April 28, 2014
Probable Pitching Matchup
Kyle Wood (So, LHP) vs. ISU's Will Headean (So, LHP)
Weather Forecast for Normal, Ill.
Tuesday: 61 degrees, 60 percent chance of rain
Wednesday: 52 degrees, 30 percent chance of rain
All-Time: Purdue leads 16-14
All-Time in Normal: Tied 7-7
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. ISU: Purdue leads 9-7 (Since 1999)
Last Meeting: Purdue 3, Illinois State 2 (April 2012 in Normal)
Last Win by the Home Team: Purdue 5, Illinois State 4 (April 2008 in West Lafayette)
First Meeting: Purdue 25, Illinois State 0 (1946 in West Lafayette)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue baseball begins its seven-game road stretch Tuesday with a midweek date at Illinois State, its final nonconference road game of the season.
First pitch at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill., is set for 7 p.m. ET. With rain in the forecast for Tuesday, there's a chance the game could be moved to Wednesday at the same time.
The road team has won each of the last six Purdue-Illinois State games dating back to 2009. Last year's game in West Lafayette was rained out and not rescheduled. The Boilermakers' 5-4 victory at Lambert Field in April 2008 marked the last time the home team won.
Purdue (11-29) has compiled a 3-5 record against teams from Illinois this season while playing games in Carbondale, Champaign and Chicago. The Redbirds (29-12) have split a pair of meetings with common opponents Butler and Illinois and swept a three-game home series against common opponent Southern Illinois this past weekend. All three games vs. SIU were decided by one run and the first two games went to extra innings.
Illinois State enters the week riding a season-best seven-game winning streak, but two of the seven wins have come against non-Division I opponents. Four of ISU's 29 total wins have been against foes from the lower divisions and don't count towards the RPI. The Redbirds have been good at home this year though, winning nine of their 11 games at Duffy Bass Field. New Missouri Valley Conference foe Dallas Baptist is the only road team to win in Normal, taking two-of-three the first weekend of April.
With Illinois State expected to start left-hander Will Headean on the mound it will mark the 11th time in the last 13 games that the Boilers have faced a southpaw. The sophomore has struck out 42 in 34 1/3 innings while surrendering only 27 hits.
Kyle Wood is one of the 12 Illinois natives on Purdue's roster, all hailing from the Chicagoland area. Wood is slated to make his first start on the mound since the finale of the Rice series Feb. 23. He has made three relief appearances over the last 25 games, working four innings of one-run ball. At the plate, the lefty was a team-best 5-for-12 with a sacrifice bunt, a hit by pitch and no strikeouts in the Ohio State series. He delivered the walk-off single in Friday's 13-inning victory and had three hits Sunday. Wood has reached base safely in the last 21 games in which he has batted.
Led by power hitter Paul DeJong (.380, 27 XBH, 8 HR, 39 RBI) and the speedy Sean Beesley (27-of-36 on stolen bases), Illinois State is one of four Missouri Valley teams with a strong record that has put itself in a position for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. Evansville (28-14), Illinois State (29-12), Indiana State (29-13) and Dallas Baptist (28-15) all continue to chase the regular-season league title. Assuming one of those four wins the MVC Tournament, one or two others are likely to be in the discussion for at-large bids to Regionals.
As a 2.93 team ERA suggests, pitching has really been ISU's strength for much of the season. Over the last 11 games the Redbirds have not allowed more than three runs in a contest.
Catchers Sean McHugh and Mike Hollenbeck are the only actives players that saw action in the last Purdue-ISU game, a 3-2 victory for the Boilers in April 2012. McHugh is the only Boilermaker that has started all 40 games this season, extending his consecutive games started streak to 61 dating back to April 2013.
Purdue resumes its storied rivalry with No. 11 Indiana this weekend in Bloomington. The weekend series marks the first time the Boilermakers and Hoosiers have met in the regular season since May 2011. Purdue has won seven straight against IU dating back to 2010 and 11 of the last 14 going back to the 2008 Big Ten Tournament.