Purdue Baseball Opens Home Slate vs Kent St., Valpo

Kent State (15-6) at Purdue (12-10)
Tuesday, March 28 at 6 p.m. ET
Alexander Field / West Lafayette, Indiana
All-Time Series: Purdue leads 3-2 / All-Time in West Lafayette: Purdue leads 2-1
Last Meeting: KSU 4, Purdue 3 (March 2015 in West Lafayette)
Purdue’s Last Win vs. Kent State: Purdue 18, KSU 11 (March 1999 in Louisville)
Purdue’s Last Win vs. Kent State in West Lafayette: Purdue 11, KSU 4 (May 1947)

Valparaiso (8-13) at Purdue
Wednesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. ET
Alexander Field / West Lafayette, Indiana
All-Time Series: Purdue leads 66-19 / All-Time in West Lafayette: Purdue leads 38-8
2016: Valpo 13, Purdue 10 (May 11 in Valparaiso)
Last Meeting in West Lafayette: Purdue 2, Valpo 0 (March 2015)
Purdue’s Last Win vs. Valparaiso: Purdue 6, Valpo 4 (May 2015 in Valparaiso)

Tuesday: Jack Dellinger (Fr, RHP) vs. KSU’s Robert Zeigler (Jr, RHP)
Wednesday: TBA for Both Teams

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (www.purduesports.com) – After playing its first 22 games on the road, including all but one outside the Eastern Time Zone, Purdue baseball opens its home schedule this week with midweek dates against Kent State and Valparaiso.

First pitch at Alexander Field is set for 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday vs. Kent State and Wednesday vs. Valparaiso. The Boilermakers have six home midweek games on the schedule this season. For all midweek games at Alexander Field, general admission tickets, hot dogs, nachos and draft beers are specially priced at just $2 each. Additionally, 16 of Purdue’s 21 home games this year are slated for 6 p.m. starts.

The Boilermakers enter the week as the only Big Ten Conference team yet to play a home game. They not only played their first 22 games away from Alexander Field, but all 22 were true road games. Purdue posted a 12-10 record during the extended road stretch and now will bat last for the first time this week. The March 28 home opener is the Boilermakers’ latest on the calendar since 2007 (March 30).

Purdue has won its home opener in 11 of the last 15 years dating back to 2002. The Boilermakers’ midweek opponents this were also part of the NCAA Regional they hosted in Gary in five years ago. Kentucky rounded out the four-team field that weekend.

• Kent State is led by former Purdue assistant coach Jeff Duncan (2010-2013). Former Boilermaker Barrett Serrato, a two-time All-Big Ten outfielder from 2009 to 2012, is in his third season as an assistant coach with the Golden Flashes. Dylan Rosa, a high school team of Purdue’s Mike Madej at Providence Catholic in suburban Chicago, has connected for five of Kent State’s 23 home runs.
• The Golden Flashes enter the week having won six straight games after sweeping Ball State in the opening weekend of Mid-American Conference play in Muncie. The Golden Flashes have posted five series victories over their first six weekends. On spring break this week, Kent State traveled directly to West Lafayette after the series.

• Slated to start Tuesday’s home opener, Jack Dellinger is set to make his fourth start in the last 16 days. He’ll become the first freshman since Adam Dressler in 2014 to start the home opener on the mound. Delligner pitched a season-high five innings, giving up just one earned run, in Purdue’s midweek opener last week at Ball State. The Boilermakers scored 16 runs in Muncie Wednesday, but were limited to five in their weekend series at Iowa.
• Despite the offensive struggles in Iowa City, all three games were not decided until the eighth inning. Purdue’s starting pitchers – Tanner Andrews, Gareth Stroh and Mike Kornacker – combined for 16 2/3 innings of three-run ball. They’ll lead the Boilermakers into action this weekend at Ohio State, as Purdue visits Bill Davis Stadium for the first time since March 2012.
• Nick Dalesandro (18 games) and Skyler Hunter (12) were able to extend their reached base safely streaks. Evan Warden (4-for-11) and Evan Kennedy (3-for-10) managed to hit safely in all three games in Iowa City, Warden connecting for a double in every game. Kennedy has been on base safely in six straight games and is 10-for-33 with a .429 on-base percentage since taking over as the starting designated hitter March 12.

• Along with Ball State, the Golden Flashes have series wins against Belmont, Florida International (3-of-4), College of Charleston and Western Carolina. They’ve only played one home game, opening midweek play with a win against Pittsburgh last week.
• Kent State is off to a strong start at the plate. Batting .317 as a team, the Golden Flashes have hit 23 home runs in their 21 games. Seven different Kent State players have hit multiple home runs. Luke Burch is hitting .409 with 12 extra-base hits. Tim Dalporto is not far behind with a .388 average and has driven home a team-high 17 runs.
• Projected starter Robert Zeigler has excelled in relief and gave up just an unearned run over five innings last week vs. Pitt. The right-hander has a 1.88 ERA and has surrendered just two extra-base hits in 14 1/3 innings. Closer Zach Spangler has five saves in nine appearances despite giving up 12 hits and nine runs in nine innings.

• The Crusaders defeated Purdue in a 13-10 slugfest in Northwest Indiana last year to end the Boilermakers’ seven-game win streak in the series. The first scheduled midweek meeting of the season at Alexander Field was rained out. Valpo enters the week having lost eight of its last 10 games, suffering sweeps at the hands of South Florida and Wright State.
• Nate Palace is enjoying another strong season to lead the way offensively, batting .329 with 14 extra-base hits. He has accounted for six of the Crusaders’ 12 home runs. James Stea has drawn 18 free passes (10 walks, 8 HBP) to go along with seven extra-base hits and 11 stolen bases. Valpo has played well defensively, compiling a .973 fielding percentage.


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