This weekend’s trip to Murray State will feature the Boilermaker’s first weekend series against the same opponent. The first three weekends were all tournaments, pitting the team against 9 different opponents. This will be the first bus trip for the team, a 6 hour ride that will hopefully be a bit smoother than the ride back to Purdue from the Indianapolis airport this past weekend.
Due to the snowy and icy conditions on the road that night, there was some big crash that caused our bus and many other vehicles to be completely stopped on 65-N for what was probably an hour. This resulted in us not getting back to campus until 3:30 in the morning, with most of us not getting to bed until 4 a.m. (keep in mind that some players still had to attend 7:30 classes).
Luckily, the team had practice off on Monday, and they were told Tuesday would be an off day as well ("off day" being subjective, as most players will have a lifting session as well as a hitting session in the cages). Wednesday the Boilers had their one and only full practice of the week.
This weekend should provide some extra consistency for Junior catcher Kevin Plawecki calling games behind the plate, as he will not have to rely on three different scouting reports in three different days. He was also recently named to the Johnny Bench Award watch list, which recognizes the nation’s top catcher. Plawecki was 1 of 13 finalists for the Johnny Bench Award in 2011.
Murray State will enter the weekend with an 8-5 record (6-2 at home), having won 6 of their past 8 games, while Purdue enters at 8-1 overall. Murray State has played 4 midweek games so far, and Purdue has yet to play any, which is the reason for the difference in games played.
The Racers projected weekend rotation will feature Tyler Beers on Friday, Cameron Finch on Saturday, and Tim Vonder Haar on Sunday. Beers comes into the weekend with a 4.41 ERA, with a .299 avg. against and 20 hits given up in 16 1/3 innings. He also has 20 strikeouts, but look for the Boilermakers to jump on him early and often.
Cameron Finch comes in with an impressive 2.45 ERA, giving up just 6 ER in 22 innings. Vonder Haar only pitched 1/3 of an inning in his last outing, giving up 4 walks and 5 ER against a 4-6 Central Arkansas team.
Murray State’s top reliever seems to be Luke Shumaker, throwing 18 1/3 innings of relief and allowing just 1 ER to go along with 19 strikeouts.
Redshirt Sophomore outfielder Ty Stetson leads the Racers in nearly every offensive category, including batting average, triples, hits, walks, stolen bases, and total bases. Look for him to have a pretty decent weekend overall.
Junior Nick Wittgren was named B1G pitcher of the week this past week, going four innings with two hits and zero runs. He is the second Boilermaker pitcher to earn the honor this year, as Senior Lance Breedlove was not only named B1G co-pitcher of the week, but also national pitcher of the week two weeks ago.
I am a Junior student manager at Purdue and will be chronicling stories of Boiler baseball throughout the entire season as I travel with them. There will be game previews and recaps for each weekend, as well as some "behind the scenes" stuff.
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