WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Nick Dalesandro reached base safely 14 times for the week and caught all 27 innings of the series sweep of Rutgers, earning Big Ten Player of the Week honors after Purdue baseball went 5-0.
Dalesandro recorded a pair of three-hit games during a 10-for-18 week, posting a .636 on-base percentage. He hit safely in all five wins and reached base safely in nine of his 13 plate appearances in the weekend sweep. He's the first catcher to be recognized as Big Ten Player of the Week this season.
Behind the plate, Dalesandro worked with a Purdue pitching staff that surrendered just eight runs in five games. The Boilermakers shut out Rutgers on both Friday and Sunday, registering a pair of shutout wins in a Big Ten series for the first time since May 1992. For their roles in that success, Tanner Andrews and Trent Johnson were also nominated for Big Ten Pitcher and Freshman of the Week honors.
Dalesandro is batting .387 during Purdue's current eight-game win streak, the program's longest since 2012. He has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games dating back to April 8, including nine straight in Big Ten play during that same stretch.
He scored the game's lone run in Sunday's 1-0 win. He used his speed to advance from first base to home plate after recording a one-hit single. But his instincts at third base on Skyler Hunter's comebacker were also key. Dalesandro broke for home after the pitcher threw to first base and was still able to beat the return throw home without a slide.
In Friday's win, Dalesandro picked off a runner at third base for the second out of the sixth inning. Purdue led 2-0 at the time and Rutgers had the tying run in scoring position at second. Andrews ended the frame with a ground ball to first base moments later.
Dalesandro caught 43 of the 45 innings last week, all but the final two frames of Tuesday's win vs. Chicago State. The Boilermakers have not trailed for 48 consecutive innings dating back to April 22. They held the lead for all but one frame vs. Rutgers -- the first inning Friday.
Even while making 32 of his 40 starts this season at catcher, Dalesandro leads Purdue with 14 stolen bases. He swiped four this past week and is the only catcher among the top 15 in the Big Ten in stolen bases, ranking seventh overall.
Dalesandro reached base safely four times in both of his three-hit games. He joins Jacson McGowan (Player of the Week, Feb. 19), Bo Hofstra (Freshman of the Week, Feb. 26) and Ross Learnard (Pitcher of the Week, April 23) as Boilermakers recognized by the conference office this season. Purdue has not had two position player honored as the league's Player of the Week in the same year since 2012 when four different Boilermakers were recognized.
Dalesandro is on the Johnny Bench Award watch list for the top NCAA Division I catcher for the second year in a row. The list of semifinalists will be unveiled in mid-May.
Purdue is idle this week for final exams on campus. The Boilermakers continue their nine-game homestand Friday when they open a three-game series against Northwestern. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. ET.