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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 5 78 fer before becoming a key piece this year. "Especially with Waz coming in and focusing on details, and winning every single little thing that we do." But Purdue, which had 23 wins as of April 26, is not yet a fin- ished product. Although it is pleased with starting the Big Ten season 9-6, which was good for fourth place in the league through its first five weekends, there are inconsistencies that plague the Boilermakers. After they won the opener at Rutgers on April 14, the Boiler- makers lost the next two, losing a lead in Game 2 after a five-run, two-error fourth inning and then being no-hit into the seventh in the series finale. Those were the Scarlet Knights' first wins of the Big Ten season. Purdue, however, came back the next weekend to take three from Illinois at Alexander Field, its first Big Ten three- game sweep since 2012. But Purdue is winning with a scrappy lineup of mostly over- looked one- and two-tool players. It has a defensive-minded shortstop in Harry Shipley; Warden, who leads the country in being hit by pitches; a freshman center fielder in Skylar Hunt- er, who is leading Purdue in batting average and is one of four rookies in the lineup; the talented but mercurial Nick Dalesan- dro, who splits time in the outfield and at catcher; and Jacson McGowan, a converted first baseman who gives Purdue about its only pop, as inconsistent as it is. Conditions were perfect for a big crowd April 8: Purdue football held its spring game earlier in the day; the university's Spring Fest was on campus; temperatures were unsea- sonably high, topping out in the mid-70s; and Indiana was in town, with the Hoosiers visiting West Lafayette for the first time since 2011. But few would have predicted a record Alexander Field attendance of 2,312, topping the previous high at the five-year-old ballpark by more than 750. Those who came got to see a solid Pur- due outing, with the Boilermakers winning 7-3 to take the second game of the three- game series vs. IU. "It was awesome," first-year coach Mark Wasikowski said, "a huge credit to the people of Lafayette and West Lafayette and sur- rounding areas to come out and support this new team. Unbelievable, standing-room-only and a sellout, the buzz in the park, the smell of barbeque food and seeing people enjoying a cold one while we're doing it, it was really good."

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