Indiana baseball is scheduled to play its second Big Ten series of the year, traveling to West Lafayette to play Purdue in a three game series this upcoming weekend.
The three game series was pushed back a day due to weather conditions. The matchup between the two rivals was initially scheduled to start Friday, but due to inclement weather, the series has been moved back a day.
Indiana will now start its series Saturday, followed by games Sunday and Monday.
Riding a three game losing streak, Indiana is looking for its first series win against a Big Ten opponent this year.
Indiana currently has a losing record of 1-2 in the Big Ten after losing two games to Northwestern on April 2 and 3. The Hoosiers played their first game of the week Tuesday, but lost the four-hour game to the University of Evansville 8-4.
Indiana’s young team has struggled recently because of its inexperience, but head coach Jeff Mercer said he knows the process takes time.
“As uncomfortable and as difficult as it can be at times as a coach, your job is to coach,” Mercer said. “I remember when I was a young guy doing it for the first time, and I remember doing some silly things myself and looking back and being like, ‘man oh man if I could go back and do it again, I would do it differently.’ They'll grow and get better.”
Purdue comes into the series with a 19-6 record, the third best in the Big Ten. Purdue also started off the year winning 15 straight games.
Both teams sit around the same record in Big Ten play, with Purdue playing just one more game than Indiana. The Boilermakers are 1-3 in conference play after winning one game to Ohio State on March 25, and were swept by Illinois last week.
Both teams are currently seeing breakout stars this season. Senior Boilermaker Evan Albrecht has turned up his offensive production, leading his team with 35 hits and a batting average of .412.
Albrecht is having a bounce-back season after batting just .180 last year in 41 games.
A hometown freshman has turned up the scene for the Hoosiers, as freshman Josh Pyne took over the starting role at third base and hasn't looked back. Currently hitting .312, Pyne has been a young leader on the team. He has a .820 on-base plus slugging percentage this season.
Mercer, another Indiana native, said he understands what the Indiana-Purdue rivalry is all about, and how much it means to the teams and state as a whole.
“This is a huge deal for the folks of Indiana,” Mercer said. “You're in one of the great rivalries in all of the country … you get to be a part of something that matters to the six and a half million people in the state of Indiana, like nothing else. Whether you are from the state of Indiana or not, you're a Hoosier now.”
Game one is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a 1 p.m. start Saturday and a 4 p.m. start Monday. All three games will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus.