Purdue’s baseball opponent this weekend will likely cause much gnashing of teeth, as it is the Little Rock Trojans. Yes, it is the same school that caused us so much pain back in March. Purdue heads to Arkansas to play their baseball team in a three-game set starting tonight.
Purdue enters this weekend at 2-2 after splitting four games at Texas State last weekend. It easily could have been a 3-1 weekend, but Purdue’s bullpen couldn’t hold the lead in a 13-11 loss by giving up eight runs in the last two innings. It was also an emotional weekend, as newcomer Logan Poisall lost his father to an extended illness before joining the team, doubling in his first collegiate at bat, and homering in his first start on Saturday. His story will actually be on MLB Network this morning at 9:45 am.
Little Rock will be opening its home schedule and it should be a favorable weekend for Purdue. They are 0-4 after losing three games at Oral Roberts last weekend and a midweek game at Louisiana Tech.
Tanner Andrews (1.29, 1-0) vs. Matt McDowell (9.64, 0-1)
Gareth Stroh (27.00, 0-0) vs. Cory Malcolm (1.29, 0-0)
Tanner Schumacher (9.00, 0-0) vs. Chandler Fidel (20.25, 0-1)
Tonight Purdue will throw the Big Ten’s reigning Pitcher of the Week. Tanner Andrews was excellent in the season opener last week. He gave up just one run and struck out nine over 7 innings to earn the victory in a 9-3 Friday win. Little Rock’s Matt McDowell was hit for five runs in 4 2/3 innings last week, so Purdue’s new high powered offense should do well.
After Friday things could get rocky with a ton of runs on both sides. Little Rock’s Cory Malcolm gave up only a run and three hits over 7 innings in a no decision during a 4-3 loss at Oral Roberts last week. On Sunday Purdue faces Chandler Fidel, who only got four outs in giving up three runs during Little Rock’s Sunday loss. Purdue’s Saturday starter, Stroh, made it just two innings before giving up six runs last Saturday, but had a strong offensive performance behind him. Schumacher was better, giving up four runs over four innings in his start against Texas State.
Cameron Knight and Ty Gunter did well at the plate in Little Rock’s first four games. They are both hitting better than .333, while the team has four home runs on the season. For Purdue, Skyler Hunter is batting .467 with 7 hits in 15 at bats. Jacson McGowan had a great weekend too with a home run and eight runs driven in over four games. Evan Warden is batting .417 and Harry Shipley is batting .400 at the top of the lineup. Overall, Purdue is hitting a lot better at .314 while Little Rock is batting .233.
Purdue should be able to come out of the weekend with a series win. It would be their first three-game series win since taking two of three from Nebraska at the end of the 2015 season.