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Finally Home: Baseball recovering from a disastrous start

We're taking another short break from basketball to talk about some baseball. I figured that everyone else is a lot like me. You've read enough about the Duke game and you don't want to hear about how we have no chance, so you're just ready to lace them up and play. Unfortunately, we have to wait until the tipoff of the last Sweet 16 game before we can play. With that, I offer baseball as a distraction. Don't worry, I'll set up an open thread tonight for today's games.

Baseball season has finally come to West Lafayette, as the Boilermaker Nine played their first home game on Tuesday against IPFW. The Boilers made the home opener a success by defeating the Hoosiermakers (I know they are the Mastodons, but I prefer Hoosiermakers) 10-4. That was Purdue's fifth straight victory after they had an awful start to the season. Purdue is now 8-9 after losing to Illinois State on Wednesday at home, and here is what they have done since the Southern Illinois series for our last recap:

3/12 vs. LeMoyne (W 3-0) - Though LeMoyne is a division 2 school in basketball (as we all learned) they are somehow division 1 for baseball. Matt Bischoff earned his second win of the season with 8 strong innings of shutout ball while Calvin Gunter got his first save of the season. Bischoff struck out 11 in the win.

3/13 vs. Morehead State (L 8-9) - This was Purdue's third one-run loss on the season and it was the fault of the bullpen once again. Purdue had a seven run rally to take an 8-7 lead, but gave up two runs in the bottom of the 8th for the loss. Kevin Cahill took his second loss and blown save of the season. Freshman Cameron Perkins went 3 for 5 at the plate with two doubles and two RBI's.

3/14 at Evansville (W 4-3 10 innings) - Purdue finished its weekend at the Dunn Hospitality Classic in Evansville by defeating the host Purple Aces 4-3 in 10 innings. Barret Arthur had a one out double in the top of the 10th and scored on Barrett Serratto's RBI single for the win. Drew Wurdack earned his first win of the season out of the bullpen.

3/16 at Eastern Kentucky (L 2-5) - The Fightin' Danny Hopes took the first of two games over spring break by tagging Brad Schreiber for four earned runs in two and a third innings. Purdue offense managed only five hits in the loss.

3/17 at Eastern Kentucky (W 7-3) - Purdue salvaged a split down in Richmond last Wednesday behind Kevin Plawecki's four RBI performance. Pat Gannon earned the win while Gunter notched his second save of the season. The two combined for 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and one hit. Cameron Perkins added his second home run of the season while Drew Madia had his first.

3/19-21 at Ohio (W 7-4, W 9-8, W 6-2) - Purdue earned a road sweep of the Bobcats while Ohio University was distracted by the basketball team's run in the NCAA tournament. It didn't mean much though. Ohio is currently 2-14 on the year, so anything less than a sweep would have been bad. Bischoff earned his third win of the season in game one while Gunter earned his third save.  Nick Overmeyer had his first home run of the season in game two as Matt Jansen finally earned a win as a starter. Kevin Cahill got his first save as Purdue held the Bobcats at bay after taking an early lead. Game three saw a solid outing from Matt Morgan as he went 7 2/3 for his first win. Arthur added his second home run of the season in the win.

3/23 vs. IPFW (W 10-4) - Wurdack earned his second win of the season as a midweek starter while Joe Hasse became the third Boiler to notch the save with three innings of quality relief. Eric Charles was 3 for 5 with his first home run of the season while Arthur continued his power trip with his third longball.

3/24 vs. Illinois State - (L 2-5) The five game winning streak is over after the Redbirds held Purdue to five hits and two eighth innings runs. Blake Muscarello took the loss for Purdue, giving up just two runs over seven innings. He left trailing 2-0, but the bullpen gave up three more runs in the loss.

Up next:

Purdue will continue its homestand this weekend with four games against Chicago State. The Boilers play once on Friday, twice on Sunday, and once on Sunday against the 1-8 Cougars. That should give them a solid winning record before they have a midweek two game series at Missouri. Missouri is easily their toughest non-conference opponent at 11-6.

In other baseball news, a pair of former Boilers are close to making their Major League debuts, a first since Dave Gassner had a cup of coffee with the Twins in 2005. Josh Lindblom has pitched very well in spring training for the Dodgers and should begin the season at triple-A at the very least. He may even make the big club according to an article on the Dodgers' website this morning.

Another pitcher, Jay Buente, has an excellent shot of getting the call this season with the Marlins. Buente has been aadded to the 40-man roster, meaning he will be among the first call-ups if they need a starting pitcher. BUente pitched well in relief last season, so he will likely get his shot.