WICHITA, Kan. - Back for his junior campaign after recording 12 saves and 55 strikeouts in his first season with Purdue baseball, closer Nick Wittgren has been selected to the National Collegiate Baseball Writer Association's Preseason All-America Team.
As one of only two players from the Big Ten Conference to be recognized on the NCBWA teams, Wittgren was selected as a Third Team relief pitcher. Ohio State's Josh Dezse, a Third Team two-way utility player, also represented the conference.
Wittgren was a Second Team All-Big Ten reliever last season, one of six Boilers to receive postseason recognition from the league coaches. All six players are back for the 2012 campaign.
Wittgren led the Big Ten with 12 saves a season ago, finishing one shy of the program's single-season record. The right-hander from Lafayette finished a game in 24 of his team-high 29 appearances. With two victories in relief, he played a significant factor in 14 of the program record-tying 37 wins in 2011.
Wittgren was named to the NCBWA's Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List in April. While his most memorable performance of the season came in the Pittsburgh victory at the season-opening Big East/Big Ten Challenge, he was at his best in Big Ten play. He compiled a 1.14 ERA and a .217 batting average against while earning six saves in his 13 appearances on conference weekends.
Over the summer, Wittgren served as the closer of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the prestigious Cape Code League. He helped Hyannis win the Western Division with a league-best 29-15 record-season record. The All-Cape Cod League honoree was charged with a run in only two of his 19 relief appearances while factoring in 13 victories (10 saves, 3 wins).
Purdue's 2012 opening day lineup could feature nine batters that were all regular starters a season ago. And with Joe Haase and Wittgren headlining the returning pitchers, the Boilermakers are expected to be among the favorites in the Big Ten this season.
Purdue opens its 2012 season the weekend of Feb. 17-19 at the Big Ten/Big East Challenge in St. Petersburg-Clearwater area of Florida's Gulf Coast. The Boilermakers will take on Cincinnati, Connecticut and Notre Dame at this year's challenge.