Purdue just finished the worst Big Ten baseball season of the modern era.
That's really the only way you can put it. Purdue went 2-22 after No. 25 Minnesota came to Alexander Field and beat Purdue in three games. The 2-22 mark is the worst mark since the conference went to a 24-game league schedule in 2009. It is the fewest wins by any team since Iowa went 2-13 in 1986. In the three losses Purdue now has a new school record for losses in a single season with 42 and have to win three of their final five games this week just to reach double digit victories. Purdue has not seen a season this dismal since going 7-24 in 1975, and the extra 20 games or so it will play make it that much worse.
Friday: Minnesota 4, Purdue 3 10 innings
Micah Coffey led the eighth inning off with a solo home run to tie it for Minnesota and a sacrifice fly from Jordan Smith in the top of the 10th led to a comeback win for the Gophers. Tanner Andrews pitched well in relief for Purdue, but took the loss in 5 2/3 after striking out six. Once again, it was Purdue's inability to get hits with the bases loaded that was the difference. Purdue left nine men on bases and twice had the bases loaded with less than two outs but only managed one run.
Saturday: Minnesota 14, Purdue 4
Purdue led 4-3 entering the eighth inning, but a bullpen implosion led to nine runs in the eighth for the Gophers as they blew the game wide open. Minnesota then added two more in the ninth to make sure. Kyle Johnson was at least 4 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI. Nick Dalesandro was responsible for five of the runs given up in just a third of an inning on the mound.
Sunday: Minnesota 3, Purdue 0
As has been the case for many games this year, Purdue's bats were completely silent on Sunday. Purdue has been shutout now in its last two Sunday games and has only four runs in the last four Sunday contests. Purdue managed only four hits, two from Alec Olund, and no runner got beyond second base. Shane Bryant only gave up one earned run in 6 2/3, but that is more than enough when you don't score. Toby Anderson pitched a complete game shutout for his 9th win of the season.
Purdue now sits at a dismal 7-42 overall and has lost 14 in a row for the second time this season. Strangely, the two 14 game losing streaks sandwich Purdue's best run of play all year, when they won three of four against Michigan State, Ball State, and Maryland. That still makes Purdue 3-29 in the last 32 games.
There are five games left in the season. Purdue will face IPFW on Tuesday night at the Municipal Stadium in Kokomo just a week after the Mastodons beat the Boilers 4-3 in West Lafayette. The Boilers then close the season with four games Thursday through Sunday against Cal State Northridge in West Lafayette. This series is a result of the Big Ten having only 13 baseball programs, so at least one team plays an out of conference series every week. Northridge is 31-16 and is fighting to get into the NCAA at large consideration.
What's more frustrating is this:
# of Sports in which B1G School Has Won a Title in 15-16:— Drew Hallett (@DrewCHallett) May 15, 2016
2: MSU, NEB
1: IU, ILL, NW, WIS
0: IA, PU, RU
Only baseball has yet to be decided, and Purdue obviously won't win the Big Ten there. It marks the third straight season in which Purdue did not win a single team conference championship. The last one came in women's golf in 2013. Also, that season, the women's basketball team won the Big Ten Tournament. You have to go back to 2012 in baseball for the last time a Purdue men's team was named a Big Ten champion, and that was... our baseball team, ironically.