Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Game 1: Purdue Preview

**Here's a link to a nice article in today's Lafayette Journal & Courier about 2B Tyler Rogers. Take a look!**

Game 1: Wednesday at 3:35pm EST
Projected Starters: IU - RHP Eric Arnett (11-1, 94.0 IP, 2.78 ERA, 93K) vs. JR RHP Matt Bischoff (4-4, 87.0 IP, 5.38 ERA, 77K)

Arnett: 9 IP, 10 hits, 6 ERs, 4 BBs, 9 K vs. Purdue this season
Bischoff: 6 IP, 10 hits, 7 ERs, 2 BBs, 6 Ks vs. IU this season

Although Bischoff did not throw the baseball well against IU earlier this year (in a 15-8 PU victory) and his stats are not overwhelming by any means, he is also certainly more than capable of shutting down the Hoosier offense when he is at his best. Bischoff is an experienced hurler who has pitched in the tournament before, so don't expect nerves or pressure to have any impact on how he throws.

Meanwhile, look for Arnett to put on a much better performance than what he did in a 7-6 victory over Purdue a few weekends back. The big right-hander got some much needed rest by taking last weekend off, so he should be firing on all cylinders tomorrow afternoon. When he is at his best (and let's all hope he is), Arnett is one of the best, if not the best, pitchers in the conference, and it will be a very tough opening round match-up for the Boilermakers as as result.

As a team, Purdue walks and gets on base with great propensity (and they don't strikeout a ton either), so it will be crucial for Arnett to get ahead of hitters early in the count and throw a lot of first pitch strikes. On the flip side, Bischoff is a strikeout pitcher who won't walk many, so the Hoosier hitters need to work favorable counts and not let Bischoff get ahead early on a regular basis.

Behind the Plate Prediction: The Hoosiers take the Big Ten tourney opener on the strength of Arnett's well-rested right arm. Yes, the Boilermakers did take 2 of 3 from IU in the regular season, but this is one game, and I will take the Hoosiers with Arnett on the mound every time. Although Bischoff is very capable of throwing a gem and shutting down IU at the plate, I just don't see that happening in this one. He really hasn't been the same pitcher he was last season when he garnered first team All Big Ten honors as a sophomore. The Hoosiers roughed him up in West Lafayette in early May, and I think IU's combination of offensive firepower and Arnett's arm will simply be too much for the Boilermakers.

Follow all the tournament action live on the Big Ten Network! Here's to bringing home some long awaited hardware! Go Hoosiers!

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