With the winter sports all complete the spring sports season is now in full effect. That means lots of tennis, baseball, softball, and track & field going on as classes wind down for the year. Here is an update on how things are going.
Baseball is struggling mightily for the third season in a row after winning the Big Ten. What's worse, the Big Ten is possibly the best it has ever been. Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Maryland have all been in the top 25 nationally this season and Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan are all in the top 60 in the national RPI. The Big Ten could easily get six teams into the NCAA Tournament, if not more. This is unprecedented when usually three Big Ten teams in the postseason is considered overwhelming success.
All this has meant Purdue has struggled against a difficult schedule. Purdue got a nice win at Oklahoma and had close calls against Missouri and Louisville in nonconference play, but after yesterday's loss at Illinois the Boilers are 1-7 in Big Ten play heading into tonight's series finale. Purdue has been swept by Iowa (a really good team) and Butler (a really bad team) in its last two weekend series. Purdue is 2-12 in its last 14 and is 11-23 overall. It looks like Purdue will not finish in the top 8 in the conference and will miss the Big Ten Tournament for a third straight season, as Penn State looks like the only series it could win the rest of the way. Iowa, Illinois, Ohio State, and Maryland are all playing well enough to not only make the NCAA Tourney, but host a regional.
Among the good is Kyle Wood, who is fourth in the conference with a .362 batting average. That still doesn't prevent Purdue from being last in the conference in batting average as a team and 11th in pitching with a 5.48 ERA. It is the third straight season Purdue has been last in the conference in batting after leading it in 2012. Translation: WE NEED A NEW HITTING COACH! BADLY!!!
Purdue has been much, much better in softball, especially with the new softball stadium opening next door to Alexander Field. Purdue is 25-16 overall and 5-7 in the Big Ten. They had a nice early season win over Texas A&M (ranked in the top 20). They also won all five games at the Florida International Tournament and all six games at the Michelle Smith Spring Break Tournament. The new softball stadium opened with a three-game sweep of Wisconsin March 20-22. Purdue beat Nebraska 1-0 on Friday before dropping the next two games to the Cornhuskers at home.
The Boilers probably have an outside chance at getting into the NCAA Tournament, but a strong finish is needed. They should easily top last year's 27-28-1 record. A total of 34 wins might be enough, as Purdue got in with 34 wins in 2008.
Lily Fecho established a new career strikeouts record in the win over Nebraska
Men's Tennis is 4-16 overall and a putrid 0-8 in the Big Ten before facing Indiana this week. This comes a year after the program made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 12 years.
The ladies are 12-6 and 5-4 in the Big Ten with a No. 34 national ranking. They have matches remaining against Minnesota and Wisconsin before the Big Ten Tournament at Northwestern. They ladies made the NCAAs last season, losing in the first round to Georgia Tech. They have made the tournament in three straight seasons.
Track & Field
Carmiesha Cox established a new school record in the 200 meters this weekend at the Jim Click Shootout as track & field continues to improve. She was also part of the 4x100 meter relay teamthat also broke the school record.
Another school record that fell this weekend was by national qualifier (and winner of the best name in Purdue Sports history ) Chukwuebuka Enekwechi. He won the men's hammer throw at the Arizona event with a school record throw of over 226 feet.
Despite losing the Bucket and trailing big early on, Purdue has closed the gap in trying to retain the Governor's Cup with Indiana. The Hoosiers lead 7.5-5.5 with the next point being contested on Wednesday in Bloomington for Men's Tennis. Purdue took the wrestling and women's tennis points to close the gap, while Indiana winning the women's basketball game in Bloomington was worth half a point for IU.