Following a tough series against Illinois, Purdue (15-26, 4-5 B1G) now shifts its focus to its road doubleheader against Indiana (17-21, 3-6 B1G) before hosting Wisconsin (25-7, 4-5 B1G) this weekend. Between the two programs, the Boilermakers own a combined 60-39 record all-time against the pair of Big Ten opponents.
Purdue’s one, two and three hitters are coming off a hot weekend in which they accounted for the majority of the offensive output in the series. Maya Hughes, Kristen Hoppman and Mallory Baker combined for 12 hits in 26 at-bats giving them a combined .462 batting average with six runs batted in and seven runs scored. They also registered a .500 on-base percentage against the Illini and of their 12 hits, three were doubles and one was a home run.
The leadoff hitter, Hughes, has registered 18 multi-hit games this season thanks to a three-for-four performance on Sunday in which she drove in two runs while scoring a pair of her own. With the big day at the plate in the series finale against Illinios, six of her multi-hit efforts have come in nine conference games. Following her four-hit weekend, Hughes advances to 14th in the nation with 55 hits and holds her position as the Big Ten hit leader this season. Altogether, Hughes is hitting .404 on the season and .452 in conference play.
In the two hole, Hoppman raised her batting average from .258 to .271 with four hits in nine at-bats against the Illini. The senior out of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin now takes a five-game hitting streak in which she is hitting .429 with a .714 slugging percentage into tomorrow’s doubleheader. Over the course of the last five games, all of which being against Big Ten opponents, Hoppman has tallied six hits in 14 at-bats with three runs scored, three runs batted in as well as a double and a home run.
If Hughes and Hoppman are able to reach base, there are few better to have at the plate right now than Baker as she is currently in the midst of a 15-game hitting streak. In her last 15 contests, the sophomore has tallied 23 hits in 43 at-bats with 11 runs scored and 12 runs batted in to fuel a .535 batting average. Of her 23 hits, six are doubles and one is a home run, giving her a .744 slugging percentage. She has also worked six walks and has been hit by a pitch twice to earn a .593 on-base percentage.
Baker’s hitting streak isn’t the only impressive stretch the Greenwood, Indiana native has strung together either as she has registered 30 games, 87-straight at-bats, without a strikeout. With just four strikeouts on the year, she is striking out in just 3% of her at-bats and ranks as the nation’s 37thtoughest hitter to strikeout. Just seven other Power Five student-athletes rank ahead of her, two of which hail from the Big Ten.
Overall in 2017, Baker is seeing a huge jump in production from freshman to sophomore year as she is currently hitting .391 with a .522 slugging percentage and a .478 on-base percentage. In 115 at-bats, she has earned 45 hits, 10 doubles, a triple and a home run with 17 walks and just four strikeouts while driving in 26 runs and scoring 23 of her own. In comparison, in all 115 at-bats her first season as a Boilermaker, Baker hit .235 with 27 hits, 14 runs batted in, 12 runs scored, four doubles, a triple and a home run while drawing 15 walks and striking out 23 times.