It has been a common refrain this spring, but weather has caused havoc with this Purdue baseball season. Storms in the West Lafayette area caused yet another postponement Saturday night, forcing Purdue to play its sixth doubleheader of the season on Sunday. Fortunately, the Boilers were able to split the Sunday twinbill, and combined with Friday’s win it gave Purdue its second Big Ten series win of the season.
Purdue 18, Michigan 4
It was a rare blowout win for Purdue this year. CJ Backer had one of his best outings of the season, going five innings and striking out eight while giving up just one run. From there, Purdue blew it open late with four in the seventh and six in the eighth.
Purdue actually trailed 1-0 after a second inning Wolverine home run, but then the Boilers scored the next eight runs. Troy Viola had a two run homer in the third and Evan Albrecht brought home two runs with a second inning single. All told, Purdue pounded out 20 hits. Viola was 3 for 5 with 5 RBI, while Curtis Washington, Albrecht, and Paul Toetz also had three hits each. 18 of the 20 hits were singles, too.
Purdue 12, Michigan 4
This was another game that Purdue broke open late, as the Boilers scored six runs in the sixth innings to pull in front 12-2. It was Wyatt Wendell’s turn for a quality start, as he went six innings and also struck out eight. Landon Weins finished the game in the final three innings to earn a save.
Washington got the scoring going with a two run single in the second. Toetz drove in a run in the third with a double, then scored on a single from Viola. CJ Valdez made it 5-0 with a fourth inning solo home run. Viola stayed hot, going 4 for 4 with 2 RBI, and Mike Bolton Jr. had a triple. Toetz had two doubles and Jack Firestone had a late double.
Michigan 13, Purdue 2
Unfortunately, Purdue could not get the sweep, as everything reversed in Sunday’s nightcap. Michigan’s Chase Allen moved to 6-0 with eight innings of one run ball. Troy Wansing was tagged for six runs in the second, five of which came with two outs. Jake Jarvis did go 2 for 2 with an RBI, but Purdue had just six hits for the game.
Overall it was a productive weekend. Purdue desperately needed at least a series win to stay alive for a Big Ten Tournament bid and it got it. Purdue moved to 25-14 overall and 6-7 in the Big Ten. The Boilers are now guaranteed to not have a losing overall record for the first time since making the NCAA Tournament in 2018. There are currently 10 scheduled games left with a possible 11th to be rescheduled against Purdue-Fort Wayne. The six games lost due to weather are hurting right now, as there is a real chance Purdue goes 4-2 or better in them and might be closer to an NCAA berth.
The goal from here on out is a top 8 finish in the league and a berth in the Big Ten Tournament. Purdue has the bats to get hot and maybe steal a bid, so you never know as long as you make it. Purdue is currently holding on to the 8th and final tournament spot by a half game over Nebraska. After finals this week it travels to Iowa (14-13, 9-5), where it needs to get at least one game.
It is also concerning that Jackson Smeltz, the ace of the staff, did not pitch this weekend. He has been Purdue’s best arm with a 6-1 record and 2.83 ERA over 10 starts, but he did not see action this weekend. Hopefully he is back at the top of the rotation this coming week.