Purdue Baseball Is a Thing
(Photo credit: Michael Ringor)
In case you haven’t noticed – and judging by the attendance, you haven’t – Purdue baseball has overachieved this season and is playing in the College Baseball D-1 Tournament Friday evening.
First off, though, we need to acknowledge the continued brilliant direction Purdue’s marketing and branding people are taking things. The pictures schedule poster mimicking the Sandlot is just outstanding.
The Boilermakers were projected to be a bottom-of-the-conference team but second-year head coach Mark Wasikowski pulled a Jeff Brohm of his own and took the Boilermakers to second in the conference, finishing just a game and a half back of Minnesota.
The Boilermakers then went to the Big Ten Tournament (held in Omaha, so they’ve already been where the NCAAs end) and found themselves in the championship game vs those same Gophers. Purdue lost 6-4 in a closely contested game and now find themselves in Chapel Hill, NC in the NCAA Tourney.
The Big Ten has four teams in the tournament – Minnesota, IU, Ohio State and Purdue.
The Boilermakers will play Houston first on Friday night at 7 PM on ESPN3. It’s double elimination in this first pod so even if they lose Friday night, they have another game Saturday against either UNC or NC A&T.
Those who advance out of each pod form the Super Regionals, where you advance by winning a best-of-three series.
Those winners will then comprise the eight teams in the College World Series.
Everybody got all that?
Now for a little history. For Purdue, this is only the third time they’ve made the NCAA Tournament, currently at 64 teams. They made it in 1987, losing both games and being bounced, and in 2012, when they won their only conference title (and conference tournament title). That year (2012), interestingly, Purdue was a #1 seed and as such was supposed to host the regional. However, Purdue’s baseball facilities weren’t up to NCAA Tourney snuff, so they had to host up in Gary, marking the first time Gary has ever been considered an upgrade from anywhere. Purdue lost two of three and was again eliminated in the regionals.
What I’m saying is that Purdue baseball has nowhere to go but up in terms of NCAA Tournament success. Could be worse, though – Wisconsin is the only Big Ten school without baseball, having dropped it in 1991 due to athletic department budget challenges.
This has been your baseball update. Go Boilers.