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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 84 state. He could dunk as a middle schooler, once throwing one down during a game. "His point guard goes up for a contested layup, but he laid it up a little too strong and the ball came off the back of the rim," Brody recalled, "and Tanner came flying in, caught the ball with one hand behind his head and threw it down right there. "I was beside myself." Tanner Andrews played shortstop much of his Vikings' baseball career, hitting .601 with six home runs and 24 stolen bases as a senior. He would have pitched more had someone been able to catch. With Brody often injured — he's had four ACL and two labrum surgeries during his career — Tanner would overpower the other options at the small school in the farming community in Fulton County in northern Indiana. In football, he was a first-team all-state as a defen- sive back and wide receiver, garnering interest — and scholarship offers — from Division I programs. He'd been to Purdue on several unofficial visits, falling in love with the idea of playing football for the Boilermak- ers. Turned out, though, that baseball was the final calling. A chance meeting with Nick Wittgren, a former Boilermaker who is now a reliever for the Miami Marlins, led Schreiber to take a look. And Tanner ended up signing to play baseball at Purdue rather than football, with the potential for fewer injuries — as irony would have it — helping to steer him toward the diamond. Now, Andrews is hoping for a big senior season, and it's off to a good start, with the starter 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in his first two Friday outings. "He's the leader of this team," catcher Nick Dalesandro said, "so we're going to go as he goes." Andrews had plenty of motivation during this offseason. In May, he started Purdue's Big Ten Tournament opener, but struggled mightily, failing to get an out while giving up four runs on three hits with two walks. Purdue lost to Nebraska, then was ousted from the tournament a game later. "There's no excuses for that," he said before the start of the season. "I've always prided myself in stepping up in the big moment. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time moments. That's what I've always thought in my athletic career, no matter what sport it was. My teammates and coaches have always been able to count on me for that, and that was my last live start (before the 2018 season)— I didn't play summer ball — so it's something I've carried with me. I'm definitely very excited to get back out there again. It's inexcusable. No excuses. There's no excuses." Well, perhaps not an excuse, but a reason: Andrews was hurt, having battled that hip flexor strain so long that his wonky mechanics finally failed at the most inopportune time. But he's worked during the offseason to try to pre- vent another nagging injury from distracting from his se- nior year. Andrews has added weight to get to a studier 220 pounds, which he thinks will help him maintain through a long season. The Boilermakers will need him, too. Andrews is typical of what is needed out of the top of the rotation, not only in having good stuff, but in being aggressive. "It's great to have a senior back, great to have a Friday guy, but to me it's more important to have a guy that shows up and acts like he's done it before and he's not giddy, he's not nervous," Holm said. "It will calm the nerves of those freshmen. A lot of new guys will be on that staff, but him coming out on Friday night and setting a tone on a weekly basis will help those guys have success." j "He always had that drive and that competitiveness, where he will not let himself get beat. I've watched that kid. He will run himself to death before he lets people beat him in anything." Brody Andrews, Tanner's older brother

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