FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – While the unveiling of the new Alexander Field and final games at Lambert Field highlight Purdue baseball’s 2012 schedule, head coach Doug Schreiber has also put together one of the most challenging nonconference slates in the Midwest.
Announced by Schreiber Thursday (Nov. 10), the Boilers’ spring schedule features nonconference road trips to Florida’s Gulf Coast, East Carolina and Auburn for early-season tournaments as well as Wichita State and UCLA for weekend series.
Purdue will move from Lambert Field to Alexander Field this season. The goal is to play the majority of the Big Ten home games at the new stadium at the Northwest Site Complex. The Boilermakers open their home schedule March 27 and 28 with midweek games against Louisville and IPFW. Those games are expected to be played played at Lambert Field, which has been home of the Boilers since 1965.
Purdue’s new stadium will feature lights, allowing the program to play home night games for the first time. The majority of the Boilers’ home games will begin with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. An Alexander Field dedication game is expected to be held late in the season during a Big Ten weekend series.
Purdue hosts Penn State (March 30-April 1), Illinois (April 13-15), Michigan State (April 27-29) and Michigan (May 11-13) for Big Ten home series. The Boilermakers play at Ohio State (March 23-25), Northwestern (April 6-8), Nebraska (April 20-22) and Iowa (May 17-19) this year. Purdue is not scheduled to square off against Indiana and Minnesota during the regular season. If the Boilers and Hoosiers do not meet up at the Big Ten Tournament, it would mark the first time since 1972 the two rivals have not played.
Purdue is scheduled to travel to Los Angeles the weekend of May 5-6 to take on UCLA during its open weekend of the Big Ten schedule. With the addition of Nebraska to the conference, there are now 11 baseball-playing institutions (Wisconsin does not sponsor the sport), creating an open weekend for each team during the nine-week league schedule.
The Boilermakers’ last trip to California was in 2002 and they have not played UCLA since 2001.
Meanwhile, Purdue is scheduled to play at Wichita State (March 15-17) and Nebraska (April 20-22) for the first time in program history. The Boilermakers and Huskers have not played since 1907 and all eight previous meetings took place in West Lafayette. Wichita State is a perennial baseball power that has made seven College World Series appearances, highlighted by a national championship crown in 1989.
The annual spring break trip takes Purdue from Murray, Ky. to Springfield, Mo. to Wichita, Kan. The Boilermakers open their 10-day tour with their first series at Murray State since 1977. A Tuesday midweek game against Missouri State serves as the halfway stop on the road trip from Murray to Wichita. Purdue and WSU are scheduled to play a four-game series from Thursday through Saturday, with a doubleheader set for March 17.
The midweek portion of the schedule is highlighted by an April 4 neutral-site game against Anderson University in Indianapolis. The game is slated to be played at Victory Field, the downtown home of the Indianapolis Indians, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate in the International League.
The Big Ten Tournament (May 23-27) is again scheduled to be held in Downtown Columbus at Huntington Park, the home of the Columbus Clippers, the Cleveland Indians’ Triple-A affiliate in the International League. Meanwhile, Purdue is also scheduled to open Big Ten play in Columbus with a series at Ohio State. The two teams have not played the last two seasons.
The Boilermakers are scheduled to host Ball State (April 25), Illinois-Chicago (May 9) and Butler (May 15) for midweek home games at Alexander Field. Schreiber said it was possible that he could add two additional games to the schedule.
Purdue takes on Maryland and Western Carolina at East Carolina’s four-team tournament in Greenville, S.C., Feb. 24-26. Southern Mississippi and Charleston Southern are also slated to compete at Auburn’s four-team tournament set for March 2-4. The Boilermakers will be traveling to ECU for the first time since 2000 and Auburn for the first time since 2007.
Earlier this fall, the Big Ten announced that Purdue had drawn Cincinnati, Connecticut and Notre Dame for the season-opening Big Ten/Big East Challenge (Feb. 17-19) in Clearwater-St. Petersburg.
Charleston Southern, Maryland, Southern Miss and Wichita State represent the only first-time opponents on the Boilers’ 2012 schedule.