Purdue forgot how to offense last weekend against Nebraska, scoring two runs total in the three losses to the Cornhuskers in the season opening series in Texas. Now they face the two league favorites the next two weeks for seven games total against Michigan and Indiana. Michigan is a fringe top 25 team (and in the top 25 in some polls) that still has a lot of pieces left from being the 2019 National Runner-up.
This will be a significant challenge.
March 12: vs. Michigan 1pm
March 13: vs. Michigan 9am & 1pm (Game 1 is 7 innings, game 2 is 9 innings)
March 14: vs. Michigan 9am
All games at Fluor Field in Greenville, SC
Michigan faced Iowa last weeka t the same Dell Diamond in Austin, TX where Purdue played Nebraska. They took game 1 4-2, lost game 2 8-3, then won the next two 7-0 and 11-4. Here is what Maize N’ Brew had to say about the weekend.
Purdue will face a likely future Major Leaguer in the Friday opener. Lefty Steve Hajjar is one of the top college pitchers in the nation and listed as a top 15 college draft prospect. It reminds me a little of the 2006 season for Purdue when the Boilers went to Missouri and roughed up some guy named Max Scherzer, who has had an MLB career of some note. Hajjar pitched 6 2/3 innings and got a no decision vs. the Hawkeyes, giving up two runs on six hits. In last year’s limited season he was 3-0 in four starts with a 2.7 ERA over 20 innings pitched. He also had 24 strikeouts. He had eight Ks last week against Iowa.
Michgian’s other starters did well too. Jacob Denner won his start with 5 innings of shutout ball in the 7-0 Sunday win. Cameron Weston took the loss in the seven inning Saturday game, giving up four runs in 4 1/3. Blake Beers was the fourth starter and he only last 3 1/3 in the second Saturday game, giving up four runs. Overall Michigan’s staff held Iowa to a .197 batting average, and did not give up a home run.
At the plate Jake Marti is an experienced hitter and he had a great start. He was 5 of 13 for the weekend with 2 RBI., Griffin Mazur provided the power with 2 HR and 8 RBI. Tito Flores and Christian Molfetta also both batted .357 for the weekend.
Purdue’s largest problem was hitting last weekend. The pitching was mostly fine, striking out 16 in the 4-0 Sunday loss. Trent Johnson struck out 7 over 5 innings in his Friday start. Jett Jackson had 10 over 4 1/3 innings in his Sunday start. Purdue batted .254 for the weekend, but it could not get the big hit it needed and left a ton of runners on base.
It is going to be tough to get the bats going this weekend, too. Purdue is still very much a small ball team. The Boilers did not have a home run last weekend and has hit only 15 since the start of the 2019 season. Zac Fascia has five of those. Fascia and Miles Simington were excellent last weekend, but Purdue has to string together more hits.