In 2017 Purdue will have a new baseball coach for the first time in a very long time Mark Wasikowski takes over the Boilers to replace Doug Schreiber, the winningest coach in program history and the man who, in 2012, actually had Purdue among the best programs in the country for much of the year. Schreiber resigned after four dismal years from that peak, and Wasikowksi was hired to replace him with a difficult challenge ahead.
The first step in that challenge will begin with a very road heavy schedule too, as Purdue has 21home games in 2017, among the lowest in all of college baseball.
The scehdule to start does not have a lot of power teams, but it is sitll tough with 22 straight away contests. Purdue starts with a four-game series at Texas State from February 17-19 that includes a Saturday doubleheader. The next week Purdue faces Little Rock in three games in Arkansas. On March 3-5 Purdue is at Southeast Missouri State before making a return four-game trip to Cal State Northridge March 10-13 (Purdue closed the 2016 season at home against CSU-Northridge).
Purdue will stay in California over spring break with a four game set against Santa Clara from March 16-18. That’s when the early run of games well away from West Lafayette comes to an end.
The Boilers still have four games away from home to close the trip. A midweek March 22 game at Ball State is followed by the opening of Big Ten play at Iowa March 24-26. That closes the opening season road trip, but in those 22 games Purdue does not play a single 2016 NCAA Tournament team.
Purdue’s home opener comes March 28 against Kent State, who had an NCAA win over the Boilers in 2012 on their way to the CWS. Kent State was 43-14 last year, but missed the NCAA tourney after being upset in the MAC tourney. Purdue then hosts Valparaiso on March 29 before going to Ohio State March 31- April 2. The Buckeyes are the first 2016 NCAA team Purdue plays.
Purdue goes to Indiana State for a weekday game on April 4, but its first home Big Ten game home series is on April 7-9 against the Indiana Hoosiers. Because of how mess up the Big Ten scheduling has been, it is the first time Indiana plays at Purdue since 2011.
Purdue goes to Lousiville, a 2016 national seed that was upset in the Super Regionals, for a single game on April 11, then goes to Rutgers on April 14-16.
Finally, on April 18 Purdue begins a lengthy home series. They host Ball State on April 18, Indiana State April 19, Illinois on April 19-21, IPFW April 26, St. Louis April 28-30, and Northwestern May 5-7. There is a very brief interuption with a May 9 road game at Valparaiso before hosting Butler on May 10 and Michigan May 12-14.
Purdue then closes the season May 16 at IPFW and May 18-20 at Minnesota.
It is not the strongest season Purdue has faced despite all the road games. The only NCAA teams Purdue faces are Ohio State, Louisville, and Minnesota. Indiana has been a recent Big Ten juggernaut and Kent State was possibly the best team in America outside of last year’s tourney. It should be enough for what is likely a rebuilding year under a new coach.