WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s been almost two years since the Purdue and Indiana baseball teams squared off for the Big Ten Championship. The Boilermakers and Hoosiers face each other this weekend in Bloomington.
Both sides will probably have that game in mind when they take the field on Friday. Purdue has won seven straight games in the series dating back to 2010, the most recent win coming in the Big Ten Championship game in 2012.
A big time back and forth contest climaxed with a wild ninth-inning play. That play propelled the No. 16 Boilermakers to a 6-5 victory and a conference championship.
Purdue second baseman Eric Charles chopped a pitch to third, David Miller was caught in a rundown between third base and home plate. All the while, Andrew Dixon came sliding in to third, but the throw got away from Indiana. Dixon scored the go ahead run as the ball trickled down the third base line.
Charles, who put the ball in play, came sliding into Hoosier shortstop, Michael Basil. Basil blocked third base forcing a collision. Both Charles and Basil took exception, and the ensuing fracas resulted in a benches-clearing brawl.
“Definitely in that Big Ten Championship game things kind of got heated, but it was situational,” Redshirt sophomore pitcher Connor Podkul said. “There was a tough play and things kind of got out of hand, but yeah it’s a pretty big rivalry. It’s bigger than all of us too. All of the fans and everybody will be paying attention to the game, I’m sure. I’m sure they’ll get a pretty big crowd out there for us. So, we’ll see.”
Coach Doug Schreiber had a front row seat to it all. Schreiber was busy holding Charles back, but when he was asked about his memory of that game Wednesday he played coy.
“You know, I really can’t remember that far back,” Schreiber said with a grin. “Anytime that we play Indiana, it’s always a hard fought ball game, and you know it’s just one of those things. Every game, and every series against them is important. They’re going to be very competitive.”
The Hoosiers enter this weekend the No. 15 team in the country, and have a solid chance at a second straight run to the College World Series.
Purdue and Indiana didn’t play each other in 2013, so this weekend’s series marks the first time the two rivals have met on the baseball diamond since that controversial Big Ten Championship game.
First pitch Friday evening at Bart Kauffman Field is set for 7:05 p.m. The same two teams are back at it again Saturday at 2:05 p.m. and Sunday at noon.