Probable Pitching Matchups Friday: Robert Ramer (Sr, RHP) vs. Nebraska's Christian DeLeon (Jr, RHP)
Saturday: Jordan Minch (Fr, LHP) vs. Nebraska's Aaron Bummer (So, LHP)
Sunday: TBA for Purdue vs. Nebraska's Kyle Kubat (So, LHP)
Weekend Weather Forecast for West Lafayette, Ind. Friday: 47 degrees, 20 percent chance of rain
Saturday: 53 degrees, clear skies
Sunday: 61 degrees, clear skies
Series History All-Time Series: Purdue leads 7-4
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. Nebraska: Purdue leads 2-1 (Since 1999)
2012: Purdue won 2-of-3 in Lincoln
Last Meeting in West Lafayette: Purdue 8, Nebraska 2 (1907)
First Meeting: Nebraska 13, Purdue 1 (1899 in West Lafayette)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- As Purdue baseball celebrates its new home stadium and the longtime Boilermaker who helped make it possible, the on-field opposition this weekend will come from the newest member of the Big Ten Conference, the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon on Sunday. An Alexander Field stadium dedication ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday before game two of the series.
Former Purdue student-athlete, head coach and athletics administrator Dave Alexander will be the guest of honor Saturday and one of three featured speakers before the 7:05 p.m. game. Fifth-year senior Robert Ramer, who has already earned his bachelor's degree and is currently pursuing a master's, will speak on behalf of the current Purdue players regarding what the new stadium means to them.
Alexander Field is named in honor of the late John and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander. The Alexanders were the parents of Dave Alexander, who provided the lead gift for the project. Dave was Purdue baseball coach from 1978 to 1991 and then served as an athletics administrator through 1994. He is currently a scout for the Seattle Mariners.
Purdue athletics will be offering a free shuttle for all fans on Saturday from 6-10 p.m. from the R Lot north of Ross-Ade Stadium to Alexander Field. With the heavy amounts of rain this week, parking along Cherry Lane is expected to be limited due to mud. Parking is also available east of the adjacent Boilermaker Soccer Complex. A paved walkway connects the Soccer Complex parking lot and Alexander Field.
For Purdue baseball fans that live on campus, a free student shuttle will be making a loop from campus to Alexander Field throughout the game Friday and Saturday. The shuttle will pick up and drop off at the Purdue Memorial Union, Earhart Hall, Ford Dining Court and Alexander Field. The shuttle will begin its campus loop at 5:45 p.m. and run through the end of the game.
Nebraska (16-19, 8-4 Big Ten) is visiting West Lafayette for Big Ten action for the first time. The Boilermakers (11-22, 4-8 Big Ten) won two-of-three in their first-ever visit to Haymarket Park in Lincoln a year ago. Friday's game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network as the second of Purdue's four games on the BTN over the span of three weekends.
Led by Nebraska alum and longtime Major Leaguer Darin Erstad (in his second season as head coach), the Huskers enter the weekend tied for third in the Big Ten standings with Indiana, only a half-game behind league leaders Michigan and Minnesota. Nebraska has posted a 16-12 record since starting the season 0-7, winning both games of a midweek doubleheader against nationally-ranked Arkansas at home Tuesday. Three Husker pitchers teamed up for a no-hitter in the game one win against Arkansas. After missing the first two months of the season with shoulder soreness, left-hander Kyle Kubat worked five hitless innings versus the Razorbacks. The 2012 Third Team All-Big Ten honoree is scheduled to start again Sunday against the Boilers.
Purdue will change up its weekend rotation and move Brad Schreiber to the bullpen. Head coach Doug Schreiber said he hoped Brad Schreiber would have more success in relief where his power arm might prove more dangerous in shorter appearances. March 31 at Penn State, Brad Schreiber tallied seven strikeouts over a stretch of 11 hitters. Last weekend at Illinois, he struck out the side in order in the fourth inning.
Nebraska (234) and Purdue (222) rank one-two in the Big Ten in offensive strikeouts. But the Huskers' team batting average (.280) is .27 points higher than the Boilers' (.253). Both teams have been solid defensively. Nebraska leads the league with a .978 fielding percentage.
Ramer is scheduled to start Friday and Jordan Minch Saturday. Ramer only threw 80 pitches in his five innings of work Saturday at Illinois. Purdue used Minch in relief Sunday after he got knocked out of Friday's series opener in the first inning. Schreiber said Sunday's starting pitcher wouldn't be determined until after Saturday's game.
Meanwhile, Kyle Wood should be available in relief again this weekend. He worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth inning in game two at Illinois in his first appearance on the mound since suffering a forearm strain as the starting pitcher Feb. 24. Wood has also been among the Boilers' hottest hitters of late, recording two hits in all three games of the Illinois series. He has recorded an RBI in five straight games, matching Jack Picchiotti for the longest such streak on the team this year.
Cody Strong has reached base safely in 11 straight games and Sean McHugh has done the same in 10 straight. Conner Hudnall has been aboard at least once in the last 15 games he has started.
After being an All-Big Ten shortstop last season primarily due to his offensive production, Nebraska's Chad Christiansen was moved to the outfield this year. He has continued to flourish at the plate, batting .491 in Big Ten play. Michael Pritchard won the Big Ten batting title in 2012 and is the Huskers' best contact hitter, although his average is down .70 points after an early-season injury. Pat Kelly (.320, 16 RBI) has started every game at second base as one of Nebraska's most consistent players.
Purdue's five-game homestand that begins this weekend is also scheduled to feature midweek dates against Illinois State (April 23) and Illinois-Chicago (April 24).