News and notes on Purdue Athletics
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MiLB veteran played for Georgia Tech in the 2006 College World Series.
Former Georgia Tech player and coach Wally Crancer joined Purdue baseball as an assistant coach in August 2013.
Crancer played in the 2006 College World Series with Georgia Tech and later spent four seasons in the Baltimore Orioles farm system. He was a volunteer assistant coach at Georgia Tech for two seasons from 2012 to 2013.
At Purdue, Crancer serves as the hitting coach and spearheads the defensive instruction. And the Boilermakers have been a strong defensive team during his tenure. As a freshman in 2016, Nick Dalesandro excelled wherever he played, whether it was behind the plate or in the outfield. He recorded eight of Purdue's 18 outfield assists in 31 starts in the outfield to rank among the national leaders through the end of the regular season. He also threw out 13 of 25 base stealers.
Many of Crancer's recruits were a big part of a 19-win improvement in 2017, which ranked as the greatest turnaround in program history. Sixteen newcomers saw action in 2017 as Purdue became just the second Big Ten team since 1988 to win 10 more games in league play than the previous year, returning to the conference tournament in the process.
Catcher Bryce Bonner was named a 2017 Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball after becoming only the fourth freshman in program history to record 13 doubles. Additionally, Bonner was the first freshman since 2006 to lead the team in walks and the Boilermakers' first qualifying freshman of the BBCOR bat era (2011-present) to post an .800-plus OPS.
Offensively, Kyle Wood's 12 home runs in 2016 were the most by a Boilermaker in the BBCOR bat era (2011-present). Kyle Johnson enjoyed his finest season at the plate, racking up 21 extra-base hits while batting .318. He finished his career as a four-year starting center fielder, providing defensive excellence every year.
As a freshman in 2015, Harry Shipley started every game at shortstop. He went 14 consecutive games without committing an error at one point. Shipley finished the regular season leading the Big Ten in defensive assists (184) and helped the team turn 54 double plays, which ranked second in the conference. The Boilers' 54 twin killings turned a year earlier had been tops in the league.
The 2014 Boilermakers also led the Big Ten in outfield assists (17), with six different Purdue players recording multiple outfield assists.
Wood, like a Crancer a left-handed hitter, won the team triple crown in 2015. He was the first player to do since 2007 and the 11th Boilermaker position player since 1970 to accomplish the feat. Meanwhile, Alec Olund homered twice in an April win, becoming the first Purdue freshman with a multi-homer game in the BBCOR bat era.
Georgia Tech qualified for the NCAA Regionals in three of Crancer's four seasons affiliated with the program. As an assistant, he worked primarily with the outfielders, assisted the hitting coach and served as the first base coach.
Crancer was selected in the 12th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Orioles as one of a school-record 10 Yellow Jackets picked that year. His best MiLB season came in 2009 when he batted .302 with eight home runs and 34 RBI in 61 games with the Frederick Keys. As a two-year starting outfielder at Georgia Tech, he batted .345 with 22 doubles, 14 home runs and 82 RBI in 90 career starts.
In his two seasons on the Yellow Jackets' coaching staff, Tech outfielders excelled both offensively and defensively under Crancer. On the heels of the 2013 season, the entire starting outfield was selected in the first eight rounds of the MLB Draft and signed pro contracts. Junior right fielder Daniel Palka was drafted in the third round by the Arizona Diamondbacks after leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with 17 home runs as a First Team All-American. Kyle Wren, an eighth round selection by the Atlanta Braves, was second in the ACC with eight outfield assists in 2013 as a Second Team All-ACC honoree.
Georgia Tech won the 2012 ACC Tournament and finished as a Regional runner-up to the site host in each of Crancer's two seasons on the coaching staff. As a junior in 2006, he helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 50-win season. He started both of Tech's games at the College World Series in right field, going 3-for-5 in an opening-round loss to Clemson.
The Norco, Calif., native transferred to Georgia Tech, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 2007, after playing his first two college seasons at Riverside (Calif.) Community College. Crancer and his wife Ashlee have two sons, Blake and Jaxson.