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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 82 pened a month earlier. Then, he delivered a 91-mph fast- ball to teammate Evan Kennedy that came back at him at 101, with the line drive striking Andrews cleanly right above the right eyebrow and knocking him to the dirt. Coach Mark Wasikowski called it the scariest moment he's seen in all of his 30 years playing and coaching base- ball. Andrews' parents rushed from the wedding of a fam- ily friend, getting to his Lafayette hospital bedside and tending to their youngest son, who had 11 fresh stitches and a severe concussion. After a month, including more than two weeks in which he didn't go to class and did little else but sit in dark room, Andrews was back on the mound. He'd lost 15 pounds, down to about 190 on his 6-foot-3 frame, but it wasn't his physique he was worried about. He was men- tally freaked out. In the intra-squad scrimmage — Purdue wanted to get Andrews back on the field before the end of October, which marks the end of the NCAA fall practice calendar, as a way to not let the hurdle linger — the right-hander was set to go an inning, ready to face three batters and then his friend Kennedy. "It was definitely tough getting out there," Andrews re- called more than a year later, as he was getting set for his senior season, his second as Purdue's ace. "I was really nervous all the way through warmups. Then, the first hit- ter stepped in and I took a deep breath, said a little prayer and once I stepped on the mound, it was go time. It felt like I had nev- er missed a beat. I didn't pitch as well as I wanted to, but I definite- ly competed. "Then when Evan came up, we kind of looked at each oth- er, and smiled. I had to step off, take a deep breath and go at it. I actually struck him out that at- bat. It was nice to kind of get my revenge." That moment was the begin- ning of what turned out to be a great 2017 season for Andrews, a turnaround of sorts after he'd been removed as a weekend starter the year before. He fin- ished last year 8-4 with a 4.52 ERA while striking out 57 in 83 2/3 innings, and did so while battling a bothersome hip flexor during much of the Big Ten season. But if there was one singular influence on Purdue's comeback season, in which the Boilermakers saw the country's biggest jump in wins (from 10 in '16 to 29 in '17), it was Andrews. Coaches lauded his leadership, crit- ical to the transition from Doug Schreiber's staff to Wasi- kowski's, and his play, too. Purdue was 10-5 on Fridays, getting more than a third of its total wins with Andrews on the mound. "Obviously, the numbers, we won a lot of games on Friday," pitching coach Steve Holm said. "But he set the tone and led the staff in showing how to work and show up and give a good effort every time. "There was obviously a couple that didn't go our way, but he didn't let that linger for three or four outings. That's what they say an ace does, they stop a losing streak. So when he had a bad outing, the next outing there was a pretty good chance it'd be a good one." Andrews had bounced back from a rough 2016, in which he started the season as Purdue's Friday starter, but made six pedestrian starts before Schreiber dropped him to a Sunday start and then into the bullpen. Although he came on again as a back-end reliever late in the year, Andrews wasn't happy about the way his sophomore season had gone. In the offseason, he started experimenting with a curve ball. Andrews needed a third pitch to add to his fastball, which had picked up velocity into the low 90s, and his changeup. But the concussion side- tracked all of that, delaying his progress until workouts started again in January, six weeks be- fore the start of the '17 season. "That's when we really started trying to toy with that breaking ball," Holm said. "The days that he had the breaking ball, it was a differencemaker, lights out. The breaking ball showed up and they didn't hit him at all. Break- ing ball wasn't there, he wasn't VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 82 State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company State Farm Indemnity Company Bloomington, IL State Farm County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas Dallas, TX 1606043 Good day, bad day or any day – I'm here for you in all life's moments, backed by the #1* insurance company for auto, home and life. CALL ME TODAY. For every "oh no," there's an "oh yeah." *Based on written premium as reported by SNL Financial 2014. Trent B Johnson, Agent 249 E State Street West Lafayette, IN 47906 Bus: 765-743-9595

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