June 12, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- During its historic 2012 season, Purdue baseball won a program-record 45 games, captured a pair of Big Ten titles, earned the right to host an NCAA Regional and closed out Lambert Field in thrilling fashion.
The Boilermakers (45-14, 17-7 Big Ten) began the season 14-1, won 10 consecutive games twice, posted their 20th win before April 1, reached the 30-win mark at the earliest date (April 20) in program history and won their first Big Ten title since 1909. In its 16 games at Lambert, the home of the program since 1965, Purdue won three times in walk-off fashion and locked up the Big Ten title May 12 in front of a large group of program alumni.
Head coach Doug Schreiber was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year after leading the Boilers to the most wins by a Big Ten team since 2008. He won his 400th and program-record 408th career games at Lambert this spring. His 408th victory as the leader of the program, April 15 in the finale of a series sweep of Illinois, made the 14th-year skipper Purdue's all-time wins leader.
By clinching the title on May 12 with a win in the 20th conference game of the season, the Boilers became the earliest team to clinch the title since the Big Ten schedule moved from 32 to 24 games in 2009. As the No. 1 seed at the Big Ten Tournament, Purdue won three consecutive games to win the six-team event for the first time. The Boilermakers made their fifth straight tournament appearance, the longest active streak in the league as well as the longest in program history. Dating back to 2008, Purdue is 172-110 overall (.610) and 75-51 in Big Ten play (.595). Both records represent the best marks in the league.
Along with qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history (1987), the Boilers were selected as one of 16 Regional hosts. Lambert Field did not meet some of the specific NCAA requirements necessary to host a Regional. But Purdue was able to work in conjunction with the Gary South Shore RailCats to play the Regional at the U.S. Steel Yard in Northwest Indiana. The opening game of the Regional was a 21-inning marathon between Kentucky and Kent State, the second-longest game in NCAA Tournament history.
Purdue became the fifth Big Ten school (excluding Nebraska) to host an NCAA Regional and the first since Michigan in 2008. Of the 16 Regional hosts this season, the Boilers were the only one that did not have the advantage of playing at its home ballpark. But playing away from campus was nothing new for Purdue in 2012. The Boilermakers posted 32 of their wins away from Lambert Field, ranking second in the nation in true road wins. Entering the College World Series, Purdue's .759 winning percentage ranked fourth nationally.
The Boilermakers enjoyed six undefeated weekends and went 9-0 in midweek action, extending their midweek win streak to 17 dating back to March 2011. Purdue won the opening game of each of its eight Big Ten series and was pushed to a rubber game only twice. The Boilers had a losing record in only three of their 16 weekends.
Purdue was also a perfect 8-0 against fellow teams from the state of Indiana this year, beating the rival Hoosiers twice at the Big Ten Tournament after the two teams finished one-two in the final conference standings. The Boilers have now won seven straight games against IU dating back to May 2010 and 11 of the last 14 going back to the 2008 Big Ten Tournament.
Kevin Plawecki and Joe Haase teamed up to give Purdue a sweep of Big Ten Player and Pitcher of the Year honors, respectively. They were the program's first recipients of the awards. Plawecki hit a pair of go-ahead home runs at the Big Ten Tournament to also win Most Outstanding Player honors. The junior catcher became the fifth player since 1981 to sweep Big Ten Player/Pitcher of the Year and Tournament MOP in the same season. He was also baseball's first winner of Purdue Male Athlete of the Year honors.
Headlined by Plawecki's selection 35th overall by the New York Mets, Purdue had a program-record seven players picked in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Juniors Plawecki, Cameron Perkins and Nick Wittgren were each selected in the first 10 rounds to give the Boilers three players drafted in the first 300 picks for the first time.
Perkins led the Big Ten with 61 RBI. Haase was tops in the conference with 11 wins, a new Purdue single-season record. Both players were unanimous First Team All-Big Ten honorees as a program-record eight players were recognized by the league coaches. The Boilermakers also featured league leaders in doubles and runs scored (Plawecki), triples (Stephen Talbott), earned run average (Blake Mascarello) and saves (Wittgren). Eric Charles broke the program record for runs scored as well.
As a team, Purdue led the Big Ten in team batting average (.316), hits (665) and earned run average (3.16). The Boilers struck out the fewest number of times at the plate and issued the fewest number of walks on the mound.
Big innings were a big part of the successful season. Purdue scored four or more runs in an inning 24 times, including 16 times from the sixth through ninth innings. The Boilermakers were 39-0 when tied or leading after the sixth inning. They also rallied to win in six of the 20 games in which they trailed after six.
Big innings lifted Purdue to a pair of memorable come-from-behind victories. March 3 at Auburn's four-team tournament, the Boilers scored seven times with two outs to overcome a six-run deficit and stun Southern Miss, 10-9. The rally began with two outs and the bases empty. Barrett Serrato's go-ahead three-run homer headlined Purdue's six two-out hits in the frame.
May 6 in the finale of a three-game series at UCLA, the Boilers scored 10 runs in the ninth inning to steal a 15-11 victory. Walks gave Purdue life that day. The Boilermakers sent 15 men to the plate and recorded 13 productive plate appearances during the extended rally. There were seven consecutive two-out, run-scoring hits after UCLA recorded the second out of the frame.
In the 48th and final season at Lambert Field, Purdue not only clinched the Big Ten title but also won three times in walk-off fashion. In the final game in the history of the ballpark, May 15 against Indiana State, Sean McHugh connected for a game-tying pinch hit home run with two outs in the ninth inning. It was Purdue's first pinch hit home run since May 2010. The Boilermakers went on to win in the bottom of the 10th on Perkins' third career walk-off RBI.
Charles and Perkins provided the heroics in a 14-inning win against Michigan State April 28 at Lambert. Charles delivered a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and Perkins won it with a base hit in the 14th. It was Purdue's longest game since a 16-inning marathon against Ohio State in April 2004.
Talbott delivered the walk-off single in the 10th inning of the home-opening win against Louisville.
The Boilermakers will have to bid adieu to 15 seniors as well as the junior draftees. Angelo Cianfrocco, McHugh and Talbott will headline Purdue's returning position players for 2013. Brad Schreiber is expected to return to the weekend rotation after missing the final six weeks of 2011 and all of the 2012 campaign due to elbow surgery. Meanwhile, the underclassmen who contributed in reserve roles this year will team with the 16-player recruiting class set to join the program in the fall.
New Program Records, Single-Season Team Marks
Innings: 527 2/3
Strikeout-to-walk Ratio: 2.84
Fewest Walks per 9 IP: 2.18
Batting Average: 3.16 (tied record)
2012 Awards & Honors
Team Awards Announced Soon
Co-MVP: Joe Haase & Kevin Plawecki
Red Mackey Award (Senior): Joe Haase
Offensive Player of the Year: Cameron Perkins
Defensive Player of the Year: David Miller
Pitcher of the Year: Blake Mascarello
Clyde Lyle Award (Non-Scholarship): Robert Ramer
Mr. Boilermaker Award (Attitude): Barrett Serrato
Newcomer of the Year: Connor Podkul
Prominent Individual Honors
Purdue Male Athlete of the Year: Kevin Plawecki
Big Ten Player of the Year: Kevin Plawecki
Big Ten Pitcher of the Year: Joe Haase
Big Ten Coach of the Year: Doug Schreiber
Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player: Kevin Plawecki
Selected in MLB First-Year Player Draft
Kevin Plawecki, 35th Overall in Comp A Round by New York Mets
Cameron Perkins, Sixth Round (218th), Philadelphia Phillies
Nick Wittgren, Ninth Round (287th), Miami Marlins
Lance Breedlove, 23rd Round (706th), Pittsburgh Pirates
Eric Charles, 29th Round (885th), San Diego Padres
Barrett Serrato, 30th Round (936th), Texas Rangers
Brad Schreiber, 40th Round (1210th), Minnesota Twins
Signed as a Free Agent after the Draft
Blake Mascarello, Philadelphia Phillies
Kevin Plawecki, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, Perfect Game USA & College Baseball Insider, Second Team; ABCA, Third Team
Joe Haase, College Baseball Insider, Honorable Mention
Blake Mascarello, College Baseball Insider, Honorable Mention
All-Big Ten Honorees
Cameron Perkins, First Team Third Baseman (Unanimous)
Joe Haase, First Team Starting Pitcher (Unanimous)
Kevin Plawecki, First Team Catcher
Eric Charles, First Team Second Baseman
Barrett Serrato, Second Team Outfielder
Lance Breedlove, Second Team Starting Pitcher
Blake Mascarello, Second Team Relief Pitcher
Nick Wittgren, Third Team Relief Pitcher
Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award
Joe Haase (Team & Purdue Male Athlete Designee)
ABCA All-Mideast Region
Joe Haase, First Team Starting Pitcher
Cameron Perkins, First Team Third Baseman
Kevin Plawecki, First Team Catcher
Eric Charles, Second Team Second Baseman
NCAA All-Gary Regional Team
National Award Watch Lists
Kevin Plawecki, Johnny Bench Award Finalist (1 of 3)
Kevin Plawecki, Dick Howser Trophy Semifinalist (1 of 35)
Kevin Plawecki, USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Semifinalist (1 of 30)
David Miller, Brooks Wallace Award Watch List (50- & 25-man editions)
Lance Breedlove, College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year Watch List (51-man edition)
Nick Wittgren, NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List (Preseason & Midseason editions)
Distinguished Big Ten Scholar (3.7+ GPA)
Academic All-Big Ten
National Weekly Recognition
Lance Breedlove, CollegeSportsMadness.com National Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 20)
David Miller, CollegeBaseball360.com Primetime Performers (March 5 & May 7)
Lance Breedlove, CollegeBaseballInsider.com Central Region Pitcher of the Week (April 9)
Joe Haase, College Baseball Hall of Fame National All-Star Lineup (April 12)
Lance Breedlove, College Baseball Hall of Fame National All-Star Lineup (April 4)