Season Recap: Successful Campaign Sees Boilers Match Program Wins Record

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Senior Matt Morgan finished his Purdue career with 16 wins & 218 strikeouts
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Senior Matt Morgan finished his Purdue career with 16 wins & 218 strikeouts
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

June 2, 2011


2011 Awards & Honors | Individual Postseason Purdue Awards 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue baseball's hot start and impressive showing in the month of April led to a memorable final full season at Lambert Field, as the Boilermakers posted 37 victories to equal the program's single-season record.

Purdue's 37 overall wins were the most in the Big Ten Conference this year. Despite being picked eighth in the preseason coaches' poll, the Boilers finished third in the league with a 14-10 conference record and reached the Big Ten Tournament for the fourth consecutive year and seventh time in the last eight seasons. The four straight tourney appearances represent the longest active streak in the league as well as a program high.

Purdue led the Big Ten in numerous statistical categories, highlighted by runs scored, doubles, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, sacrifice flies, saves and strikeouts. The Boilermakers drew the most walks at the plate and issued the fewest number of free passes on the mound. Batters getting hit by a pitch were also a big part of the season, as Purdue was plunked 108 times, nearly twice as often as any other Big Ten team.

Six Boilers were recognized as all-conference performers, matching the second-highest total in program history. Kevin Plawecki and Barrett Serrato were named First Team, Tyler Spillner and Nick Wittgren Second Team and Cameron Perkins and Stephen Talbott Third Team. With Serrato, Spillner and Talbott all honored as outfielders, it marked the first time 1991 that three Purdue outfielders were named all-conference in the same season.

Plawecki and Wittgren were also singled out among the nation's top performers at their positions. Plawecki was selected as one of 13 semifinalists nationally for the Johnny Bench Award, which recognizes the nation's top all-around collegiate catcher. He became the first Purdue catcher to earn First Team All-Big Ten honors since 1960.

Wittgren recorded 12 saves during his first season with the program, leading the Big Ten and finishing one shy of the program's single-season record. He quickly emerged as the team's top reliever, finishing a game in 24 of his 28 relief appearances. However, seven different Boilers tallied at least one save for the second year in a row and Purdue set a new school record with 21 as a team. He was named to the NCBWA's Stopper of the Year midseason watch list, the lone Big Ten reliever selected to the updated list unveiled in April that tracks the nation's top closers.

The Boilermakers began the season 11-2, jumping out to their best start since 1993, and went 13-5 in the month of April despite playing 13 of their 18 games away from home. Purdue posted its 30th win of the season on May 1, completing its first series sweep of rival Indiana since 1997 that Sunday at Lambert Field. The 2011 Boilers were the sixth team in program history to reach the 30-win plateau by May 1.

Purdue concluded the regular season with an eight-game homestand, playing its final two series of the year at home for the first time since 1998. The Boilermakers finished the season at 14-4 at Lambert Field, punctuated by a three-game series sweep of Iowa. It was Purdue's first ever sweep of the Hawkeyes in a series of at least three games. The Boilermakers are scheduled to move into their new stadium in the Northwest Complex in April 2012 after playing their first few home games at Lambert.

Perkins reached base safely in all 56 games in which he saw action, highlighted by a career-high 20-game hitting streak from March 20-April 23. He'll enter the 2012 campaign riding a reached base safely streak of 63 consecutive games dating back to 2010. It was the third longest in the nation entering the Big Ten Tournament.

But Perkins was one five Boilers to record a hitting streak of at least 10 games. Eric Charles posted a career-best 15-game hitting streak late in the year and led the way with a 6-for-12 showing at the Big Ten Tournament. Plawecki hit safely in the first 11 games of the year and recorded four or more hits in a game three times. Spillner and Talbott had 10-game hitting streaks.

Purdue had a program-record seven players recognized by the conference office as Player/Pitcher of the Week winners. Serrato (Feb. 21), Angelo Cianfrocco (Feb. 28), Spillner (March 14) and Perkins (April 11) were honored as Players of the Week. Matt Morgan (Feb. 21 and March 7), Brad Schreiber (March 28) and Joe Haase (April 4) each won Pitcher of the Week.

As one of only three seniors on the roster, Morgan was the leader of the pitching staff. Purdue posted an 11-2 record in games he started. Morgan started the opener of every Big Ten series, helping the Boilers win six of the eight openers. He recorded his 200th career strikeout in the May 13 win against Illinois, becoming the eighth pitcher in program history to reach the benchmark. The senior beat BIG EAST regular-season champion Connecticut in the season-opening win at the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge and also pitched a four-hit, complete-game shutout March 4 at Lipscomb.

Joe Haase started the season in the bullpen but quickly emerged as one of the pitching staff's most consistent performers. He led the team in innings pitched thanks in part to a complete-game shutout against Minnesota at Target Field and two other victories in which he worked 8 2/3 innings. Haase pitched in some of Purdue's biggest games of the year, both as a starter and reliever, and consistently gave his team a chance to win.

Purdue continued to excel despite losing Ryan Bridges and Schreiber to April injuries. Bridges had been the primary starting first baseman when he suffered a broken leg in the finale of the Michigan series, April 10 at Lambert. Brad Schreiber had been the Boilers' most consistent starting pitcher and was leading the Big Ten in strikeouts and batting average against when he left his April 17 start at Penn State with arm stiffness. He did not return to the mound for the rest of the season.

Left-handers Calvin Gunter, Mike Sudbury and Cianfrocco all saw their opportunities on the mound increase in the second half of the season. Together, they were a combined 3-3 with three saves and 44 strikeouts in 54 innings pitched after Schreiber went down. Cianfrocco did not make his first collegiate appearance on the mound until May 1 versus Indiana, but finished the year as one of the most trusted left-handers in the bullpen. Cianfrocco and Gunter were among the eight consecutive different pitchers to record a win from April 29-May 20.

David Blount, Payton Bieker, Serrato, Perkins and Plawecki were among the position players that teamed up to helped cover for the loss of Bridges to injury. Bieker and Serrato both started games at four different positions. Serrato finished the year as the starting third baseman, allowing Perkins to slide across the diamond to first. Blount and Plawecki also started games at first after the injury to Bridges.

With the core of the team being sophomores and juniors, there was not a lot of playing time available for freshmen. But Sean McHugh still found ways to make an impact. He delivered a two-out walk-off single in the 12th inning of the series-opening win against Indiana, becoming the first Boiler to come through with a walk-off hit as a pinch hitter since 2006. He also connected for the first home run of the season at Lambert and went deep for his first collegiate hit.

Purdue will have to bid adieu to Blount, Bieker and Morgan but is expected to return its entire regular lineup for the 2012 campaign.

2011 Purdue Postseason Individual Awards

MVP: Matt Morgan
Red Mackey Award (Senior): David Blount
Offensive Player of the Year: Cameron Perkins
Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Plawecki
Pitcher of the Year: Joe Haase
Clyde Lyle Award (Non-Scholarship): David Miller
Mr. Boilermaker Award (Attitude): Brad Schreiber
Newcomer of the Year: Nick Wittgren


2011 Purdue Awards & Honors

All-Big Ten
Kevin Plawecki, First Team Catcher
Barrett Serrato, First Team Outfielder
Tyler Spillner, Second Team Outfielder
Nick Wittgren, Second Team Relief Pitcher
Cameron Perkins, Third Team Third Baseman
Stephen Talbott, Third Team Outfielder

Big Ten Sportsmanship Award
David Blount 

Big Ten All-Tournament Team
Tyler Spillner

Academic All-Big Ten
Chris Antonelli
Payton Bieker
Kyle Bischoff
Lance Breedlove
Nick Burke
Eric Charles
Angelo Cianfrocco
Patrick Coghlan
Calvin Gunter
Joe Haase
David Miller
Cameron Perkins
Robert Ramer
Tyler Spillner

Big Ten Player of the Week
Cameron Perkins, April 11
Tyler Spillner, March 14
Angelo Cianfrocco, Feb. 28
Barrett Serrato, Feb. 21

Big Ten Pitcher of the Week
Joe Haase, April 4
Brad Schreiber, March 28
Matt Morgan, Feb. 21 & March 7

NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List
Nick Wittgren

Johnny Bench Award Watch List & Semifinalist
Kevin Plawecki

InsidePitching.com Great Lakes Region Pitcher of the Week
Matt Morgan, March 7

BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge All-Tourney Team Selected by CollegeBaseball360.com
Matt Morgan
Kevin Plawecki
Barrett Serrato (Honorable Mention)

CollegeBaseball360.com Primetime Performer
Matt Morgan, Feb. 21