This series is gonna be a good one folks. #16 Purdue comes in at 29-5 overall (10-2 B1G, 1st place) having won 9 in a row and 13 of their last 14 games. Nebraska, on the other hand, is 25-13 overall (7-5 B1G, 3rd place) and has won 5 of their last 6 games.
Offensively, these teams are 1 and 2 in the Big Ten. Purdue is 6th in the country with a .326 team batting average, and Nebraska is 10th with a .317 team average. Both teams are also 1st and 2nd in the conference in slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBI, doubles, and total bases...WOW...that's some dominance right there.
The one thing that Purdue has an upper hand in, however, is pitching. Purdue is 2nd right behind Minnesota in team ERA at 2.91, while Nebraska is 4th with a 4.00 team ERA. The team ERA's are even more lopsided in Big Ten play. Purdue is at 2.36 while Nebraska is at 4.97. Purdue pitching has really lead the way during the 9 game winning streak, accounting for 6 quality starts and a 1.22 ERA.
Nebraska pitching has also allowed over 100 more hits compared to Purdue pitching (379 vs. 274). Purdue is also first in the Big Ten in (fewest) earned runs, doubles, walks, and triples allowed. Really, this team has just been clicking on all possible cylinders lately.
Nebraska's rotation consists of 3 sophomores with a combined 12-4 record on the season. Friday will feature righty Jon Keller (4-1, 3.94 ERA), Saturday will be righty Brandon Pierce (4-1, 2.83 ERA), and Sunday is southpaw Zach Hirsch (4-2, 4.53 ERA). Out of the bullpen, Dylan Vogt leads with a 1.72 ERA in 31.1 IP.
They've got 4 guys in the lineup that are hitting over .350 on the season, 5 guys with at least 4 HR, and 3 guys with 30+ RBI.
Nebraska is predicting there to be 20,000+ fans for the whole series. 1. because their stadium holds around 8,500, and 2. because there is so much is riding on this series. I don't think the atmosphere will affect the team too much, considering they have already experienced hostile crowds at East Carolina, Auburn, and Wichita State.
Nebraska (and Purdue kinda) was featured in ESPN's college baseball weekend preview. The series this weekend was also ranked 6th on the "places to be this weekend." Check that out here. Friday's game will also be on Big Ten Network, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:35 ET.
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.
Follow me on twitter @Banski913