Sept. 5, 1997

Purdue Baseball Team Welcomes 11 New Players

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue baseball coach Steve Green has announced the signing of 10 scholarship players for the 1997-98 season. The class consists of seven pitchers, two catchers, one infielder and one outfielder.

Left-handed pitcher Dave Gassner (Hortonville, Wis., Hortonville H.S.) went 8-0 with a 0.35 ERA as a high school senior. He was the conference Player-of-the-Year, striking out 58 batters in 40 innings. Left-hander Benjamin Kaebisch (Colgate, Wis., Germantown H.S.), a USA Today honorable mention All-American as a junior, went 7-4 with a 1.43 ERA while fanning 123 in 85 innings this past spring. Jeremy Shultz (Highland, Ind., Bishop Noll H.S.), another lefty pitcher, struck out 53 hitters in 42 innings en route to a 4-3 record.

Right-handed pitcher Austin Bilke (Beaver Dam, Wis., Beaver Dam H.S.) posted a 6-3 record and a 0.89 ERA as a senior while batting .389 with four home runs. He was drafted by Baltimore this past June as a third baseman. Laramie Sandquist (Owatonna, Minn., Owatonna H.S.) won back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards as a junior and senior and was named academic all-state this year. As a senior, the right-hander won three games and had an ERA of 2.04.

Matt Vander Weg (Englewood, Colo., Cherry Creek H.S.) helped lead his team to three consecutive state championships for 1995-97. The 6-foot-6 righty is expected to make a big impact in 1998. Left-hander Kyle Kowalski, a high school teammate of Vander Weg, also joins the Boilers this season.

David Blomberg (Brookfield, Wis., Waukesa North H.S.) joins the Boilermaker infield after batting .473 with three home runs and 42 RBI. Outfielder Nate Sickler (Hinckley, Minn., Hinckley-Finlayson, H.S.