Elbow surgery sidelines sophomore right-handed pitcher
Earlier this week, Purdue head coach Doug Schreiber stated sophomore right-handed pitcher Connor Podkul will miss the 2013 season following a decision to have offseason elbow surgery.
Following the graduations of 2012 Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Joe Haase and All-Big Ten second-team pitcher Lance Breedlove, Purdue will enter the 2013 without all three 2012 weekend starters
During a program-record 45-win season, Purdue ended its 103-year conference championship drought by going 17-7 in the Big Ten. The team’s success was in-part due to the strength of the Big Ten’s best pitching staff, Purdue pitchers held a cumulative 3.16 ERA. While the pair of seniors were honored among the conference’s best, the freshman Podkul was turned to in an effort to solidified the Purdue rotation.
Ending the season as the #3 starter after opening his collegiate career with a relief role, Podkul’s best performance came in his fourth appearance of the season, on March 27, with six innings of no-hit baseball against No. 19 Louisville, holding the Cardinals to one run in a one-walk, one-strikeout no decision. The midweek start was followed by a one-run, 2.2 inning relief appearance against Penn State, the next weekend saw Podkul was inserted into the Purdue rotation in the final game of the road series at Northwestern.
Podkul did not allow more than three runs while pitching 6.0, 6.1, 5.1 and 4.0 innings respectively against Northwestern, Illinois, Nebraska and Michigan State, his first four conference starts. But as the season wore on Podkul’s effectiveness declined. A three-run three-inning start against UCLA was followed by a pair of four-run starts against Michigan and Iowa, respective outings that Pokdul recorded only 10 and five outs. Podkul would allow 22 hits over his last 12 innings after allowing 20 over his first 32.2.
The Iowa start marked the last content for Podkul, Purdue did use the freshman in the Big Ten Tournament, nor in Purdue’s NCAA appearance in the Gary Regional. Podkul finished his freshman season with a 4.84 ERA over 44.2 innings, the La Porte, Ind. native struck out 28, walked nine while carrying a 1.14 WHIP and .251 batting average against.
While Purdue will be without its 1-2-3 from last season, Schreiber says red-shirt junior right-handed pitcher Brad Schreiber and red-shirt freshman left-handed Kyle Wood, two pitchers who missed the 2012 season with Tommy John and would have been their top two arms on the team, are healthy and will ready for the 2013 season.