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Baseball faces critical weekend series against Ohio State

Hey guys, sorry for the late update, but I had to pull double-duty working today. I've been covering high school baseball he last two nights, so I haven't gotten much of a chance to comment on recent events or the spring scrimmage. The good news about that is that I was granted press access for Saturday at Ross-Ade, so we now have a dash of official legitimacy from the Purdue athletic department. It's just another small step forward, and I am honored that you readers have helped me get this far.

For those heading to West Lafayette this weekend, I highly recommend heading over to Lambert Field to see the baseball team take on Ohio State. The Buckeyes are having a pretty good season so far. They have the best overall record in the Big Ten at 26-8 and are just half a game out of first place at 6-3 in the conference. They also have a very impressive win over Miami in Coral Gables 7-1 on March 24th. The Canes are a top 10 team and are one of the best teams in the country every year. Alex Wimmers, Drew Rucinski, and Jake Hale combined the one-hit the Canes, who have a pretty powerful offense. We'll see Wimmers (3.32 ERA) and his 6-1 record on Friday.

Dean Wolosiansky (7-1, 5.51 ERA) is the Saturday starter and Eric best (6-1, 4.89) will start Sunday's contest. Should the game be close at the end Hale has proven to be one of the conference's best closers with seven saves. Historically we have also not done well against Ohio State. Last season's 3 games to one series win in Columbus was Purdue's first series win in Columbus since 1986.

Purdue will counter on the mound by going to the Matt-resses (sidenote: I am officially banning myself from bad puns after that one). Matt Bischoff (3-2), Matt Jansen (3-3), and Matt Morgan (3-2) will have their work cut out for them against a potent Ohio State lineup. Their offense is pretty good, hitting .332 as a team and averaging almost nine runs per game. Purdue is hitting .315 as a team, so Ohio State's pitching definitely has a bit of an edge since our own has been rather mediocre.

For those that can't make it to West Lafayette, this weekend offers a rare treat. The Saturday and Sunday contests will be aired on the Big Ten Network. The Network has done a pretty good job of expanding its baseball coverage this season, and the teams in the conference are having a very good year to give them a wider showcase.

Purdue needs to have a good weekend this weekend to keep pace in a tightly bunched conference race. The boilers are in fifth place, but sit just a game behind Indiana and Minnesota in first place. A win over Illinois State on Wednesday got the Boilers to the happy side of .500 at 16-15 and we're 5-3 within the conference after winning series against Penn State and Iowa the last two weekends. Our next three conference series are against Ohio State, Minnesota, and Indiana, however, so our destiny toward the first Big Ten baseball title in 100 years is clearly in our hands.

UPDATE: We actually get mentioned in this week's Baseball America weekend preview. Sure, it is most because of Ohio State, but it's something.