Purdue | Baseball Makes First Trip to Northwestern Since 2012


Courtesy of Purdue Athletics


Purdue (7-34, 2-16 B1G) at Northwestern (10-34, 2-16 B1G)
Friday to Sunday, May 6 to 8 at 4, 3 and 2 p.m. ET / Saturday on Big Ten Network, BTN2Go
Rocky and Berenice Miller Park / Evanston, Illinois
All-Time Series: Purdue leads 110-87-2 / All-Time in Evanston: Purdue leads 51-45-1
Purdue Under Doug Schreiber vs. Northwestern: Purdue leads 31-25 (Since 1999)
Last Series: Northwestern won 2-of-3 (April 2013 in West Lafayette)
Last Series in Evanston: Purdue swept a 3-game set (April 2012)
First Meeting: Northwestern 10, Purdue 3 (May 1900 in Evanston)

Friday: Gavin Downs (Sr, RHP) vs. NU’s Reed Mason (Sr, LHP)
Saturday: Matt Frawley (Jr, RHP) vs. NU’s Joe Schindler (Jr, RHP)
Sunday: Shane Bryant (Sr, RHP) vs. TBA for Northwestern

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (www.purduesports.com) – Purdue baseball’s final road weekend of the season doubles as its first trip to Northwestern since 2012, squaring off against a team coached by a former Boilermaker assistant for the second time this year.

First pitch at NU’s new-look Rocky and Berenice Miller Park in Evanston is set for 4 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (all times ET). Saturday will be Purdue’s third and final game of the season televised by the Big Ten Network.

The Boilermakers swept a three-game series in Evanston in April 2012, but have played 147 road/neutral-site games at 43 different fields since they last visited NU’s Miller Park. An artificial turf surface was installed last year. The new locker rooms, renovated seating areas and press box were unveiled this spring.

Purdue’s travel roster this weekend is expected to feature eight Chicagoland natives, all of whom will be playing in Evanston for the first time as Boilermakers.

Northwestern head coach Spencer Allen was an assistant at Purdue in 2008 and 2009. He returned to the Big Ten as an assistant with Illinois last season and was hired as the Wildcats’ new head coach in June 2015. Earlier this season, the Boilermakers hosted former pitching coach Rob Smith’s Ohio team for a three-game series at Kokomo Municipal Stadium.

After this weekend, Purdue plays each of its final 10 games inside the state of Indiana. Seven of those nine games are slated to be contested at Alexander Field, including Minnesota’s first visit to West Lafayette (May 13-15) since April 2010. The season-ending series against Cal State Northridge (May 19-22) represents the first time the Boilermakers will finish their regular-season schedule against a non-conference opponent since 1997.

The home team has not won a Purdue-Northwestern series since the Boilermakers took three of four at Lambert Field in March 2008. The teams split a weather-shortened two-game set in Evanston in 2009, the Wildcats won two of three in West Lafayette in 2010 and 2013, and Purdue was victorious in three-game series in Evanston in 2011 and 2012. The longtime Big Ten rivals did not play the last two years.

Eddie De LaRiva, Kyle Johnson, Patrick Kenney, Mike Lutz, Cody Strong, Jack Picchiotti and Kyle Wood are the active Boilermakers that played in the last Purdue-Northwestern series in April 2013. Chicagoland natives Picchiotti and Wood both had three hits in the series-opening win, which was the Boilermakers’ first-ever victory at Alexander Field. Strong had a wild stat line in game two, finishing the day 1-for-1 with four walks, three RBI and two runs scored. At the time he became the first Boilermaker to draw four walks in a game since February 2009. It has happened only one time since then (Johnson vs. IPFW, April 2015).

Northwestern’s Friday starter Reed Mason was a high school teammate of Johnson’s in San Diego. Mason has been a workhorse for the Wildcats this season, pitching 18 more innings than any other NU pitcher. As was the case with Gavin Downs’ performance (7+ IP, 3 R) in last weekend’s 3-1 series-opening defeat at the hands of Ohio State, Mason’s quality start (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R) was not enough in NU’s 2-1 loss at Indiana.

Like the Boilermakers, Northwestern had a chance to win all three games in Bloomington but ended up losing three one-run affairs. After a 5-4 loss at UIC on Wednesday, both Purdue and NU have lost four consecutive one-run games at one point this season.

Matt Hopfner, a former high school teammate of Purdue’s Stephen Kalina in suburban Minneapolis, is having a strong season at the plate for the Wildcats, ranking seventh in the Big Ten with a .461 on-base percentage. The outfielder/first baseman has a .364 batting average, 15 extra-base hits and 22 walks. Joe Hoscheit’s grand slam Sunday in Bloomington was his team-leading sixth home run of the season, accounting for 40 percent of the NU’s 15 long balls this year.

The Wildcats have seen the opposition run wild on them, surrendering 81 stolen bases in 104 attempts this year. That’s 23 more than any other Big Ten team has allowed and 55 more steals than NU has when it’s at the plate. Northwestern has also struck out more than any other conference team.


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