Boilermakers Open Preseason Practice
Jan. 26, 2018

Preseason Fan Fest

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball's full preseason practice commenced Friday in preparation for the program's season-opening weekend, just three weeks away in Waco, Texas.

The mild temperatures and favorable weather to ascend on Central Indiana for the final weekend of January will allow the Boilermakers to practice outdoors at Grand Park in Westfield on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Purdue also practiced on the artificial turf fields at the large complex in suburban Indianapolis in February of last year.

The Mollenkopf Athletic Center and Madia Hitting Facility inside the clubhouse at Alexander Field remain the primary locations of the program's preseason practices. Full team scrimmages highlight the weekend sessions.

The Boilermakers have welcomed back 18 letterwinners from the 2017 team, which posted a program-record 19-win improvement and returned to the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in five years. Together, that group has allowed Purdue to return at least 80 percent of last season's production in 10 statistical categories. After finding success with more newcomers than returnees in the program's first season under head coach Mark Wasikowski, the Boilermakers will sport a very experienced roster this spring.


Statistic Percentage Returning Returning/2017 Totals 2017 Team Leader(s)
Stolen Bases 93% 75 of 81 Harry Shipley (24)
Runs Scored 92% 281 of 304 Evan Warden (50)
Walks 92% 165 of 179 Bryce Bonner (26)
Hits 91% 437 of 478 Skyler Hunter (65)
RBI 91% 236 of 259 Jacson McGowan (50)
Extra-Base Hits 89% 124 of 139 Jacson McGowan (26)
Starts 89% 449 of 504 McGowan/Shipley (56)
Home Runs 80% 20 of 25 Jacson McGowan (8)


Statistic Percentage Returning Returning/2017 Totals 2017 Team Leader(s)
Saves 100% 14 of 14 Dalton Parker (6)
Wins 90% 26 of 29 Tanner Andrews (8)
Strikeouts 74% 276 of 371 Tanner Andrews (57)
Innings 73% 359.2 of 494.2 Gareth Stroh (90.1)
Starts 70% 39 of 56 Andrews/Stroh (15)
Relief Appearances 67% 97 of 144 Ross Learnard (27)

Purdue enjoyed a great deal of diversity in its team leaders last season, especially among the lineup. Returnees Evan Warden (doubles, runs, on-base percentage), Jacson McGowan (extra-base hits, RBI, slugging percentage), Skyler Hunter (hits, batting average), Harry Shipley (stolen bases) and Bryce Bonner (walks) all led the team in at least one statistical categories. And that group of five doesn't even include the program's most versatile player Nick Dalesandro, who was second on the team in batting average, hits, RBI and stolen bases.

On the mound, Purdue welcomes back its primary weekend rotation of Tanner Andrews, Gareth Stroh and Mike Kornacker, as well as its top three relief pitchers -- All-American Ross Learnard plus Dalton Parker and Cameron Williams. Andrews won eight of his 15 starts, led the team in strikeouts and was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week twice. Stroh was the Boilermakers' top pitcher in Big Ten play, earning all-conference honors for a 2.41 ERA in his conference starts. Learnard had a program-record 0.58 ERA while pitching in a team-high 27 games and Parker set a Purdue freshman record with six saves to go along with .217 batting average against.

But as Wasikowski continues to rebuild the roster, newcomers will certainly have an impact once again this season. The three Boilermakers recognized by the Big Ten coaches at the end of 2017, Stroh and all-freshman team selections Bonner and Hunter, were all new to the program. Purdue is expected to have 14 newcomers on its 2018 roster. Two redshirt-freshmen pitchers, Andrew Bohm and Matt Moore, are likely to make their debuts this season as well after arm injuries sidelined them a year ago.

The 19-win turnaround last season was in part a byproduct of big improvements in close games and road games. Wasikowski continues to stress attention to detail and being prepared for all facets of situational baseball. Playing on the road early in the season is yearly reality for Big Ten teams and their northern counterparts. Purdue was prepared to play from day one last season, winning its season opener for the first time since 2013 and compiling an 11-8 record going into its Big Ten opener at Iowa on March 24.

Purdue is scheduled to play its first 19 games away from Alexander Field this season, but six of those are neutral-site affairs at tournaments hosted in Texas and Florida. Lipscomb visits Alexander Field for the home-opening weekend (March 23-25) and Big Ten play begins the following weekend (March 30-April 2) at Penn State.

The Boilermakers are hosting a preseason fan fest Sunday, Feb. 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Mollenkopf. It is free and open to fans of all ages.




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