After a week with no midweek games due to finals it is time for a final 10-game regular season home stretch. Purdue currently sits at 25-14 overall and 6-7 in Big Ten play. It has series at Iowa, at Northwestern, and at home against top 25 Maryland to close the year. It also has a midweek game against Butler this week, and a possible makeup somewhere along the line against Purdue-Fort Wayne. The good news is that Purdue will not finish with a losing record, but there is still work to do.
Heading into the weekend Purdue is holding on to the 8th and final Big Ten Tournament spot, so at least some postseason play is possible. It likely needs to win at least four of the remaining nine conference games to stay in the top 8, and anything more would obviously be better. Here are the current standings:
Penn St. 7-8
Michigan St. 6-9
Ohio St. 3-13
As you can see, Purdue could really use those two games that were lost due to weather against Ohio State.
Purdue (25-14, 6-7 B1G) at Iowa (26-15, 10-5 B1G)
Friday to Sunday, May 6 to 8
Series Opener: Friday, May 6 at 5 p.m. ET on B1G+
Middle Game: Saturday, May 7 at Noon ET on BTN
Series Finale: Sunday, May 8 at 2 p.m. ET on B1G+
Duane Banks Field / Iowa City, Iowa
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: CJ Backer (So, RHP) vs. Iowa’s Adam Mazur (R-So, RHP)
Saturday: Wyatt Wendell (R-Jr, RHP) vs. Iowa’s Connor Schultz (Gr, RHP)
Sunday: TBA for Purdue vs. Iowa’s Ty Langenberg (So, RHP)
Iowa is a fringe NCAA Tournament team with some good wins. They have a win at UC Irvine, a win over top 15 Texas Tech, and they recently took a series over league leading Rutgers on the road. They are currently 76th in the RPI to Purdue’s 139. With a favorable closing schedule against Purdue, Michigan State, and Indiana they are playing for an NCAA bid and a Big Ten title.
Iowa’s strength has been the pitching staff. They lead the league with a team ERA of 3.46Adam Mazur is a true ace with a 5-2 record and 2.41 ERA in 11 starts. Sunday starter Ty Langenberg is also solid with a 3.45 ERA and a 4-1 record. Teams are hitting only .153 against Mazur, making him the best in the league in that category.
At the plate Peyton Williams leads them with a .379 average, fourth in the Big Ten just behind Purdue’s Evan Albrecht. Williams is second in the league in slugging at .699 and first in the league with an impressive .497 on base percentage. Iowa is not particularly strong as a team with a .270 average and only 34 home runs, but their pitching staff covers a lot of the plate issues.
Hopefully Purdue’s series win against Michigan last week provides a boost. At worst, the Boilers need to take one game this weekend. A series victory would be tremendous. Purdue’s own ace in Jackson Smeltz is questionable after not throwing last week. A Sunday start for him is at least possible. The Boilers had very hot bats in two games last weekend against the Wolverines, so if they can stay hot it will help a ton.