Boilermakers Host SIU for Open Weekend in Big Ten Schedule

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Jake Hansen is one of four active Boilers that played in the 2010 Purdue-SIU in Carbondale as freshmen.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Jake Hansen is one of four active Boilers that played in the 2010 Purdue-SIU in Carbondale as freshmen.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

May 2, 2013


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Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday: Robert Ramer (Sr, RHP) vs. SIU's Cody Forsythe (Sr, LHP)
Saturday: Jordan Minch (Fr, LHP) vs. SIU's Sam Coonrod (So, RHP)
Sunday: TBA for Purdue vs. SIU's Derek Fogel (Jr, LHP)

Weekend Weather Forecast for West Lafayette, Ind.
Friday: 68 degrees, 40 percent chance of rain
Saturday: 63 degrees, 60 percent chance of rain
Sunday: 64 degrees, 40 percent chance of rain

Series History
All-Time: SIU leads 4-1
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. SIU: SIU leads 2-1 (Since 1999)
Last Series: SIU won 2-of-3 (2010 in Carbondale)
Last Meeting in West Lafayette: First Series in West Lafayette
First Meeting: SIU 8, Purdue 6 (1961 in Carbondale)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- For its idle weekend from Big Ten Conference play, Purdue baseball welcomes Southern Illinois to campus for the first time for a three-game nonconference series that is scheduled to feature Sunday's "Bark in the Park" game in which fans can bring their dogs to Alexander Field.

First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about the "Bark in the Park" promotion click HERE.

A year ago at this time, the Boilermakers (13-27, 5-13 Big Ten) visited UCLA for a nonconference showcase series in Southern California. But the original 2012 schedule called for Purdue to host Valparaiso for a nonconference series at home. Southern Illinois (21-24, 3-12 MVC) is also idle from Missouri Valley Conference play this weekend. Purdue is slated to return to the trip to Carbondale next year as the teams' open weekends in the conference schedules lineup again. However, with Creighton leaving the MVC for the new-look Big East and Dallas Baptist taking the Bluejays' place as an affiliate member of the Valley for baseball, there is a chance the MVC schedule could be rearranged a bit next year.

As the other 10 Big Ten baseball teams square off this weekend, the big series around the league are Indiana (11-4 Big Ten) at Nebraska (11-4) and Illinois (8-7) at Michigan State (7-5). The Indiana-Nebraska series in Lincoln could determine the team to beat for the regular-season title entering the final two weeks of the conference schedule. Meanwhile, the winner of the Illinois-MSU series in East Lansing will be in the driver's seat for the final couple Big Ten Tournament berths.

Purdue visited Carbondale for a three-game series in March 2010, losing two-of-three after blowing out the Salukis in the first game of the weekend, 18-2. Four active Boilers played in that series as freshmen -- Angelo Cianfrocco, Jake Hansen, Brad Schreiber and Stephen Talbott. Purdue has not hosted a nonconference opponent for a traditional three-game weekend series at home since March 2010 against Chicago State. The Boilermakers are 2-3 against MVC teams this year, winning two-of-three at Evansville to close out the spring break trip and losing both ends of a home-and-home midweek series with Indiana State.

The Last Meeting
Purdue2
Southern Illinois6
March 7, 2010
Carbondale, Ill.
Baseball Falls To Southern Illinois, 6-2
Purdue left 17 runners on base, including the bases loaded four times, in a 6-2 loss to Southern Illinois on Sunday. The loss dropped the Boilers to 1-6 on the year, while SIU, which won back-to-back games for the first time improved to 4-6.

Southern Illinois has posted an 18-12 record in nonconference action, with four of those 12 losses coming against the University of Illinois. The Salukis swept Eastern Kentucky the weekend of March 28-30 for their other open weekend in the MVC schedule. With only eight teams in the Missouri Valley this year, the conference schedule featured two open weekends for each team. Southern Illinois was at the disadvantage of having to play four of its seven conference weekends on the road this year, getting swept at Indiana State and Creighton.

The Salukis' Friday starter, senior lefty Cody Forsythe, has consistently given his team a chance to win. He has compiled a 2.79 ERA while issuing only 16 walks in 71 innings pitched this year. He pitched an inning of relief against Purdue as a freshman in the 2010 series in Carbondale. While Purdue's Robert Ramer may not sport a similar impressive ERA, he's also a strike thrower. Ramer has issued only nine walks in 68 1/3 innings pitched.

Southern Illinois' bullpen trio of Tyler Dray (0.90 ERA, 1 XBH allowed in 20 innings), Todd Eaton (7 saves, 2.74 ERA) and Aaron Snyder (2.90 ERA in 31 innings) have excelled this year while combining for 62 relief appearances. The SIU pitching staff has been the strength of the team in general, surrendering only seven home runs in 399 innings pitched while limiting opposing hitters to a .253 batting average against.

Jordan Minch has given the Boilers their best chance to win on the weekends as of late. Excluding the April 12-14 series at Illinois, which was a rough weekend for the entire pitching staff, Minch has gone 3-0 with 20 strikeouts and a 2.45 ERA in four of his last five starts. The freshman led the way in the series-opening wins against Penn State and Northwestern, gave Purdue a chance to win with a quality start against Nebraska and beat Michigan State with seven innings two-run ball last weekend.

At the plate, Conner Hudnall finished the month of April with a .355 batting average. He has reached base safely in the last 20 games he has started, hitting safely in 15 straight starts in the process. Cody Strong has been on safely in the last 14 games he has started dating back to the finale of the Penn State sweep. Kyle Johnson saw his team-best 10-game hitting streak snapped Sunday at MSU, but he did draw a walk to keep an 11-game reached safely streak alive.

After this weekend, the Boilermakers close out conference play with series at Michigan (May 10-12) and vs. Iowa (May 16-18). Realistically, Purdue would have to win all six games to have a chance at a Big Ten Tournament berth.