It is week two of the college baseball season and Purdue is off to North Carolina for its first of two weekends at Ting Stadium in Holly Springs. Last season Purdue also spent consecutive weekends in Holly Springs, winning seven games total against Princeton and Longwood. It also had a midweek game at Charlotte that it won as part of the great start.
This year there is no midweek game, but Purdue will face NJIT for four games this week and Akron for four games next weekend.
Friday – 1pm & 4:30pm (Doubleheader)
Saturday – TBA (Purdue lists it as a “late afternoon” start)
Sunday – 1pm
NJIT stands for the New Jersey Institute of Technology and they are a relative newcomer to Division I. They made the NCAA Tournament in 2021 with a 26-22 record and even won a loser’s bracket game over Northeastern in the Fayetteville regional. In their opening game they challenge No. 1 overall seed Arkansas before losing 13-8. Last season they were 26-27 and almost made it back to the tournament, but they fell to UMass-Lowell in the America East title game.
The Highlanders got off to a solid start last week, taking two of three from Davidson on the road. They lost the opener 4-3, but rebounded to win the next two games 12-4 and 14-6. Davidson was a very good 43-13 team a year ago, but missed the tournament somehow.
Last week the Highlanders pounded out five home runs and 34 hits in three games. Purdue had its own offensive explosion, hitting 11 home runs and getting 422 hits in four games. That means we could see quite a bit of offense this weekend. Purdue’s Paul Toetz hit three home runs and drove in nine runs while batting .429 over the weekend. Jake Jarvis also batted .500 with two home runs and six RBI, plus three walks.
NJIT was led by Jared Donnelly, who was 5 of 12 on the weekend with a home run and 6 RBI. Kevin Putsky, Luke Longo, and Ray Ortiz also batted over .333, giving the Highlanders a potent lineup. Where Purdue has an offensive edge is on the basepaths. The Boilers stole 12 bases on 13 attempts last weekend, with speedster Mike Bolton Jr. swiping three.
On the mound Aidan Kidd did not give up a run in five innings to get the Saturday win over Davidson. Joe Georgini was hit for three earned runs in a five inning start on Sunday to earn the win. The Friday starter last week was Ryan Fischer, who gave up all four runs in the 4-3 loss. Fischer was the 2022 America East Pitcher of the Year with a 7-3 record and 3.97 ERA in 15 starts. He also started 14 games in 2021 and gave up one run in seven innings of their NCAA Tournament win over Northeastern.
Fischer will go up against Khal Stephen, who pitched five scoreless innings in the season opening win. Calvin Schapira should be able to go longer than he did in his two inning start last week, while Johnathan Blackwell and CJ Backer will probably have the other spots. Blackwell gave up just one run in five innings of his Sunday start.
There should be plenty of offense this weekend. Both teams hit the ball well last weekend and NJIT is a tougher opponent than Purdue faced in the first three weekends last year. Fischer is a solid No. 1 option on the mound and his battle with Stephen will be good. The Highlanders are a potential NCAA team out of their conference, so this will be a decent test.