Wins have been few and far between this season for Purdue baseball, but with eight games remaining in the year the Boilers have a chance to finish strong. There will be no NCAA Tournament, but building towards something better next season begins now. Purdue gets to finish the season with a total of six games against last place Minnesota and two against an under .500 Penn State team it has already beaten once. That begins tonight in Minneapolis as both Minnesota and Purdue decided to add a game to their weekend series due to both missing recent series with COVID issues for their opponents.
Purdue (11-24) at Minnesota (4-26)
Game 1: Thursday at 7 p.m. ET
Game 2: Friday at 7 p.m. ET
Game 3: Saturday at 3 p.m. ET
Game 4: Sunday at 2 p.m. ET
Siebert Field / Minneapolis, Minnesota
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Thursday: Calvin Schapira (Jr, LHP) vs. MINN’s Noah DeLuga (Fr, LHP)
Friday: Trent Johnson (Sr, RHP) vs. MINN’s Nolan Burchill (R-Sr, RHP)
Saturday: Cory Brooks (R-Jr, RHP) vs. MINN’s Jack Liffrig (R-So, LHP)
Sunday: TBA for Purdue vs MINN’s Tom Skoro (R-Sr, LHP)
Minnesota is normally one of the strongest programs in the Big Ten. In 2018 they won the conference, hosted (and won a regional) and came close to making it to Omaha. They have 24 Big Ten championships, 32 NCAA Tournament appearances, and even three national championships (though none since 1964).
This year they are very, very, VERY bad.
The Gophers enter this weekend a dismal 4-26 on the year, having lost 13 straight. They have not played since May 2nd as their last two weekends were cancelled due to COVID concerns and have won just once since March 22nd. Purdue has not been great, but the Gophers are almost an order of magnitude worse than the Boilers. They hit a league worst .230, have a staff ERA well over 8, and they have a league worst 101 RBI. Zach Raabe is their lone hitter batting over .300.
Minnesota’s four wins came on March 7 over Rutgers (13-8), March 14 over Illinois (5-3), March 22 over Northwestern (7-3), and April 3 over Michigan State (10-9). They are probably the worst major conference team in the country. Against Iowa they were outscored 31-2 in a three game sweep. Indiana pounded them 52-8 over 5 games.
Purdue’s biggest challenge is finding its own hitting, and if it can’t Minnesota it can’t hit anyone. Purdue has scored four runs total in its last four games and has given up 29. It is now 1-16 in games where it has scored two runs or less. Anything less than three wins this weekend feels like a significant defeat.