Huth: UI-Purdue baseball preview
College baseball preview: Purdue (11-19, 4-5 Big Ten) at Illinois (19-10, 2-4 Big Ten)
SCHEDULE: 6:05 p.m. Friday; 3:05 p.m. Saturday; 2:05 p.m. Sunday.
WHERE: Illinois Field.
TV: Sunday’s game is on the BTN, with Eric Collins (play-by-play) and John Cangelosi (analyst).
RADIO: WDWS 1400-AM, with Dave Loane (play-by-play) and analysts Scott Beatty (Friday), Itch Jones (Saturday) and Loren Tate (Sunday).
SERIES RECORD: Illinois leads 154-79-1.
LAST MEETING: Purdue swept a three-game series last season in West Lafayette, Ind., en route to its first Big Ten title since 1909.
COACHES: Illinois — Dan Hartleb, eighth year (228-189, 101-94 Big Ten); Purdue — Doug Schreiber, 15th year (436-381, 211-190 Big Ten).
TOP ILLINI HITTERS: CF Justin Parr (.435, 9 2B, 31 RBI); 1B David Kerian (.344, 18 RBI, 13-13 SB); SS Thomas Lindauer (.292, 6 HR, 25 RBI).
TOP BOILERMAKERS HITTERS: SS Jake Hansen (.297, 14 BB, 11 RBI); C/OF Jack Picchiotti (.296, 17 RBI); 3B Sean McHugh (.261, 5 2B, 17 RBI).
PROBABLE ILLINI STARTERS: RH Kevin Johnson (4-2, 1.94 ERA); RH John Kravetz (3-1, 4.71); RH Ryan Castellanos (1-0, 2.60).
PROBABLE BOILERMAKERS STARTERS: LH Jordan Minch (4-3, 5.16); RH Robert Ramer (2-2, 4.74); RH Brad Schreiber (1-4, 6.14)
ILLINI UPDATE: It’s possible Illinois already is past the toughest part of its Big Ten schedule. In their first two series, the Illini faced conference leader Indiana and runner-up Nebraska. Those two teams have a combined 15-3 league record. That said, Illinois has work to do if it is to avoid missing the six-team Big Ten tournament for the second year in a row. With six conference series remaining, the Illini — who are tied for eighth place — need to start stringing together series wins to firmly get into the tournament mix. ... Right fielder Will Krug said Thursday he will be sidelined a minimum of three weeks by a broken bone in his left forearm. The sophomore, a right-handed thrower, was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning last Friday in the Illini’s series opener at Indiana and has not played since. Krug has a .305 batting average — third highest on the team among regulars — in 25 games this season, including 22 starts. Before Game 2 of that same series, right fielder Davis Hendrickson was hit by a batted ball in his lower forehead while on the field stretching. Hendrickson sat out two of the three games since, but Hartleb said Thursday he expects the senior to be available this weekend. ... Johnson can become Illinois’ career innings-pitched leader tonight with one of his typical deep-inning performances. In his last start, the senior right-hander moved past Brett Weber (1996-98) into second place at 322 2/3 innings. He trails all-time leader Mark Dressen (1989-92) by six innings. Johnson has worked at least six innings in seven of his eight starts this season. ... Through games of April 7, Justin Parr ranked 10th in the nation in batting average (.433) and in hits (52). As a team, Illinois ranked 18th in stolen bases per game (2.25 )and 37th in batting average (.297). ... Speaking of Parr, the senior extended his career-best hitting streak to 17 games Tuesday by going 2 for 4 in the Illini’s 8-4 loss to Eastern Illinois. The school record of 25 straight games with a hit was set by Ryan Snowden in 2007.
ABOUT THE BOILERMAKERS: One season after breaking a 103-year Big Ten title drought, Purdue is adjusting to the loss of All-America catcher Kevin Plawecki and seven other players who were All-Big Ten picks. In all, the Boilers lost 18 players (15 seniors and three junior draftees) after the 2012 season. This season, 17 players have made their Purdue debut, and Schreiber has used 24 different batting orders in his team’s first 30 games. ... Three of the Boilers’ four Big Ten wins came against last-place Penn State, which has yet to win a conference game. ... When Northwestern won two of three games against Purdue last weekend, it marked the first time Purdue had lost back-to-back home series since 2002. ... Three Boilers — center fielder Kyle Johnson, Minch and corner infielder/catcher Josh Estill — have received Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors this season. Johnson also was selected Co-Player of the Week on April 1. ... McHugh is expected to be available to play after being sidelined Tuesday against Indiana State due to a sore hamstring. Picchiotti took his place, seeing action at his fifth position this season (including designated hitter).
DID YOU KNOW? Purdue associate head coach Jeff Duncan is a former major league outfielder, appearing in 69 games with the New York Mets in 2003 and ‘04.