For a brief time this week Purdue had a "winning streak" After beating Michigan State at home last Sunday the Boilers followed it up with a 9-2 home win over Ball State on Tuesday. That momentum carried over into a 4-0 lead Wednesday night against Indiana State, but it quickly turned disastrous. The Sycamores scored 22 unanswered (yes, that is right) runs including 12 in the 8th inning to beat Purdue 22-4 at Alexander Field. A pair of errors and seven hits spurred the inning.
Now the Boilers go on the road to Maryland, where the Terrapins have won two straight regionals in the NCAA Tournament and, in 2012, they were the only team to beat Purdue in a 22-1 start.
Friday 1pm: Gavin Downs (0-3, 6.27 ERA) vs. Taylor Bloom (5-2, 2.10 ERA)
Saturday 2pm: Matt Frawley (1-3, 2.86 ERA) vs. Brian Shaffer (4-2, 2.51 ERA)
Sunday 1pm: Shane Bryant (0-2, 5.85 ERA) vs. Mike Shawaryn (2-3, 4.15 ERA)
It is a very, very bad sign when Harry Shipley, who is normally Purdue's shortstop, has the best ERA on the team. He has played in all 34 games at short, but came on to pitch the final inning in the 22-4 whipping handed out by Indiana State on Wednesday. He gave up only a hit and no runs. Other than his lone inning of work only Frawley, Eddie De LaRiva, and Brian Ghiselli have an ERA below 5.8.
Purdue's rotation in complete disarray, and they face one of the most stable rotations in the Big Ten. Bloom, Shaffer, and Shawaryn have been 1-2-3 every week like clockwork for the Terrapins. Bloom has been excellent with three complete games while Shaffer has two. All three have nine starts for their nine weekend series played so far.
Still, Maryland is just 19-17 and 5-4 in the Big Ten. They are hanging on to one of the last Big Ten Tournament spots, but this is a tournament-tested team. They have an RPI of 35 thanks to a difficult schedule that includes a road series win at Cal State Fullerton and wins over Alabama and Tennessee. Last season they were 42-24 and won the UCLA regional over the No. 1 National seed in the NCAA Tournament, taking two of three games from the Bruins in Los Angeles before losing two one-run games at Virginia in a Super Regional to the eventual national champs. The year before they were 40-23, won a regional at South Carolina, and were up on eventual national runner-up Virginia before falling in the last two games of the Super Regional.
Basically, these teams could not be at opposite ends of the spectrum.