Purdue (26-24) vs. Fort Wayne (8-40)
Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. ET / MTC Sports on ISC Sports Network App
Kokomo Municipal Stadium / Kokomo, Indiana
Probable Pitching Matchup: Jack Dellinger (Fr, RHP) vs. Fort Wayne's Damian Helm (Jr, LHP)
All-Time Series: Purdue leads 25-4
First Meeting of 2017: Purdue 18, Fort Wayne 0 (April 25 in West Lafayette)
2016 in Kokomo: Fort Wayne 6, Purdue 5 (May 17)
First Meetings: Purdue swept a doubleheader 3-2 and 2-1 (May 1976 in West Lafayette)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball closes out midweek play with its first game away from Alexander Field since April 19, squaring off against Fort Wayne on Tuesday at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
First pitch in the heart of Carroll County is set for 6:30 p.m. ET. MTC Sports will be offering the multi-camera webcast of the game at Video.ISCsportsnetwork.com and the ISC Sports Network app. Purdue also partnered with MTC Sports for the webcasts of the Boilermakers' first six home games this month, which were available on BTN2Go.
Kokomo Municipal Stadium opened in the summer of 2015. It's the home of the Kokomo Jackrabbits of the Prospect League. The Boilermakers played four games in Kokomo last season, including their midweek finale against Fort Wayne the final week of the season. It's the Mastodons' home game that was moved to Kokomo so they will bat last as the home team.
Kokomo native Evan Warden gets an opportunity to play in his hometown Tuesday. The Western High School alumnus has started all but one game at second base for Purdue this season. He continues to lead the nation in hit by pitch (27).
PURDUE RECORD BREAKDOWN
Midweek Play: 4-5
vs. Teams from Indiana: 5-5
Games Played in Indiana: 12-10
Tuesday's game will be Purdue's 16th straight played inside the state of Indiana. The Boilermakers fly to the Twin Cities on Wednesday for their final weekend series of the season against Minnesota. They'll likely need at least one win in Minneapolis to have a chance to play at least two more game in their home state next week at the Big Ten Tournament.
The Boilermakers enter the week having lost a season-high five straight. But sometimes a midweek game can help clear a team's cache after a poor stretch. Purdue entered its last game away from Alexander Field, the April 19 win at Indiana State, having lost three in a row and five of six. The Boilermakers rallied to win that game in Terre Haute, igniting a seven-game win streak. First up Tuesday, Purdue will look to end its streak of 40 consecutive innings without holding the lead. The Boilermakers' last lead was 7-6 at the end of the fifth inning in the May 7 rubber game loss to Northwestern.
Bryce Bonner's 13 doubles are tied for third most ever by a Purdue freshman. Bonner joins Cameron Perkins (17 in 2010), Jermaine Allensworth (14 in 1991) and Elam "Rico" Rossy (13 in 1982) as the other Boilermakers with 13 doubles as freshmen. Allensworth and Rossy both made it to the big leagues and Perkins is currently at the Triple-A level in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system.
Skyler Hunter had three hits Sunday vs. Michigan for his team-high 18th multi-hit game. He's opened up a .19-point lead on Nick Dalesandro for the team lead in batting average. Hunter is on track to become the first freshman to lead the Boilermakers in hitting since Kevin Plawecki (.343) in 2010. Hunter has already become the first Purdue freshman with 30 RBI since Plawecki (53) and Perkins (34) in 2010.
SAME PITCHING MATCHUP
Jack Dellinger and Fort Wayne's Damian Helm also started the first game of the year between the Boilermakers and Mastodons. Purdue played Ball State and Indiana State twice in midweek play this year as well. While Dellinger started both games against Ball State, the Cardinals and Sycamores both used a different starting pitcher in the rematch. That makes Helm the only starting pitcher the Boilermakers will have faced twice this year.
Dellinger will have started seven of Purdue's 10 midweek games this year, all but March 29 vs. Valparaiso, April 19 at ISU and May 10 vs. Butler. The freshman was used in relief May 7 vs. Northwestern, his first relief appearance since March 5 at Southeast Missouri State, but has not started on the mound since the first meeting with Fort Wayne on April 25. Dellinger will have gone 20 days between starts. Coincidentally, the Seattle-area native made four starts in the span of 16 days from March 13 to 28. The Boilermakers won all four of those games.
In Purdue victories this season, Dellinger has compiled a 1.85 ERA and .213 batting average against over 24 1/3 innings.
LOTS OF LEFTIES AS OF LATE
The Boilermakers faced only eight left-handed starting pitchers in their first 40 games this year. But Purdue has seen a lot more lefties as of late. Northwestern and Michigan both had a pair of southpaws in their weekend rotations and Minnesota's game one starter is also expected to be a lefty. So after Thursday night's opener in Minneapolis, the Boilermakers will have faced eight southpaw starters in their last 12 games dating back to Helm starting the April 25 game for Fort Wayne at Alexander Field.
LEARNARD HAS PURDUE'S ERA RECORD IN SIGHTS
Ross Learnard's memorable consecutive scoreless innings pitched streak may have ended at 35 2/3 Sunday, but Purdue's relief ace still has only been charged with two runs in 39 1/3 innings this year. With a 0.46 ERA, he's making a run at the program's single-season record (minimum 30 innings). Steve Krull's benchmark of 0.60 ERA (in 30 innings) has stood since 1965. Krull made 10 of his 11 appearances that season as a reliever. Krull's most impressive season came two years later when he posted a 1.04 ERA in 78 innings as the Boilermakers' ace starter. Of the 26 runs scored against Krull that year, 17 were unearned.
Learnard enters the week with a 0.890 WHIP, surrendering just 27 hits and eight walks in 39 1/3 innings. Krull also owns the program's single-season record for WHIP (minimum 30 innings), a 0.833 mark in 1965. Even if he can't eclipse Krull's record, Learnard has a chance to become just the sixth Purdue pitcher to post a sub-1.000 WHIP. Robert Ramer (0.914) and Blake Mascarello (0.963) both accomplished the feat while helping the 2012 team win the Big Ten title.
Dalton Parker and Learnard both have a chance to add their names to Purdue's top-15 list for fewest hits allowed per nine innings in a season (minimum 30 innings). Learnard enters the week with a 6.178 mark (27 hits in 39 1/3 IP) and Parker's clip stands at 6.632 (28 hits in 38 innings). The Boilermakers have had only two pitchers total in the last 24 years at 6.750 and below -- Matt Gibbs (5.769) in 2014 and Trae Dauby (6.750) in 2004.