Boilers Open 47th & Final Season at Lambert With Back-to-Back Midweek Dates

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Purdue has posted a 9-1 record in Robert Ramer's 10 career starts.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Purdue has posted a 9-1 record in Robert Ramer's 10 career starts.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

March 26, 2012


Midweek Stat Pack | Purdue National Rankings

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Probable Starting Pitchers
Tuesday: Connor Podkul (Fr, RHP) vs. Louisville's Jared Ruxer (Fr, RHP)
Wednesday: Robert Ramer (Jr, RHP) vs. TBA for IPFW

Weather Forecast for West Lafayette, Ind.
Tuesday: 70 degrees, 20 percent chance of rain
Wednesday: 75 degrees, 10 percent chance of rain

All-Time Series History
Versus Louisville: Tied 5-5
2011: Purdue 6, Louisville 4 (March 8 in Louisville)
First Meeting in West Lafayette (2009 game rained out)
Versus IPFW: Purdue leads 19-2
2011: Purdue 8, IPFW 3 (April 12 in Fort Wayne)
2011: Purdue 8, IPFW 1 (March 29 in West Lafayette)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - After playing its first 20 games away from home while spending the first six weekends of the season on the road, No. 19 Purdue baseball finally gets an opportunity to play at Lambert Field this week, opening its home schedule with midweek games against No. 20 Louisville and IPFW.

Weekday home games at Lambert Field begin at 4 p.m. Tuesday will be the 47th and final home opener at the Boilers' home field since 1965. There are five home dates on the calendar this week, including a Big Ten series against Penn State that begins Friday.

Louisville (18-6) is ranked 20th in this week's Collegiate Baseball Top 30 poll. Purdue has not hosted a nationally-ranked team since 2000 when it swept a four-game series against Illinois.

Both Purdue and Louisville have been led by prolific offenses early this season. The Boilermakers are batting .349 as a team and have scored 162 runs in their 20 games. The Cardinals have compiled a .330 team batting average while scoring 183 runs in their 24 games. Purdue leads the nation and U of L is ranked fifth in batting average this week.

Fresh off a Big Ten-opening series win at Ohio State, the Boilers moved up in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball weekly rankings. Purdue is ranked 19th by Baseball America and 22nd by Collegiate Baseball. Highlighted by a 10-game win streak from Feb. 26 through March 16, the Boilers compiled a 16-4 record while playing their first 20 games on the road. That represents the program's best mark through 20 games since the 1993 team was also 16-4.

During head coach Doug Schreiber's tenure (1999-present), Purdue has compiled a 10-3 mark in home openers. Illinois State won a one-run game at Lambert Field last year, marking the first time the Boilers lost their home opener to a nonconference opponent since 1996. It turned out to be Purdue's only loss of the year in a true midweek game (excluding spring break).

Connor Podkul and Robert Ramer are expected to start on the mound this week. Both right-handers pitched effectively in their first starts of the season, leading the Boilers to wins at Missouri State and Wichita State, respectively, on the spring break trip. As a freshman, Podkul will make his Lambert Field debut Tuesday. Purdue has compiled a 9-1 records in Ramer's 10 career starts.

Podkul impressed in his first collegiate start, retiring the first seven batters of the game and keeping Missouri State off the scoreboard until the fifth inning. The Bears have compiled a 7-1 record since that game in Springfield, Mo., and are now nationally ranked in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30.

Last season in Louisville, Joe Haase led the way in Purdue's 6-4 win, its first against the Cardinals since 1998. Haase finished only out shy of a complete-game effort. That outing helped elevate the right-hander into the weekend rotation.

The Cardinals have won seven in a row, sweeping home series against Ball State and Cincinnati the last two weekends and thumping Ohio State, 20-0, in midweek action last week. Unlike the Boilers, U of L has played 18 of its 24 games at home.

Louisville first baseman Stewart Iljames has accounted for eight of the team's 17 home runs. Third baseman Ty Young is batting a team-best .429.

Purdue is 14-0 all-time against IPFW at Lambert Field. The Boilermakers turned four double plays and rolled to an 8-1 victory in last year's meeting in West Lafayette. Things did not come as easy in the rematch in Fort Wayne. Purdue needed a four-run eighth inning to pull out an 8-3 victory. That game was played in Downtown Fort Wayne at Parkview Field, a Minor League Stadium that is home to the San Diego Padres affiliate in the Midwest League. The two teams will play there again in May.

The Mastodons (5-16) play their first home game Friday. They won their series opener at Michigan in extra innings last weekend, but have yet to post consecutive victories this year. With the lineup averaging only 3.6 runs per game while batting .203 as team, the IPFW pitching staff has had little room for error.

Outfielder Carter DeBoe hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning Friday at Michigan to lift his team to its first-ever victory against the Wolverines. He leads the way with nine extra-base hits and 13 RBIs.