After opening the season last week with three road games against Atlanta schools Purdue heads off to the Left Coast today to face the California Golden Bears in their first 3-game weekend series against one team. The Bears were highly rated coming into the season, but lost two road games at Duke last weekend 6-5 in 10 innings and 5-4, both on walk-offs. That dropped them to No. 26 nationally in the CBN poll. They won a mid-week game against San Francisco 5-4 to move to 2-2 on the year. They are No. 12 in one poll and No. 11 in another.
Friday 10pm ET
Tanner Andrews (0-0, 4.91 ERA) vs. Daulton Jeffries (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Saturday 9pm ET
Nick Dalesandro (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Ryan Mason (0-0, 6.00 ERA)
Sunday 3pm ET
Gavin Downs (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Matt Ladrech (0-0, 9.00 ERA)
Purdue enters with a 1-2 record after beating Georgia State last week, but losing close games to Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Jack Picchiotti had an excellent weekend by going 5 of 10 with a pair of runs scored. Leaving men on base was a huge problem, however. The Boilers left 31 men on base over three games, most of them coming against Kennesaw State.
Purdue will have trouble tonight in game one, as Daulton Jeffries is a preseason All-American who went 6 strong innings without giving up an earned run last week in their season opener against Duke. He struck out nine as Cal won 5-2 over Duke. He surrendered five hits and the Blue Devils did get him for two unearned runs.
Brandon Farney leads them offensively, having reached base in 10 of 17 plate appearances. He is batting .462 with four doubles, while Nick Halamandaris has driven five runs with a .353 average. Overall this is not a ridiculously strong offense, but it is good and all three starting pitchers are back from a team that went 36-21 last season and won two games in the College Station Regional.
Purdue also has not done well in California historically. Since 2001 they are 1-15 in games in the state of California, the only win coming during the great 2012 season when they scored 10 times in the 9th to beat UCLA and avoid a sweep. Avoiding a sweep is what Purdue needs to do here. This team played pretty well down in Atlanta and just needs some more timely hitting to get those runners home. A win over a top 25 Pac-12 team would be huge this early for a team that has a ton of experience and is looking to turn things around after three awful years.