I think you could call the opening of the new era of Purdue baseball a success under Mark Wasikowski. Eric Sorenson did a preseason ranking of all 299 Division I college baseball teams and Purdue was near the bottom at No. 266 out of 299:
Projected Big 10 Finish: 13th
2016 ISR: 263
Starters Returning: 4
Weekend Starters: 1
Mid-Week Starters: 0
Key Relievers (15+inns.): 4
The Doug Schreiber era came to an end after last year’s 10-win season in West Lafayette. Mark Wasikowski takes the reigns and says he’ll have “a young team with nothing to lose after four straight poor seasons.” Let ‘er rip coach. Players to watch are 1B/Reliever Jacson McGowan (best pure hitter on the team and closer), RHP Tanner Andrews (2-6 3.53, .228OBA) and C Nick Dalesandro (.277, played in Cape League). Also watch for 3B Logan Poisall, a JC All American in 2016.
Expectations were low going into this weekend’s 4-game series at Texas State, but Purdue had a pretty good weekend overall. The Boilers opened with a win on Friday and in game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader. They nearly came away with a DH sweep on Saturday, but lost it in the ninth. The Bobcats took the Sunday game for a 2-2 split, but considering Purdue started 1-6 last season and struggled in all aspects a 2-2 road start is pretty good.
Game 1: Purdue 9, Texas State 3 – Tanner Andrews threw a gem and Purdue wasted little time in getting off to a good start. Andrew threw seven solid innings, giving up only a fourth inning solo home run as any real damage. He also struck out nine and only walked one. The bullpen gave up a pair of unearned runs, but Purdue scored three in the first and four in the fourth to help open up a 9-1 lead before the two eighth inning runs.
At the plate Jacson McGowan had a single and two doubles in his first three at bats to drive in four runs. His first inning double got the ball rolling with two runs batted in and he later scored in the inning. He also drove in a run in the third and fourth.
Game 2: Purdue 12, Texas State 8 - Purdue once again got off to a quick start with four runs in the first, one in the second, and four in the third to lead 9-0 before giving up six in the bottom of the third. In the first Purdue hit three home runs for the first time maybe in program history (Purdue baseball only knew for sure it had not done it since 2005).
Mike Madej had a two-run homer, McGowan had a solo homer, and Logan Poisall homered to stake Gareth Stroh a 4-0 lead before he took the mound. Stroh only lasted two innings before a disastrous third inning saw him get tagged for all six runs without giving up an out. Dalton Parker came on to give up only one hit and two walks over five innings to get the win.
Madej finished the game with two hits and two RBI.
Game 3: Texas State 13, Purdue 11 – Purdue had the second game of the doubleheader won, but the bullpen blew it by giving up 8 runs in the final two innings. Tanner Schumacher was okay over four innings in the start, but gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits. Purdue was down 3-2 before a six run fourth inning put them in front. The Boilers then added two in the fifth and were up 10-5 going into the bottom of the 8th.
The Bobcats then scored four runs in the eighth with only one hit. The first came after two walks and two batters were hit by a pitch. A sacrifice fly, a single, and another sac fly made it 10-9 after eight. Purdue added an insurance run in the ninth, but with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the inning Texas State scored two runs on an infield error before the winning run was cut down at the plate. Derek Scheible then hit a two-run homer to win the game.
McGowan had two more RBI, but took the loss in an inning and two thirds of relief on the mound. He is also listed as Purdue’s closer, but he gave up five earned runs.
Game 4: Texas State 14, Purdue 5 – Purdue got out to a 2-0 lead after an inning and a half for Brian Ghiselli, but were unable to hold on and the bullpen collapsed. Purdue committed four errors that led to seven unearned runs. A five run sixth inning for Texas State blew the game wide open.
Stars of the Weekend
Tanner Andrews – Just a great start on Friday night in keeping Texas State at bay. He only gave up two hits and pitched well with the lead.
Jacson McGowan – McGowan drove in eight runs with at least one in each game. Four of his five hits were extra base hits.
Skyler Hunter – Hunter was 7 for 15 on the weekend with 4 RBI.
Evan Warden – The transfer from Morehead State was 5 of 12 on the weekend and also recorded three walks. He ended up scoring five runs.
Dalton Parker – The only pitcher other than Andrews to last more than 5 innings, Parker did not give up a run and earned his first career win on Saturday
Purdue heads to Little Rock, Arkansas for a three-game set with Little Rock (yes, that Little Rock). They are 0-3 after being swept by Oral Roberts this weekend.