WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Purdue baseball closes out its road slate with its second trip in the span of three weekends to the state Michigan. The Boilermakers will visit Ann Arbor for the first time since 2010 for a Big Ten series with the University of Michigan.
First pitch at Ray Fisher Stadium is set for 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Only three active Boilers – Angelo Cianfrocco, Brad Schreiber and Stephen Talbott – saw action in the Purdue-Michigan series at Ray Fisher Stadium in April 2010.
The Wolverines (25-22, 10-8 Big Ten) are currently in sixth place in the Big Ten standings, holding a one-game lead over Illinois (9-9 Big Ten) for the sixth and final Big Ten Tournament berth. The Boilermakers (16-28, 5-13 Big Ten) need to sweep Michigan to remain alive in the Big Ten Tournament chase. One more loss in any of its remaining six Big Ten games would eliminate Purdue from tournament contention. Two wins by either Illinois (vs. Penn State) or Northwestern (at Indiana) this weekend would also eliminate the Boilers.
Michigan is expected to start three lefties on the mound. If Kyle Wood starts again Sunday for Purdue, as he has done each of the last three weekends, Robert Ramer could end up being the only right-handed starting pitcher of the series. When this weekend's series is complete, the Boilers will have faced a lefty starter seven times in a stretch of eight games. Entering the April 28 series finale at Michigan State, Purdue had only seen 12 left-handed starters in its first 39 games. The Boilers are 7-9 in games started by opposing lefties.
Purdue will be in search of its first series victory in Ann Arbor since sweeping a four-game set in 1993. However, Ann Arbor has not been a frequent destination for the Boilers over the last 20 years. Purdue has only played four traditional weekend series at Ray Fisher Stadium since that sweep in 1993. The two teams did not play during the regular-season Big Ten schedule in 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008 and 2009.
Purdue won two-of-three vs. the Wolverines at Lambert Field each of the last two seasons, failing to complete the series sweep on Sunday both years. Last year's series victory clinched the 2012 Big Ten regular-season title for the Boilers.
Erik Bakich is the lone new head coach around the conference this year. He took over the Michigan program after a lengthy stint as an assistant at Vanderbilt and three years as the head coach at Maryland. The Terrapins dealt Purdue its first loss of the 2012 season. At 35 years old, Bakich is the youngest head baseball coach at BCS conference university.
Purdue concludes its regular-season schedule next week with four home games.
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