 55 at-bats.
Mike Carroll (5-for-12, 5 RBI) and Brad Hallberg (6-for-15, 4 RBI) did the most damage for OSU against Purdue last year. Carroll is batting .302 but has only three RBI while starting 10 of the first 18 games this season. Hallberg is batting just .186 but has collected nine RBI and drawn 13 free passes. He has been in the starting lineup in every game this year.
Along with Ohio State, Purdue also hosts Northwestern, Nebraska and Iowa for Big Ten home series this spring. Ohio State plays road series at Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern later in the season. The Buckeyes were picked fourth in the Big Ten's preseason coaches poll.
Other Big Ten series around the conference this weekend includes No. 22 Indiana hosting Penn State, Nebraska visiting Illinois and Northwestern hosting Iowa at a neutral-site artificial turf field in Carol Stream, Ill. Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota all have their open weekends in the league schedule and host nonconference opponents.