WHO: Iowa Hawkeyes (18-13, 5-4 B1G) vs Purdue (10-21, 4-4 B1G)
- Friday, April 12th -- 5:00 PM CT
- Saturday, April 13th – 12:00 PM CT (Game One)
- Saturday, April 13th – 5:00 PM CT (Game Two)
After a long homestand, Iowa is back on the road this weekend, with a three-game series in West Lafayette against Purdue. Well, their road trip actually started in mid-week, with a trip to Bradley, Illinois to face, uh, Bradley. Sadly, this visit did not go well for the Hawkeyes, as they fell 3-1 to the Braves.
Iowa's pitching held up pretty well, but the hitting was largely DOA, as they managed just one run on four hits. Bradley went up 1-0 in the 5th on an RBI single and doubled their lead in the 6th. Iowa got on the board with an unearned run in the 7th thanks to an error. Iowa had chances for more in the 7th and 8th -- they left two runners on base in each inning -- but could muster no more offense. Bradley polished things off with an RBI single in the 8th to extend their lead to 3-1. Chris Whelan had half of Iowa's hits in a 2/4 performance the plate. Iowa used eight different pitchers in the game, with none throwing more than 1.1 innings. Trenton Wallace (the nominal starter), Clayton Nettleton, and Adam Ketelsen each threw scoreless, no-hit innings in their brief appearances.
So Iowa's road trip continues, going a bit further east into Indiana. Purdue's season started in miserable fashion, losing their first five games and nine of their first 10 games. But they also had a pretty brutal start to the year, with road series at Southern Miss and Texas (both of whom were ranked at the time of those series). They've played largely .500 ball since then and perfectly .500 ball in the Big Ten. They took two of three from Northwestern and swept a shortened 2-game series with Penn State, before getting swept in a 3-game series by Nebraska last weekend. They got rocked by the Huskers, getting outscored 39-9 in those games. In fact, they're presently on a 5-game losing streak and haven't won a game in April.
AT THE PLATE
Purdue is dead last in the Big Ten in hitting, with a team average of .224. They're also dead last in home runs (4) and tied for last in doubles (36), though they do have 7 triples. Only one of Purdue's regular batters, Skyler Hunter, is hitting better than .300 -- he's hitting .343/.472/.403 and leads the team in hits (37) and triples (4) and is second in doubles (6). What power the Boilermakers have comes from Zac Fascia (.252/.333/.339) with two home runs and a team-high 14 RBI. Cole McKenzie (.252/.286/.333) has 10 RBI and four doubles.
Iowa will counter with their usual weekend trio of Cole McDonald (Friday), Cam Baumann (Saturday - Game 1), and Grant Judkins (Saturday - Game 2). McDonald and Baumann had strong outings against Rutgers last weekend and will need to perform well again. Judkins got rocked a bit in the series finale against Rutgers, so he'll look to rebound against Purdue tomorrow evening.
ON THE MOUND
Purdue will counter with Patrick Smith (LHP, 3-2, 4.76 ERA), Andrew Bohm (RHP, 0-4, 6.32 ERA), and Ryan Beard (LHP, 0-4, 6.40 ERA). That trio has been their weekend starters all season. Smith has been their most successful by far; his 4.76 ERA is the best among the team's regular starters, as his .222 opponent batting average. Iowa's hitters may struggle to get things going against him, but they could have better luck against the Saturday starters. Bohm and Beard both sport ERAs north of 6.00 and opposing hitters are hitting better than .300 against each of them, collectively. They've also each given up five home runs apiece, so if the winds are blowing out, perhaps Iowa will be able to add to their long ball tally.
We'll try to update results in the comments below, but feel free to join in, too.