A burgeoning Big Ten baseball blog circle has been kind enough to accept me this year as a Purdue representative. Since I am one of the few if not only places that talks about Purdue baseball I was glad to sign up. They recently sent me the first RPI of the season as we are now three weeks in for most teams. The news is not good. Purdue's 1-6 start has them rated #285...
...out of 295 Division I teams.
I think we can safely say that an NCAA Tournament bid is out of reach without a dynamic turnaround in conference play. Truth be told, Purdue hasn't played anyone against a weak schedule and they have been terrible in doing so. They have made a ton of errors and when they haven't, the offense has stagnated. Here are the season results so far.
2/26 vs. Villanova (L 5-13) - Purdue held an early lead against the 3-0 Wildcats, but gave up 8 runs in the last three innings. Five errors certainly did not help matters either. Matt Bischoff took the loss in 6 strong innings, but only one of the five runs he gave up was earned. Catcher Kevin Plawecki was 3 for 3 with an RBI. Cameron Perkins also hit his first home run of the season.
2/27 vs. Cincinnati (L 6-7) - In what is becoming a disturbing trend for the Boilers, they blew a big lead late. Purdue led 6-0 going into the bottom of the ninth, but promptly gave up seven runs for the loss. An error, two wild pitches, and several walks contributed to the absolute implosion, and it blew a stellar effort by starter Matt Morgan. Morgan tossed seven shutout innings and struck out nine, but got a no decision. Morgan was named the Big Ten's Co-Pitcher of the Week for his effort.
2/28 vs. Rutgers (L 5-6) - The Scarlet Knights made sure Purdue went 0-for in the Big Ten/Big East Baseball Challenge. Purdue trailed 6-4 going into the ninth, but could only manage one run. The game's tying run was tagged out at the plate when Barrett Serratto tried to score on a ground ball in the infield with the bases loaded and one out. Cameron Perkins then grounded out to end the game. Matt Jansen gave up one earned run in six innings, but once again three errors were the difference.
3/1 vs. West Virginia (L 14-18) - This game was a last minute addition to the schedule with both teams still being in the Clearwater area, but Purdue obviously sent their gloves home early. The Boilers committed seven errors in giving up 18 runs. An eight run third inning tagged Drew Wurdack with the loss. Second baseman Eric Charles probably wishes he hadn't gone to Florida as he committed six errors in four games.
Last weekend at Southern Illinois (W 18-2, L 12-13, L 2-6) - Purdue pounded the Salukis in game one, but couldn't carry all those runs over to the rest of the weekend. Brad Schreiber tagged his first home run of the season in game one while Bischoff got the win in six innings. Three more errors cost Purdue in game two as Purdue lost it by giving up a run in the bottom of the ninth. Joe Hasse took the loss in this one. The final game of the series was more of a pitcher's duel with Jansen losing by giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings. The bullpen did have its first spotless outing of the season, however. This was a welcome relief from the previous games it had blown. Jansen gave up all six runs in the fifth inning of an otherwise solid outing.
The Boilers are scheduled to play in a tournament down in Evansville this weekend, marking their first games in Indiana of the season. Purdue will face LeMoyne, Morehead State, and the host Purple Aces in the Dunn Hospitality Diamond Classic. None of those teams currently have a winning record. Purdue will then travel to face Eastern Kentucky on March 16 and 17, before visiting Ohio next weekend.