WEEKEND SERIES INFORMATION
Saint Louis (24-14) at Purdue (23-18)
Friday to Sunday, April 28 to 30 at 4, 1 and 1 p.m. ET / BTN Plus on BTN2Go
Alexander Field / West Lafayette, Indiana
All-Time Series: Tied 2-2 / All-Time in West Lafayette: First Meetings
2016: Saint Louis 3, Purdue 2 (March 11 in Lawrence, Kansas)
Last Series/First Meetings: Purdue won 2 of 3 (March 2006 in St. Louis)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Tanner Andrews (Jr, RHP) vs. SLU's Miller Hogan (So, RHP)
Saturday: Gareth Stroh (So, LHP) vs. SLU's Devin Mahoney (Sr, LHP)
Sunday: Mike Kornacker (So, RHP) vs. TBA for Saint Louis
Friday: Free pizza for Purdue students at pregame tailgate at Alexander
Saturday: Purdue Baseball Cards set No. 1 giveaway (first 500 fans)
Sunday: Bark at the Park -- bring your dog to Alexander (first 500 fans receive a Purdue dog tag)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball continues its 10-game homestand by welcoming another new visitor to Alexander Field, hosting Saint Louis for the Boilermakers' open weekend in Big Ten Conference play.
First pitch has been mpved up to 4 p.m. ET on Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday. Sunday's annual Bark at the Park game is slated for 1 p.m. Fans are permitted to bring their dogs to the ballpark and the first 500 fans in attendance will receive free Purdue dog tag. Current proof of vaccination is required and fans are asked to sit with their dogs on the grass berm down the left field line during the game.
The Boilermakers enter the weekend as the most-improved team in the country. Even with 15 regular-season games to go, Purdue's plus-13 win differential and .376 improvement in winning percentage are both tops nationally. In-state rival Butler, which visits Alexander Field on May 10, is the only other team in the country that has already won 10 more games than last season.
The top season-to-season win improvement in program history was 14 from 1979 (13-30) to 1980 (27-24). The current Boilermakers can surpass that mark with a series win this weekend. But they'll face a tough test against a consistently competitive Saint Louis program from the Atlantic 10 Conference. Under 10th-year head coach Darin Hendrickson, the Billikens won four consecutive A-10 regular-season titles from 2012 to 2015 and also went to an NCAA Regional as A-10 Tournament champs in 2010 and 2013. Saint Louis has averaged 32 wins per year under Hendrickson and started this season 13-1.
The Big Ten has featured an odd number of baseball teams since 2012. The odd number means every Big Ten team has an open weekend in league play. Meanwhile, the Atlantic 10 is also a 13-team league for baseball. Since 2012, Purdue has played UCLA, Southern Illinois (twice), Butler and Cal State Northridge for its open weekend in conference play. The Boilermakers swept SIU in 2013 at Alexander Field and also won three of four vs. CSUN at home to close out the 2016 campaign. Purdue is scheduled to return the trip to Saint Louis next year and that series is expected to coincidence with its open weekend in Big Ten play in March.
ANOTHER 10-WIN MONTH; CHANCE TO WIN FOUR SERIES IN APRIL
The Boilermakers enter the weekend riding a five-game win streak, which has clinched their second 10-win month of the season. Purdue went 10-8 in March to post its first 10-win month since May 2012 (10-5). Since the 2012 Big Ten championship team won a program-record 45 games, it comes as no surprise that team was the last to post consecutive months with double-figure win totals. The 2012 Boilermakers went 14-3 in April, winning weekend series against Northwestern, Illinois, Nebraska and Michigan State that month.
A series victory this weekend would give Purdue four (in five opportunities) this month. April 2012 was the last time the Boilermakers accomplished the feat, but they did it in April 2011 as well en route to finishing third in the Big Ten. The 2008 team that finished second in the Big Ten also won four weekend series in April.
BOILERMAKERS HAVE NOT TRAILED FOR 39 CONSECUTIVE INNINGS
With Purdue having compiled a 1.00 ERA (4 runs allowed in 36 innings) while also scoring at least twice in the first inning three times over the first four games of the 10-game homestand, the Boilermakers have not trailed for 39 consecutive innings. That's a streak that dates back to the seventh inning of the April 19 comeback win at Indiana State. During its seven-game win streak in March, Purdue did not trail for 27 (2nd inning March 13 at CSUN through 1st inning March 18 at SCU) and 33 consecutive innings (2nd inning March 18 at SCU through 7th inning of March 25 loss at Iowa).
A five-game win streak in May 2012 marked the last the Boilermakers did not trail for 40 consecutive innings. That streak began with a memorable 10-run ninth inning in a comeback win at UCLA. Purdue also clinched the Big Ten title during the tail end of that streak.
Coincidentally, the last time the Boilermakers hosted (and swept) Illinois in 2012, as they did last weekend, they did not trail during that series either. It was a part of a stretch of 55 consecutive innings from April 11 to 21 in which Purdue did not have to play from behind. The Boilermakers won 10 consecutive games in April 2012 and during that streak they amazingly trailed for only one inning (after the 4th, April 11 at Ball State) of 95 played. That includes the first five innings of an April 21 loss at Nebraska that snapped the 11-game run.
QUICK LOOK AT SAINT LOUIS
The Billikens have compiled an 11-13 record since starting the season 13-1. Their only loss over the first three weekends came in game No. 5 at the hands of Michigan at Santa Clara's tournament. They also lost a mid-March series at Butler in their first road trip of the season to the state of Indiana.
Staff ace Miller Hogan has the best numbers of any starting pitcher to appear at Alexander Field this season. He's won seven of his 10 starts thanks to a 1.38 ERA and 56 strikeouts vs. 17 walks. The right-hander has not surrendered a home run and given up only 54 hits total in 65 innings. Lefty Devin Mahoney (5-0), scheduled to start Saturday, has also not taken a loss this season. Rain outs and the A-10 shifting to a Thursday-Friday-Saturday schedule for Easter Weekend has led to Saint Louis playing just one traditional Friday-Saturday-Sunday series this month, taking two of three vs. Dayton last weekend.
Trent Leimkuehler (.322, 16 doubles), Parker Sniatynski (.307, 14 XBH, 33 RBI) and James Morisano (.302, 9 HR, 24 RBI) are SLU's primary run producers. All three were in the lineup last season when the Billikens defeated Purdue 3-2 in Lawrence, Kansas. Tanner Andrews retired the first nine batters of the game in order, but didn't make it through the fourth inning as SLU scored all three runs it would need. Saint Louis won the game despite being out hit by Purdue 9-4.