May 9, 2013
(PPV) | Game Day Central
(with live links)
Probable Pitching Matchups
Friday: Robert Ramer (Sr, RHP) vs. U-M's Trent Szkutnik (So, LHP)
Saturday: Jordan Minch (Fr, LHP) vs. U-M's Evan Hill (Fr, LHP)
Sunday: TBA for Purdue vs. U-M's Logan McAnallen (Jr, LHP)
Weekend Weather Forecast for Ann Arbor, Mich.
Friday: 61 degrees, 90 percent chance of rain
Saturday: 64 degrees, 30 percent chance of rain
Sunday: 51 degrees, clear skies
All-Time: Michigan leads 135-57
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. Michigan: Michigan leads 21-17 (Since 1999)
Last Series: Purdue won 2-of-3 (2012 in West Lafayette)
Last Series in Ann Arbor: Michigan won 2-of-3
Purdue's Last Series Win in Ann Arbor: Purdue swept a four-game series (1993)
First Meeting: U-M 18, Purdue 0 (1893 in Ann Arbor)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue baseball closes out its road slate with¬ its second trip in the span of three weekends to the state Michigan, visiting Ann Arbor for the first time since 2010 for a Big Ten series with the University of Michigan.
First pitch at Ray Fisher Stadium is set for 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Only three active Boilers - Angelo Cianfrocco, Brad Schreiber and Stephen Talbott - saw action in the Purdue-Michigan series at Ray Fisher Stadium in April 2010.
The Wolverines (25-22, 10-8 Big Ten) are currently in sixth place in the Big Ten standings, holding a one-game lead over Illinois (9-9 Big Ten) for the sixth and final Big Ten Tournament berth. The Boilermakers (16-28, 5-13 Big Ten) need to sweep Michigan to remain alive in the Big Ten Tournament chase. One more loss in any of its remaining six Big Ten games would eliminate Purdue from tournament contention. Two wins by either Illinois (vs. Penn State) or Northwestern (at Indiana) this weekend would also eliminate the Boilers.
Michigan is expected to start three lefties on the mound. If Kyle Wood starts again Sunday for Purdue, as he has done each of the last three weekends, Robert Ramer could end up being the only right-handed starting pitcher of the series. When this weekend's series is complete, the Boilers will have faced a lefty starter seven times in a stretch of eight games. Entering the April 28 series finale at Michigan State, Purdue had only seen 12 left-handed starters in its first 39 games. The Boilers are 7-9 in games started by opposing lefties.
Purdue will be in search of its first series victory in Ann Arbor since sweeping a four-game set in 1993. However, Ann Arbor has not been a frequent destination for the Boilers over the last 20 years. Purdue has only played four traditional weekend series at Ray Fisher Stadium since that sweep in 1993. The two teams did not play during the regular-season Big Ten schedule in 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008 and 2009.
Purdue won two-of-three vs. the Wolverines at Lambert Field each of the last two seasons, failing to complete the series sweep on Sunday both years. Last year's series victory clinched the 2012 Big Ten regular-season title for the Boilers.
Erik Bakich is the lone new head coach around the conference this year. He took over the Michigan program after a lengthy stint as an assistant at Vanderbilt and three years as the head coach at Maryland. The Terrapins dealt Purdue its first loss of the 2012 season. At 35 years old, Bakich is the youngest head baseball coach at BCS conference university.
After posting a combined 39-71 record (15-32 in Big Ten play) the last two seasons, the Wolverines have returned to Big Ten Tournament contention this year thanks to a nice mixture of veterans, underclassmen and freshmen. Outfielders Michael O'Neill (.343, 16 doubles, 18 steals) and Patrick Biondi (.316, 15 steals) earned All-Big Ten honors despite their team's struggles the last two seasons. Biondi returned to school for his senior season after being selected in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Reliever Matt Ogden (5 wins, 2 saves, 2.76 ERA) and outfielder Zach Zott (.293, 9 XBH, 14 steals) both got a chance to play as freshmen last season and have been key contributors this year. Starting pitcher Evan Hill (7-2, 2.60 ERA), shortstop Travis Maezes (.311, 14 XBH, 30 RBI) and third baseman Jacob Cronenworth (.311, 32 RBI, 10 steals) have had the biggest impact among the freshmen. Cronenwoth is also a reliever, recording six saves and 23 strikeouts in 14 appearances. Hill has won Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times and Maezes has been recognized twice in the last four weeks.
With six guys who have stolen at least nine bases, Michigan leads the Big Ten in steals and is expected to employ an aggressive approach on the base paths. Along with stealing bases, U-M base runners will also look to take the extra base on hits to the outfield and fly balls.
The Wolverines won 10 consecutive games from April 2 through April 16, sweeping Michigan State and Penn State and winning both ends of a home-and-home midweek series with nationally-ranked Notre Dame during that stretch. But Michigan has dropped eight of its last 12 games since. Iowa played U-M tough in Ann Arbor last weekend. The Wolverines won two-of-three but all three games were decided by one run and they needed a pair of late rallies to come from behind to win the rubber game.
Purdue concludes its regular-season schedule next week with four home games.