I know we have a lot of basketball work to do, but I promise this will be quick. The baseball team is home this weekend playing its first home weekend series of the year. It is entering pretty hot too, having won a midweek game over Valparaiso and 4 of its last 5.
Purdue 5, Valparaiso 1
For the second straight week James Kulak started a midweek game, but Kyle Wade came in early to earn the win on the mound. Kulak gave up three hits and a run in two winnings while went 4 innings and gave up just two hits to earn his second win of the season. Skyler Hunter was 3 of 4 at the plate with a triple and an RBI. He scored a run on a wild pitch in the first and Purdue got a pair of runs on a dropped fly ball in the fourth to take a 3-1 lead. Three of Purdue’s runs were unearned.
Penn State (14-6, 0-3 B1G) at Purdue (8-16, 2-1 B1G)
Friday, March 29 to Sunday, March 31 at 4 p.m., 4 p.m. and 1 p.m. ET / BTN Plus on BTN2Go
Alexander Field / West Lafayette, Indiana
All-Time Series: Purdue leads 48-32 / All-Time in West Lafayette: 26-16
2018: Purdue swept a 3-game set in University Park (March 30-31)
Last Series in West Lafayette: Purdue swept a 2-game set (May 2015)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Patrick J. Smith (Sr, LHP) vs. PSU’s Dante Biasi (R-So, LHP)
Saturday: Andrew Bohm (R-So, RHP) vs. PSU’s Bailey Dees (So, RHP)
Sunday: Ryan Beard (Sr, LHP) vs. PSU’s Eric Mock (R-Jr, RHP)
Friday: Texting gloves giveaway for first 250 fans
Saturday: Purdue baseball cards set No. 1 giveaway
Sunday: Postgame autographs and kids can run the bases
Penn State was awful last season, going just 15-34 overall and 3-21 in Big Ten play to finish in last place. Purdue got off to a great start in conference play last season by beating them in all three games in State College. This year they have gotten off to a much better start. They won a series at Central Florida and won a game at Duke. They started Big Ten play by getting swept at home last week by Minnesota.
This is a battle of two teams that have struggled at the plate despite the difference in their records. Penn State is batting .235 as a team and Purdue is at .231. The difference has been the pitching. Penn State has a strong staff that is fourth in the conference with a 3.66 ERA. Purdue is at 4.44.
Jordan Bowersox leads the Nittany Lions with a .311 average at the plate. He also has a pair of home runs. Kris Kremer is the big bat in the lineup batting .292 with 3 HR and 16 RBI. Gavin Homer and Conlin Hughes also have double digit RBI.
This could be a big series in the Big Ten Tournament pecking order at the end of the year. We got a critical series win last weekend and a second one this week would build a lot of confidence for this team. Holding serve at home is important, too. The Boilers might have turned a corner in the last few games, and a weekend series win would open the door in the Big Ten race.