WEEKEND SERIES INFORMATION
No. 17 Michigan (32-16, 15-5 B1G) at Purdue (31-18, 14-6 B1G)
Thursday to Saturday, May 17 to 19 at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 1 p.m. ET
Thursday Webcast on BTN Plus / Friday and Saturday on BTN, BTN2Go and Fox Sports Go
Alexander Field / West Lafayette, Indiana
All-Time Series: Michigan leads 146-59 / All-Time in West Lafayette: Michigan leads 69-32
2017: Michigan swept a three-game set (May 12-14 in West Lafayette)
Purdue's Last Series Win vs. Michigan: Purdue won 2 of 3 (May 2012 in West Lafayette)
First Meeting: Michigan 18, Purdue 0 (1893 in Ann Arbor)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Thursday: Tanner Andrews (Sr, RHP) vs. Tommy Henry (So, LHP)
Friday: Gareth Stroh (Jr, LHP) vs. Ben Dragani (Fr, LHP)
Saturday: Ryan Beard (Jr, LHP) vs. Karl Kauffmann (So, RHP)
Thursday: $2 tickets, domestic draft beers, hot dogs and nachos
Friday: Salute to Service Night -- $1 tickets for military, first responders, hospital staff
Saturday: Senior Day; Set No. 3 of Purdue Baseball cards giveaway; $12 family 4-pack ticket
All Weekend: $2 domestic draft beers while supplies last; $2 tickets for Purdue faculty and staff
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue and Michigan both have a chance at claiming a share of the Big Ten baseball title this weekend as they square off at Alexander Field for the biggest series in the six-year history of the ballpark.
Second-place Michigan (15-5 B1G) and third-place Purdue (14-6) are both chasing league-leading Minnesota (16-4), which plays at Rutgers (7-14) this weekend. The Boilermakers can clinch no worse than a tie for second and the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament with a series win. They'll need the Gophers to lose at least twice to have a chance to win a share of the conference title.
A May 1993 series between Purdue and Indiana marked the last time a pair of 30-win Big Ten teams squared off in West Lafayette. The Big Ten Network is televising the final two games of the series this weekend.
Meanwhile, the Boilermakers and Wolverines are very much in the mix for the last group of at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament. Purdue's RPI climbed to 47 following Tuesday's win vs. Oral Roberts, leapfrogging Michigan (50) in the process. Next week's Big Ten Tournament will likely feature seven teams in the top 70 in the RPI and thus also have a big impact on the NCAA Tournament résumés of numerous teams. But the winner of this week's series in West Lafayette will likely move into the projected field of 64.
It's a big weekend series vs. Michigan, but Coach @Waz4412 stressed he wants the #Boilermakers to "play as a team & have as much fun as we can doing it." Our guys also discuss the big impact Ben Nisle has had over the last couple weeks. #BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/KniV7p4XL0
-- Purdue Baseball (@PurdueBaseball) May 16, 2018
Michigan is ranked 17th nationally this week by Collegiate Baseball.
Michigan (20) and Purdue (13) have posted the longest win streaks in the Big Ten this season. They're among a group of 10 teams nationally to win at least 13 consecutive games at some point this year. Tennessee Tech (28) and Michigan are the only teams to win 20 in a row in 2018.
The Boilermakers' 10-game win streak at Alexander Field is tied for the third-longest home win streak in program history. It's also the longest since the 1987 NCAA Regional team won a team-record 13 in a row in April of that season en route to posting a program-record 37 victories overall. It was a record that stood until 2012. As of May 15, the current 10-game streak is tied for the third longest active home win streak nationally.
The Wolverines won 17 consecutive games at home during their 20-game win streak. They were 4-11 when the streak began. Michigan lost its March 14 home opener to Lawrence Tech, an NAIA Division II program, but didn't lose again until April 27 at Iowa. The home win streak was snapped May 11 by Illinois, which went on to win the series to bolster its NCAA Tournament prospects.
Ohio State and Illinois (13-8) are tied fourth place in the Big Ten standings, 1 ½ games behind Purdue. The Buckeyes visit Michigan State and the Illini host Nebraska this weekend. The Big Ten Network will be televising the first two games of the OSU-MSU series and the Saturday finale of the Illinois-Nebraska series. If the Boilermakers win one game this weekend vs. Michigan, it would take a sweep by either OSU or Illinois to overtake Purdue in the standings. The top four seeds in the Big Ten Tournament are designated as the home teams in the opening round. The eight-team event is back at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, the site of the College World Series.
The Boilermakers have finished in the top three in the Big Ten standings nine times since 1993. Purdue finally broke through and won its elusive Big Ten title in 2012, clinching it with a victory vs. Michigan in West Lafayette. The program had previously finished second in 2001, 2005 and 2008 as well as third in 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000 and 2011.
The Boilermakers are hosting Michigan for the final weekend of the season at Alexander for the second year in a row. The Wolverines never trailed while sweeping the series a year ago. While Tanner Andrews and Gareth Stroh are again slated to start the first two games on the mound for Purdue, Michigan has a completely new weekend rotation. However, Tommy Henry and Karl Kauffmann both pitched in relief at Alexander last year as freshmen.
Both teams have four players with at least nine stolen bases. The Wolverines are tied for the Big Ten lead with 89 steals. Purdue catcher Nick Dalesandro has thrown out a league-high 18 base stealers. He and Michigan's top all-around player, outfielder Jonathan Engelmann, are two of the five players in the conference that have stolen 20-plus bags.
LONGEST SINGLE-SEASON HOME WIN STREAKS
13 Straight Wins -- 1987 (April 2-23)
11 Straight Wins -- 1982 (April 18-May 10)
10 Straight Wins -- 2018 (April 24-Present)
10 Straight Wins -- 1983 (April 16-23)
SENIOR DAY ON SATURDAY
Purdue's seven seniors were presented their diplomas by university president Mitch Daniels before Tuesday's game. They'll be honored again Saturday at the annual Senior Day ceremony. Tanner Andrews, Evan Kennedy, Mike Kornacker, Alec Olund and Harry Shipley have all been part of the program since the fall of 2014. Ross Learnard and Cameron Williams transferred in to begin the 2016-17 school year and have been key members of the bullpen. Together they've teamed with the second-year coaching staff to help transform the program. Purdue was a combined 30-78 (.278) in 2015 and 2016, but turned things around the last two years and already won twice as many games (60-45, .571).
Shipley has missed only one game in four years as an ironman at shortstop, all while establishing an all-time hit by pitch record of 73. His 212 career games are 39 more than any other active Boilermaker. He's played every inning at shortstop this season.
Andrews didn't even make his college debut until April 11 of his freshman season. But as the ace of the weekend rotation the last two years, he's pitched 87 more innings than any other active Boilermaker while helping lead Purdue to a 19-9 record on Fridays dating back to the start of 2017. He's only the second pitcher this century to start three consecutive season openers.
Olund has played in 173 games, starting at least 23 games in each of his four seasons. He batted a team-best .417 during the 13-game win streak this year, vaulting him into the seasonal lead at .353. He has two career walk-off hits.
Kornacker was part of Purdue's weekend rotation in 2015 and 2017, earning the rare opportunity to start a Big Ten opener as a freshman. His first two seasons were cut short by injuries, but his all-around abilities earned him an opening day start in 2016 as Purdue's designated hitter.
Kennedy has earned his most playing time as a senior. He was productive in driving in runs in limited opportunities as a freshman and had established himself as the starting DH in 2017 when a wrist injury ended his season the final week of March. In Tuesday's win, he hit the first pinch-hit home run by a Boilermaker in six years.
Learnard has become of the most successful relief pitchers in program history. He's one save shy of tying the program's single-season record (13). His 11 saves in Big Ten play is a career benchmark. The All-American has posted consecutive scoreless innings streaks of 35 2/3 and 24 2/3 in just two years as Boilermaker.
Williams has pitched in 37 games in his two seasons. He helped stabilize the bullpen in 2017, recording 29 strikeouts in 25 innings.
All seven seniors are set to earn Academic All-Big Ten honors this spring.
ACTIVE ALEXANDER STREAKS
Harry Shipley and Nick Dalesandro enter the final weekend of the regular-season riding notable streaks at Alexander Field. Shipley has reached base safely in 19 straight home games dating back to the final two games of 2017 (also vs. Michigan). Dalesandro has hit safely in 13 straight games at Alexander and reached base safely in 16 consecutive, all but the home opener vs. Lipscomb.
Shipley's reached base safely streak is the longest by a Boilermaker at home since Eric Charles posted a 23-game streak from 2009 to 2010. Brandon Haveman and Charles were the last Boilermakers to reach base safely in every home game of a season in which they played, accomplishing the feat in 2009 when Purdue's home slate was limited to 17 games. Haveman hit safely in 24 consecutive home games from 2008 to 2009.
LONG HOME STREAKS SINCE 2005
* -- Included every home game in which he played in a season
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