April 25, 2013
Game Notes | Listen | Game Day Central (with live coverage links)
Weekend Weather Forecast for East Lansing, Mich.
Friday: 62 degrees, clear skies
Saturday: 68 degrees, clear skies
Sunday: 63 degrees, clear skies
All-Time: Michigan State leads 75-67
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. MSU: Purdue leads 22-14 (Since 1999)
2012: Purdue won 2-of-3 in West Lafayette
Last Series in East Lansing: MSU swept a three-game series (2011)
Purdue's Last Series Win in East Lansing: Purdue won 2-of-3 (2009)
First Meetings: Doubleheader split, 6-3 Purdue & 7-3 MSU (1949 in West Lafayette)
WEST LAFAYETTTE, Ind. -- For the first of its consecutive road trips to the state of Michigan, Purdue baseball visits East Lansing for a Big Ten weekend series at Michigan State that will feature two games televised live by the Big Ten Network.
First pitch at MSU's McLane Stadium is set for 3 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. Friday's and Sunday's games are set to be televised live by the BTN.
The Boilermakers (12-25, 4-11 Big Ten) are idle from conference play next weekend while hosting Southern Illinois for a three-game series at Alexander Field. Purdue then returns to the state of Michigan the weekend of May 10-12, traveling to Ann Arbor for the first time since 2010 for a series with the Wolverines.
The Boilermakers and Spartans each represented the Big Ten in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, marking the first time the league got two bids to Regionals since 2009.
Michigan State (24-12, 5-4 Big Ten) recently won four consecutive games in walk-off fashion, highlighted by a series sweep of nationally-ranked Indiana at McLane Stadium the weekend of April 12-14. But last weekend's MSU-Minnesota series in the Twin Cities was canceled due to snow and field conditions. With those games not being rescheduled, each of the final 12 conference games for Michigan State and Minnesota take on an even greater importance. With only 21 conference games for both teams, each win or loss will have a greater impact on their winning percentages in the race to qualify for the six-team Big Ten Tournament.
Purdue snapped a nine-game losing streak Wednesday when the lineup erupted for a season-high 20 runs. But the pitching staff also had its finest night of the season, with five hurlers combining for the team's first shutout of the season. The Boilers will be looking to snap an eight-game losing streak in Big Ten play this weekend, the program's longest since 2003. Purdue was swept in its last visit to East Lansing (2011). McLane Stadium features a short porch in right field due in part to the location of the adjacent Red Cedar River. In 2011, the Spartans' left-handed hitters connected for five home runs to right field.
Michigan State has lost two key players to season-ending injuries. John Martinez suffered a torn ACL early in March but should get the year back thanks to a medical redshirt. He was a team-best 5-for-12 in last year's Purdue-MSU series at Lambert Field. But the bigger blow to the Spartans came when Jordan Keur suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the series-opening win against Indiana. Keur was leading the team with a .337 batting average and 20 RBI.
Anthony Cheky provides speed at the top of the order (17-of-19 stealing bases) to go along with a high batting average (.333). Jimmy Pickens (14 extra-base hits, 18 RBI), Ryan Krill (9, 21) and Joel Fisher (13, 16) have been the primary run producers. Pickens delivered the walk-off hits in the first two games of the Indiana series and Krill came through in the clutch in the finale.
While 18 different Boilers have taken the mound this season, Michigan State has only used 11 pitchers. Andrew Waszak (3-2, 2.66 ERA) and David Garner (4-2, 3.58 ERA) make up a formidable one-two punch at the top of the weekend rotation. Together, they limited to Purdue to just one run over 16 innings in last year's series. Garner threw a complete-game shutout in the series finale at Lambert Field, marking the only time the 2012 Big Ten champions were shut out. As a freshman, he worked 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief over three appearances against Purdue. Garner's slider can be one of the most devastating pitches in the Big Ten.
The Spartans have managed to compile another impressive RPI (26) this year thanks to road or neutral-site wins against teams having quality seasons like Kentucky, Western Carolina, Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay. A series win at Ohio State and the sweep of Indiana also provided a nice boosts.
The quartet of Conner Hudnall (reached safely in 17 straight starts), Kyle Johnson (hit safely in 15 of last 16 games), Sean McHugh (reached safely in 14 straight games) and Cody Strong (reached safely in 15 straight starts) remain the most consistent performers at the plate for Purdue. Josh Estill (3 hits, 7 RBI) and Kyle Wood (3 hits, 5 RBI) are both coming off big nights in the blowout win against UIC Wednesday. Strong's 13 walks and .542 on-base percentage in Big Ten play are both the best in the conference.