TUCSON, Ariz. (Purdue Sports) — Ben Nisle led Purdue baseball with a .344 batting average and 18 RBI in Big Ten play, earning the outfielder Freshman All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball.
Nisle joins Bryce Bonner (2017) as active Boilermakers to be selected as a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball. The longstanding baseball newspaper also named closer Ross Learnard a third team All-American this year.
Nisle also represented Purdue on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and All-Tournament Team at the NCAA Regional in Chapel Hill this year. He was one of our unanimous selections for the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
For the season, Nisle batted .304 with 12 doubles, seven home runs, 43 RBI and 28 runs scored. He ranked second or third on the team in home runs, RBI, batting average and doubles. His .344 average in Big Ten play was the best by a Boilermaker since 2015 and the top mark by a freshman since 2009. His 18 RBI on conference weekends were the most by a Purdue freshman since 2013.
Nisle was among the Boilermakers' most consistent performers over the final seven weekends of the season, batting .348 with 10 extra-base hits, 23 RBI and more walks (11) than strikeouts (10). Purdue compiled a 22-5 record during that stretch to finish second in the Big Ten standings and qualify for an NCAA Regional. Nisle (6 vs. 4) and his classmate Tyler Powers (9 vs. 7) were the only Boilermakers with more walks than strikeouts in Big Ten play this season.
After opening the year as the first Purdue freshman to homer in a season opener since 2010, Nisle went on to hit the most home runs (7) by a freshman in the BBCOR bat era (2011-present). He posted just the third multi-homer game by a Purdue player at Alexander Field in the April 13 series opener vs. Minnesota. In the season finale vs. Houston at the NCAA Regional, Jacson McGowan and Nisle teamed up to hit the first back-to-back home runs by Boilermakers since April 2010. Nisle reached base safely 10 times in 14 plate appearances at the Chapel Hill Regional.
Nisle's 43 RBI this season were the most by a Purdue freshman since Kevin Plawecki led the team with 53 in 2010. Plawecki was named a Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association that year. The NCBWA's 2018 Freshman All-America Teams are expected to be released next week.
In Purdue's 20 games vs. NCAA Regional qualifiers, Nisle batted a team-best .422 with 11 extra-base hits and 19 RBI. He posted a 16-game reached base safely streak during the Boilermakers' late-season surge that included a 10-game hit streak. The Schererville, Indiana, native also had an RBI in five consecutive games during his May hit streak.
Thanks in part to a team-high six sacrifice flies, with a runner on third base and two outs, Nisle drove in that run in 16 of 23 opportunities (70 percent). But he was also good with two outs, batting .308 with 13 RBI.
Nisle is slated to play for the Palm Springs Power of the Southern California Collegiate League this summer.