WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Purdue Sports) — Alumnus and big leaguer Kevin Plawecki will serve as the guest speaker and longtime head coach Dave Alexander will be honored at Purdue baseball's inaugural First Pitch Dinner on Saturday, Jan. 19, which is open to the public.
The event is slated for 5 to 7:30 p.m. ET at Holloway Gymnasium. The Saturday evening event will feature a cocktail/social hour followed by the dinner and program. The cost to attend is $35 per person. There is also an option of sponsoring a student-athlete's dinner. The cost is also $35 to sponsor a student-athlete. Tickets and sponsorships can be purchased HERE.
The Boilermakers open official preseason practice Jan. 25, three weeks before the national opening day of the 2019 season Feb. 15. Purdue is looking to build on a successful 2018 campaign in which the program won 38 games, finished second in the Big Ten and earned the No. 2 seed at an NCAA Regional in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The upcoming season is set to be year No. 3 under head coach Mark Wasikowski.
At the First Pitch Dinner, Alexander will be honored with a commemorative No. 24 jersey, his number as the head coach of the Boilermakers from 1978 to 1991. In addition, the No. 24 will be emblazoned on the outfield wall at Alexander Field. To pay homage to Coach Alexander, Wasikowski has not issued No. 24 since becoming head coach.
After leading the Boilermakers to a then program-record 407 victories in his 14 seasons as head coach, Alexander also served as an administrator for Purdue Athletics until 1994. Alexander Field, the home of the Boilermakers since the fall of 2012, was named in honor of his parents, Purdue alumni John and Anna Margaret Ross Alexander. Dave provided the lead gift for the project.
As the 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year, Plawecki helped lead the Boilermakers to a program-record 45 wins, a pair of Big Ten titles and an NCAA Regional appearance. He was selected 35th overall in the 2012 MLB Draft and made his big league debut with the New York Mets in April 2015. He was on the playoff roster as the Mets won the National League pennant his rookie year and has played for the franchise each of the last four seasons.
It was the 2012 team that broke the single-season wins record established by Alexander's 1986 team, which won 37 games and set the stage for the program's first-ever NCAA Regional appearance the following season. Alexander's Purdue teams won 30-plus games seven times from 1981 to 1991 after the program had never enjoyed a 30-win campaign prior to the 1980s.
At the Jan. 19 dinner, another commemorative jersey will be presented to a longtime supporter of the program as a community service award.
The Boilermakers have earmarked Sunday, Feb. 10, for its preseason fan fest inside the Mollenkopf Athletic Center. The popular free event features skill stations and other indoor activities for children as well as autograph opportunities.
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