WEEKEND SERIES INFORMATION
Northwestern (17-26, 6-9 B1G) at Purdue (25-17, 9-6 B1G)
Friday to Sunday, May 5 to 7 at 6, 6 and 1 p.m. ET / BTN Plus on BTN2Go
Alexander Field / West Lafayette, Indiana
All-Time Series: Purdue leads 110-92-2 / All-Time in West Lafayette: Purdue leads 58-41-1
2016: Northwestern swept a 3-game series (May 6-8 in Evanston)
Last Series in West Lafayette: Northwestern won 2-of-3 (April 2013)
Purdue Last Series Victory: Purdue swept a 3-game series (April 2012 in Evanston)
Purdue's Last Series Victory vs NU in West Lafayette: Purdue won 3-of-4 (March 2008)
First Meeting: Northwestern 10, Purdue 3 (May 1900 in Evanston)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Tanner Andrews (Jr, RHP) vs. NU's Cooper Wetherbee (Sr, LHP)
Saturday: Gareth Stroh (So, LHP) vs. NU's Hank Christie (Fr, RHP)
Sunday: Mike Kornacker (So, RHP) vs. NU's Matt Gannon (Fr, LHP)
Friday: Special all you can Eat tickets; Purdue Pete bobblehead giveaway for first 500 fans
Saturday: $1 general admission tickets for all military and service staff
Sunday: Bark at the Park dog day; Little League day and set 2 of Purdue baseball cards giveaway
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball begins the stretch run and closes outs its season-long homestand with weekend No. 6 of Big Ten Conference play, hosting Northwestern at Alexander Field.
First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. ET on Friday and Saturday. Sunday's series finale gets underway at 1 p.m. The first 500 fans at Friday's game receive a 1960s-era Purdue Pete bobblehead. The annual Bark at the Park dog day was rescheduled for Sunday's game after last week's rain out vs. Saint Louis.
The Boilermakers enter the weekend riding a seven-game win streak, which ranks as the third longest active run in the nation. Purdue has won each of the first six games of its current homestand, good for the program's longest home win streak since winning seven straight at Lambert Field in April 2010. The Boilermakers' 5-1 home record in Big Ten play is a big reason why they entered May among the top eight in the league standings vs. chasing a conference tournament berth.
Northwestern was the opponent for Purdue's first-ever win at Alexander Field, the victory coming in an April 2013 series opener. But the Wildcats have not been back since after the teams did not play in both 2014 and 2015.
Northwestern is led by second-year head coach Spencer Allen, who was a Purdue assistant from 2008 to 2009. He joins Kent State's Jeff Duncan (2010-13) as former assistants to bring their teams to Alexander Field this year. Allen helped recruit many of the players on the Boilermakers' 2012 Big Ten championship team. He was an assistant at Washington State (2010-12), Creighton (2013-14) and Illinois (2015) before being hired at NU in June 2015.
Pitching has led the way as of late; steadily improved all year. Coaches Waz & Holm along w/ Andrews & Stroh discuss https://t.co/VUXUMlgLSH
-- Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) May 3, 2017
Northwestern has Big Ten series wins against Iowa and Penn State this season. Thanks in part to the artificial turf playing surface at the new-look Rocky and Bernice Miller Park in Evanston, NU has already played 21 home games. Around the Big Ten only Minnesota (23) and Michigan (22) have played more, and 13 of those home dates for the Gophers were played indoors at the Vikings' new U.S. Bank Stadium. After losing two of three at home to eighth-place Michigan State last weekend and with a trip to Maryland on tap for next weekend (UMD is 18-1 at home), the Wildcats desperately need a series win in West Lafayette to keep any realistic Big Ten Tournament hopes alive.
Northwestern has two lefties in its rotation. Surprisingly, Purdue has faced only one southpaw starter, Iowa's Ryan Erickson, in Big Ten play. The Wildcats will become the first weekend opponent overall to start two lefties against the Boilermakers this season.
Purdue has not trailed in 57 consecutive innings dating back to the seventh inning of the April 19 comeback win at Indiana State that ignited the current win streak. That's the team's longest such streak since early in the 2011 campaign. The Boilermakers have held the lead for 48 of those 57 innings.
Meanwhile, Purdue's three walk-off wins, two coming during the current homestand, are their most since celebrating three extra-innings walk-offs during the final season (2012) at Lambert Field. A freshman has scored the game-winning run in all three walk-offs this year, with Milo Beam earning the honor in the victories vs. Illinois and Saint Louis.
NOTABLE STREAKS FOR PURDUE'S 3-4-5 HITTERS
Nick Dalesandro, Skyler Hunter and Jacson McGowan have comprised Purdue's 3-4-5 combination in the lineup for 19 straight games dating back to March 31. Evan Warden and Harry Shipley have also batted 1-2 in every game during that same stretch. Dalesandro, Hunter and McGowan all enter the weekend riding a bit of a below-the-radar streak.
Dalesandro has hit safely in 10 consecutive home games and 12 of 13 total at Alexander. He has reached base safely 13 times during the seven-game win streak. For the season, he leads the team with a .393 batting average with runners in scoring position. Thanks in part to a team-high six sacrifice flies, five coming in the last 11 games, Dalesandro has driven home a runner from third base with less than two outs in 18 of his 23 opportunities. The 78 percent efficiency in those key RBI opportunities leads the team.
Hunter is the only Boilermaker that has reached base safely in all 15 Big Ten game this season. The freshman has hit safely in 12 of the 15 games. Batting .414 with two outs this season, he's recorded 24 of his 51 hits and 10 of 30 RBI with two down in an inning. Those timely hits are a big reason why he's batting .345 with runners in scoring position.
McGowan has been Purdue's hottest hitter during the current homestand, going 11-for-23 with a .520 on-base percentage over the last six games. For the season, he has reached base safely in 12 straight games at Alexander Field, every game but the home opener. The sophomore picked up his 40th RBI of the year with his two-run homer in the series-opening win vs. Saint Louis. He became the first Boilermaker to reach the 40-RBI benchmark since multi-year All-Big Ten honorees Cameron Perkins, Kevin Plawecki and Barrett Serrato all did in 2012. Perkins also reached the 40-RBI mark before May 1 as well.
BONNER BEHIND THE PLATE ALL DAY EVERY DAY
Freshman Bryce Bonner has not only started at catcher for the last eight games, he's also caught all 72 innings. For the season, he's now been Purdue's starting catcher 25 times to Dalesandro's 18. With the pitching staff leading the way during the Boilermakers' recent hot streak, Bonner has compiled a 2.40 catcher's ERA during his eight-game streak as the full-time man behind the plate.
With 12 doubles, Bonner has been among the Big Ten leaders now for multiple weeks. However, two-baggers have been a tougher for the freshman to come by as of late. He does not have an extra-base hit during Purdue's seven-game win streak, but has still reached base safely 13 times thanks to six singles and seven walks. For the season, he leads the team with 22 walks and a .911 OPS. He's the only Boilermaker with an equal number of walks as strikeouts.
QUICK LOOK AT NORTHWESTERN
Michigan State stole a Big Ten season-high 11 bases against NU in Sunday's rubber game in Evanston. For the season, the Wildcats have surrendered 70 steals in 93 attempts. Otherwise, Northwestern has been solid defensively with a .977 fielding percentage, including a .981 mark in league play.
Joe Hoscheit has been on fire in Big Ten play, batting .429 with 11 extra-base hits and a league-high 24 RBI. Matt Hopfner is also batting .300 for the season overall and leads the team with 14 doubles. Eleven different position players have started 20-plus games for NU this year.
Saturday starter Hank Christie has been the only pitcher to make a start every weekend for the Wildcats. Cooper Wetherbee was a reliever for a majority of the season, but has taken over as the Friday starter. With 31 strikeouts and 42 hits allowed coupled with a 2.90 ERA in 40 1/3 innings, he has been among NU's most effective pitcher.
-- Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) May 4, 2017