Boilermaker baseball has yet to play a game in the state of Indiana, but that will change tonight. We're still a few days from opening Alexander Field against No. 4 Louisville on Wednesday, but after 13 games away from home to start the year the Boilers (3-10) will host Ohio this weekend at the new Kokomo Municipal Stadium.
The new stadium in my home town opened last year and is home of the Kokomo Jackrabbits in the Prospect League. It is a Midwest summer collegiate league that has a 60-game summer season made up of college players from all over the country. This coming summer Lafayette will have its own team as the Lafayette Aviators debut at Loeb Stadium. Kokomo built the new stadium to attract a team, and it uses it for local high school baseball, soccer, and a few other college games. According to their ticket website Purdue will play a 4th game there later this spring against IPFW.
Hopefully now that Purdue is at home the Boilers will solve their hitting woes. The Boilers have been shutout twice and have scored two runs or less in 8 of their 10 losses. That includes last week's 3-2 loss to St. Louis and 8-1 loss to Kansas. Nick Dalesandro, Kyle Johnson, and Jack Picchiotti are all hitting over .300, but as a team Purdue is batting just .257.
The pitching has not been much better. Tanner Andrew and Dalesandro are a combined 0-6 and each has an ERA over 6. The team ERA is at 5.70 and teams are batting .280 against Purdue.
Friday 6pm: Tanner Andrews (0-3, 6.00 ERA) vs. Jake Miller (1-3, 4.87 ERA)
Saturday 2pm: Mike Lutz (1-0, 2.84 ERA) vs. Jake Rudnicki (2-0, 4.84 ERA)
Sunday 1pm: Tanner Schumacher (1-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. Connor Sitz (1-1, 3.86 ERA)
Coach Schreiber is shaking up the rotation yet again this week. Lutz is making his third start of the season after moving into the rotation two weeks ago. Schumacher will be making his first start after leading the team in relief appearances with six. He has pitched starter's innings two, as he is 4th on the team in innings pitched.
Ohio comes in having beaten IPFW in two of out three last week during their home opener. Their first 12 games of the season were on the road and they won a series at UNC-Asheville 2-1, lost a series at UAB 1-2, and lost three of 4 at Wofford. The teams have a common opponent as they, too lost at Kennesaw State 8-7 on March 1.
John Adryan is the big bat in their lineup. He bats .344 with 5 home runs and 15 RBI. Rudy Rott leads them with 16 RBI and a .368 batting average, while Manny DeJesus has 13 RBI. The top three hitters in the lineup bat over .300 and as a team they hit .305 with 10 home runs.
Their team ERA is at 4.99, but this is a powerful lineup that can give Purdue a lot of trouble. After three plus years now Purdue is battling the same issues: It struggles at the plate and the pitching is not very good. Unfortunately, those are two very important parts of baseball.