April 28, 2011
All-Time Series: Indiana leads 140-125-2
Purdue under Doug Schreiber vs. Indiana: Purdue leads 25-23
2010: Purdue won 2-of-3 in Bloomington and the Big Ten Tournament meeting
Last Series in West Lafayette: Purdue won 2-of-3 (2009)
First Meeting: Purdue 3, Indiana 2 (1888 in Bloomington)
Weekend Weather Forecast for West Lafayette, Ind.
Friday: 64 degrees, clear skies
Saturday: 73 degrees, cloudy but no rain
Sunday: 57 degrees, 70 percent chance of rain
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball begins its home-heavy stretch run this weekend with a Big Ten series against rival Indiana, as the long-standing foes square off for the latest chapter in an all-time series that has featured 267 previous meetings.
First pitch at Lambert Field is set for 4 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. With the forecast calling for a high chance of rain Sunday, a doubleheader Saturday is likely.
Having played 267 times since 1888, Indiana (25-15, 6-6 Big Ten) and Purdue (27-13, 7-5 Big Ten) have squared more frequently on the baseball diamond than in any other sport.
The Boilermakers won three of the four meetings last season to improve to 25-23 against IU during head coach Doug Schreiber's 13-year tenure. By winning two-of-three in Bloomington last year, Purdue posted the first series victory by the road team since 2005 (when Purdue won three-of-four at IU).
However, last year's series was a wild weekend set that featured a combined 62 runs. Games two and three were both decided in extra innings after the Hoosiers extended the game by plating the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth. Schreiber called it one of the most exhausting weekends of his coaching career.
The Boilermakers posted their third straight Big Ten series victory by winning two-of-three at Northwestern last weekend. Purdue is one of three teams above the .500 mark in conference play after the first half of the league schedule; the Boilers accomplished the feat while playing three of their first four series on the road.
Purdue took over a share of first place in the Big Ten standings thanks in part to Minnesota posting a series sweep of Indiana in Bloomington last weekend. Entering the series, Indiana had won two-of-three in each of its first three Big Ten series and had not dropped three straight games all season. But the losing skid was extended to four Tuesday with a midweek loss to Miami (Ohio).
The Hoosiers' veteran lineup can feature as many as seven left-handed hitters. Alex Dickerson leads the team in home runs (5) and RBIs (37) after winning Big Ten Player of the Year honors in 2010. Senior Jerrud Sabourin, who has started over 200 consecutive games, broke the IU all-time hits record April 17 at Iowa. Both Dickerson and Sabourin have walked more than they have struck out this year. Freshman Dustin DeMuth leads the way with a .376 average while batting leadoff.
Indiana ranks second in the Big Ten with a 3.66 team ERA and a .258 batting average against. Game one starter Blake Monar has averaged six innings in each of his 10 starts and leads the team with 49 strikeouts. Game two starter Chad Martin checks in at 6-foot-7 and has walked only 14 batters in 53 2/3 innings. Purdue is expected to face a freshman lefty in the series finale for the third weekend in a row. That starter, Joey DeNato, leads the rotation with five wins and a 2.86 ERA. He has accounted for nine of IU's Big Ten-leading 26 pickoffs.
This weekend's series will also feature two of the conference's top closers. The Hoosiers' Ryan Halstead, another freshman from Southern California, has recorded three wins and eight saves in his 15 appearances despite registering only 14 strikeouts in 23 innings.
Tyler Spillner feasted on Indiana pitching a year ago. He was 10-for-19 with five free passes in the four games against the Hoosiers in 2010. Eric Charles is a .370 career hitter against IU, driving in six runs against the in-state rival last year despite collecting only two hits.
Purdue's Big Ten-leading offense features five players atop the conference leaders in a specific category entering the weekend: David Miller (walks and on-base percentage), Stephen Talbott (runs), Cameron Perkins (total bases), Barrett Serrato (sacrifice flies) and Kevin Plawecki (hit by pitch).
The Boilermakers have scored 52 runs over their last five games. They have scored four more times in an inning 13 times over the last 13 games.
Purdue is 5-2 at Lambert Field but has not played at home since finale of the Michigan series on April 10. Beginning this weekend, the Boilers are scheduled to play 11 of their final 14 regular-season games at Lambert Field.