Probable Pitching Matchups
Game 1: Mike Kornacker (Fr, RHP) vs. Butler's Jeff Schank (So, LHP)
Game 2: Brett Haan (Jr, RHP) vs. Butler's Peter Nyznyk (Sr, LHP)
Game 3: Matt Frawley (So, RHP) vs. Butler's Nick Morton (Jr, LHP)
All-Time Series: Purdue leads 103-33-3
All-Time in West Lafayette: Purdue leads 66-13-1
All-Time in Indianapolis: Purdue leads 36-20-2
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. Butler: Purdue leads 9-1 (Since 1999)
2014: Purdue Won All 3 Meetings
March 1 in Birmingham: Purdue 3, Butler 2
March 19 in Indianapolis: Purdue 6, Butler 1
April 15 in West Lafayette: Purdue 5, Butler 4 (10 innings)
First Meeting: Purdue 9, Butler 0 (June 8, 1888 in West Lafayette)
Weekend Weather Forecast
Saturday in West Lafayette: 36 degrees, clear skies
Sunday in Indianapolis: 46 degrees, clear skies
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue baseball closes out the month of March with a home and away weekend against Butler, hosting the Bulldogs for a Saturday doubleheader at Alexander Field and visiting the Circle City for Sunday's series finale.
First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. both days. Friday's game was rescheduled as part of a Saturday doubleheader due to frigid temperatures and snow flurries Friday in West Lafayette.
After opening Big Ten Conference play last weekend with a home series against Rutgers, the Boilermakers (9-15) now have their open weekend in the league slate. Beginning next weekend with a home series against Iowa, they'll play a conference rival each of the final seven weekends of the season.
Butler (9-14) opens Big East play next weekend with a home series against St. John's.
Purdue won all three meetings with the Bulldogs a year ago, winning games in Birmingham, Indianapolis and West Lafayette. It was believed to be the first time in program history the Boilers defeated the same team in three different locations in the same season. The season series ended in thrilling fashion at Alexander Field on Brandon Krieg's walk-off single in the 10th inning. The Indianapolis native reached base safely six times in the victory.
After arm soreness sidelined Butler's projected game two starter, righthander Chris Myjak, the Bulldogs are now expected to throw three lefties this weekend, extending a lefty-heavy stretch for Purdue. Rutgers started two southpaws last weekend and the midweek games against Kent State and Ball State this week both featured lefthanded starters for the opposition. The Boilermakers are 4-8 in games against southpaw starters in 2015 and also faced three lefties the opening weekend of the season at Western Carolina.
18 Teams, One Family: Joe Eichmann
Among the series' pitching probables, Purdue's Brett Haan and Butler's Jeff Schank and Peter Nyznyk each took the mound in the three-game series last season. Haan made his first start as a Boilermaker in the neutral-site game played on Samford's campus in Birmingham. It was Gavin Downs who got the win though after working 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief thanks in part to inducing three ground ball double plays. Schank worked three innings of one-hit relief in the same game and is now enjoying a strong sophomore campaign, compiling a 2.65 ERA and .226 batting average against in 34 innings. Nyznyk started the game at Alexander Field last season, working the first two innings.
Adam Dressler and Joe Eichmann each had two strong outings against Butler a year ago. Dressler did not issue a walk over 10 2/3 innings of two-run ball. He earned the victory in the March 19 game in Indianapolis in his first collegiate start. However, Dressler has pitched in just one game this season.
Eichmann has struck out 11 in 12 2/3 career innings of one-run ball against Butler. He retired 15 of the 18 batters he faced in last year's series. In 2013, he pitched a career-high 7 2/3 innings of relief in the Bulldogs' win at Alexander Field. It remains the longest outing by a Purdue reliever since at least the beginning of the 2008 campaign.
Matt Gibbs and Eichmann have remained the top performers in the Boilers' bullpen this season. Gibbs has given up a hit to only two of the 29 batters he has faced and allowed just two of 14 inherited base runners to score. Since having a couple rough outings in Phoenix the weekend of Feb. 26-28, Eichmann has struck out nine in 8 2/3 scoreless innings over his last six appearances. Batters are just 2-for-18 against him with runners on base during that stretch.
The Bulldogs started the season 0-8 after getting swept at Lipscomb and Pepperdine their first two series. But they enter the weekend having won six in a row, a streak that began with a 10-inning victory against Illinois State March 15 in Florida. However, four of the six wins have come against non-Division I opponents. Butler scored 12 runs in a midweek win at Dayton Wednesday and took two-of-three vs. IPFW the weekend of March 7-8. Purdue hosts IPFW next week and again April 15 as well as Illinois State April 28.
The Bulldogs' Ryan Wojciechowski leads the team with 21 RBI thanks in part to a .349 batting average and 11 extra-base hits. Drew Small has a team-high 12 doubles and 15 RBI to go along with a .333 average, seven stolen bases and 25 runs scored, leading the way in doubles, steals and runs scored.
With an all-time series that features 139 meetings dating back to 1888, Purdue has played Butler more than any other non-conference opponent. Indiana (130) and Northwestern (110) are the only opponents the Boilers have more all-time wins against than Butler (103). Purdue has won 12 of the last 13 meetings dating back to 1996.