Fall Report: PurdueFall Report
Purdue made history last season with the program’s third trip to the NCAA postseason.
Now, it hopes to make that a trend under the direction of head coach Mark Wasikowski.
So often Midwestern teams have made the leap into national prominence, only to backpedal in the immediate years after. Fortunately, that’s becoming less common as more programs are putting vast resources into baseball, and recruits in the region are taking notice. But Purdue is familiar with being in that position. Just a few years ago, the Boilermakers had a banner year and hosted a regional in Gary, Ind. However, the program took a step back in the years after, which led to the hiring of Wasikowski.
While this Boilermakers squad has some holes to fill with the departures of key sluggers Nick Dalesandro and Jacson McGowan, along with ace starting pitcher and righthander Tanner Andrews, they also welcome back some key cogs, including hard-hitting Skyler Hunter, rising Ben Nisle and promising big righthander Bo Hofstra.
“It’s been a fun group to work with, that’s for sure,” Wasikowski said. “We’ve got a little bit of a transition going right now. It’s not a total overhaul type of transition, but it’s a transition after losing a couple of key players from last year’s club. There’s been some pretty good competition to say the least.
“We’ve got some youth out there, particularly in the infield, but I like where we are,” he continued. “The biggest thing with this program in general is that our kids are now believing they can win. They feel like they accomplished a ton last year, but I think they now believe they could’ve done even better. We left some things on the table and that’s the attitude these players have really taken on. They’re always putting in extra work, they’re more athletic, they’re more physical and boxes are being checked. It’s really neat to see.”
There’s no doubt Purdue is work in progress, but Wasikowski and his staff brought in a talented recruiting class, and there’s just enough key pieces in place from last season to put together another nice run in 2019. Is there enough to mount another surge toward the postseason? We’ll find out in a few months.
For now, it’s time to take an in-depth look at who’s standing out for Purdue this fall:
• One of the most important positions on the field is always behind the plate. Last year, the Boilermakers had one of the more athletic backstops in college baseball in Dalesandro. Now, they must replace him, but have some quality options that Wasikowski is encouraged by. The guys in the mix for the opening include junior Bryce Bonner and Zach Fascia.