May 8, 2014
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday: Jordan Minch (So, LHP) vs. Minnesota's Alec Crawford (Sr, RHP)
Saturday: Gavin Downs (So, RHP) vs. Minnesota's Ben Meyer (Jr, RHP)
Sunday: Connor Podkul (So, RHP) vs. Minnesota's Neal Kunik (Jr, RHP)
Weekend Weather Forecast for Minneapolis
Friday: 58 degrees, clear skies
Saturday: 70 degrees, 30 percent chance of rain
Sunday: 62 degrees, 40 percent chance of rain
All-Time Series: Minnesota leads 106-52-2
All-Time Series in Minneapolis: Minnesota leads 62-22
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. Minnesota: Minnesota leads 28-17 (Since 1999)
Last Meeting: Minnesota 1, Purdue 0 (2011 Big Ten Tournament in Columbus)
Last Regular-Season Series: Minnesota won 2-of-3 (April 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis)
Purdue's Last Series Win vs. Minnesota: Purdue Swept a four-game series (April 2008 in West Lafayette)
Last Meeting at Siebert Field: Minnesota 6, Purdue 1 (2004 Big Ten Tournament)
Purdue's Last Series at Siebert Field: Minnesota won 3-of-4 (May 2004)
Purdue's Last Series Win in Minneapolis: Purdue won 3-of-4 (May 2000 at Siebert Field)
First Meeting: Minnesota 14, Purdue 9 (April 1901 in West Lafayette)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- For its final regular-season road trip, Purdue baseball is set to square off with Minnesota for the first time since 2011 knowing it needs a series win to help keep its Big Ten Tournament hopes alive.
First pitch at Siebert Field in Minneapolis is set for 7:30 p.m. ET Friday, 7 p.m. ET Saturday and 1 p.m. ET Sunday. The Boilermakers will be playing on campus at Minnesota for the first time since the 2004 Big Ten Tournament. The last two Purdue-Minnesota series in the Twin Cities have been played at the Metrodome (2009) and Target Field (2011).
The Boilermakers (12-32, 5-13 Big Ten) need to win at least four of their last six conference games to have a chance to qualify for the eight-team Big Ten Tournament, which is set for May 21-25 in Omaha, Neb. Trailing the three teams tied for sixth place in the standings by three games with six to play, the odds may not be in Purdue's favor but it does have the advantage of playing two teams (Minnesota and Iowa) also chasing conference tourney bids.
The most realistic scenarios for the Boilers to earn a berth involve series wins against Minnesota (23-20, 9-9 Big Ten) and Iowa (8-10 Big Ten) first and foremost. Iowa hosts second-place Illinois (13-5 Big Ten) this weekend and Minnesota travels to league-leading Indiana (16-2 Big Ten) next weekend. Purdue would lose head-to-head tiebreakers with Ohio State (8-10 Big Ten) and Michigan State (8-10 Big Ten), and those teams have the advantage of playing Northwestern (OSU) and Penn State (MSU) next weekend.
Even if they were to lose two-of-three this weekend at Minnesota, the Boilers could still theoretically qualify for the Big Ten Tournament if Iowa were to lose at least two-of-three to Illinois and then get swept by Purdue next weekend at Alexander Field.
Minnesota can clinch a Big Ten Tournament berth this weekend with two wins coupled with at least one loss by Penn State vs. Indiana. The Gophers would certainly like to avoid having to win a game next weekend at Indiana to clinch a tourney bid.
The Boilermakers have played 43 different teams since their last game with Minnesota. There are only three players -- Minnesota's Bobby Juan and Matt Halloran, Purdue's Sean McHugh -- on the active rosters who have played in a game between the Gophers and Boilers. None of the three saw action when the teams last met in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament. McHugh made a start at first base at Target Field in April of his freshman season.
The new-look Siebert Field debuted last season on Minnesota's East Bank campus. The Gophers surrendered just one run in 27 innings in a three-game sweep of a struggling Penn State team at Siebert the final weekend of April. But they're just 7-6 overall at home this year, with two of those victories coming against non-Division I opponents.
Solid starting pitching keeps Minnesota competitive every year. Alec Crawford (3.77 ERA, 56 Ks in 76 1/3 IP) and Ben Meyer (2.43 ERA, 56 Ks in 77 2/3 IP) have taken the ball every weekend and gave their team a chance to win in their starts last weekend at No. 4 Florida State. Neal Kunik (1.91 ERA, .207 B/Avg) recently joined the weekend rotation and has not surrendered a run in his first two Big Ten starts (vs. Iowa and Penn State).
The Minnesota offense is among the bottom third of the Big Ten in runs scored, hits and slugging percentage, but does put the ball in play regularly. While Purdue has struck out 295 times in 44 games, Minnesota has just 224 Ks in 43 contests. The Gophers do not bunt (16 sac bunts) or steal bases (33) often. Both teams are strong defensively. The Boilermakers did not commit an error last weekend at Indiana.
Conference Schedule for Final Two Weekends of Big Ten Play (Big Ten Record)
Purdue (5-13) at Minnesota (9-9)
Illinois (13-5) at Iowa (8-10)
Ohio State (8-10) at Michigan (11-10)
No. 8 Indiana (16-2) at Penn State (5-12)
Nebraska (13-5) at Michigan State (8-10) - Saturday through Monday
SIU Edwardsville at Northwestern (5-15) - Non-Conference
Iowa at Purdue
Minnesota at No. 8 Indiana
Northwestern at Ohio State
Michigan State at Penn State
Illinois at Nebraska
Kansas at Michigan - Non-Conference