The season opening 22 game road trip for Purdue baseball is nearing an end. All it has left is four games at Santa Clara this week, a midweek Wednesday game at Ball State next week, and the Big Ten opening series at Iowa next weekend before the March 28 home opener against Kent State.
The first four games of the California trip went the opposite of last year’s series with Cal State Northridge. Northridge took the first three games 16-8, 4-1, and 5-4, but Purdue was able to grab the fourth and final game 9-3 on Monday afternoon to move to 6-8 in advance of facing Santa Clara. Purdue blew open a 3-2 lead with six runs in the top of the 8th to earn the win.
Purdue has several players doing very well through 14 games. Skyler Hunter is batting .395 with 6 RBI in 11 starts. Dalton Parker has been excellent out of the bullpen with a 2.20 ERA and a 1-1 record with two saves. Tanner Andrews was doing great before Northridge knocked him around Friday’s start.
Even better, Purdue is not anchored at the bottom of the Big Ten in virtually every statistical category like they have been the last four years. Purdue is 9th in hitting at .254 as a team and 11 in pitching with a 7.05 ERA. Yes, those numbers aren’t great, but the last few years Purdue has been last in both categories and by a very large margin.
The California trip continues tomorrow as the Boilers start a four-game set at Santa Clara. Purdue will play at 9pm ET Thursday and Friday before a doubleheader that begins on Saturday at 6pm ET. Purdue has a good shot at coming through with a couple of wins here. Santa Clara is only 4-12 on the season with wins over Washington, Connecticut, and two over Northwestern. They split a four game set with Northwestern and the Wildcats are only 4-10 on the season.
This past weekend Santa Clara was shelled in four games at Oregon. They lost all four and scored a grand total of three runs against the Ducks. As a team they are batting only .235, but they have hit 12 home runs. Their ERA is at 5.44 and no pitcher has more than one win.
This should be a fun series. While Purdue lost the Northridge series it would be nice if Purdue can come back here with at least a 3-1 series win against a weaker opponent. That would give Purdue a .500 record overall and the chance to be over .500 headed into Big Ten play, which would be a huge accomplishment.