OMAHA, Neb. (Purdue Sports) — All-Big Ten honors for four of Purdue baseball's upperclassmen headline the all-conference accolades bestowed upon the Boilermakers for their second-place finish in the league standings.
Tanner Andrews, Nick Dalesandro, Ross Learnard and Jacson McGowan were all named third team All-Big Ten. Ben Nisle and Trent Johnson represented Purdue on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Nisle was one of four unanimous selections. Andrews was also the Boilermakers' Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree.
The four all-conference honorees are more than Purdue had combined from 2013 to 2017.
Dalesandro and Learnard are the Boilermakers' first relief pitcher and catcher recognized as All-Big Ten performers since the 2012 Big Ten championship season. Dalesandro, Learnard and McGowan were all recognized among the top three at their positions in the league this year.
Meanwhile, the Boilermakers had a pair of newcomers on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team for the second year in a row. Nisle joined Big Ten Pitcher and Freshman of the Year Patrick Fredrickson (Minnesota) as well as Michigan's Jesse Franklin and Jordan Nwogu as the unanimous selections.
Andrews and Learnard capped their careers with All-Big Ten honors after being the leaders of the weekend rotation and bullpen. Andrews has pitched Purdue to an 11-5 record in Big Ten series openers the last two years, including a 6-2 mark this spring. Learnard has recorded 14 of his 19 saves in conference play the last two years, establishing a Purdue all-time record in Big Ten play. He's tops in the Big Ten with 15 saves this year, 10 coming vs. league rivals, to set a single-season team benchmark.
Andrews' 2.71 ERA is the lowest by a Purdue starting pitcher since Sherard Clinkscales (2.34) in 1992. He put together quality starts in wins vs. Penn State, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers and Michigan. The senior joined Stanford's Tristan Beck as the only pitchers nationally to shut out Michigan this year.
Learnard established a Purdue minimum 30-innings ERA record last season (0.58) and has an opportunity to eclipse the minimum 75-innings all-time benchmark this year. He enters the Big Ten Tournament with a career ERA of 1.26 in 78 1/3 innings. The lefty has been charged with runs in only five of his 54 career appearances as a Boilermaker, including just two this spring.
Dalesandro and McGowan are two of Purdue's top prospects and well-rounded hitters. Both have been named Big Ten Player of the Week this season after the Boilermakers swept series.
Dalesandro has thrown out a league-high 20 base stealers while starting 21 of Purdue's 23 Big Ten games behind the plate. He's also tops nationally among catchers with 22 steals, ranking among the top five in the league overall. He posted a 20-game reached base safely streak when Purdue's season took off in April and May. The three-year starter leads the team with 15 doubles and has also registered 60 hits and 30 walks.
McGowan leads the Big Ten with 47 walks, 10 more than any other player in the league and the most by a Boilermaker since 2009. His multi-homer heroics in the April 21 comeback win at Maryland led to opposing teams pitching around the big cleanup hitter regularly. McGowan's 12 home runs have matched the most by a Boilermaker in the BBCOR bat era (2011-present). He needs one more RBI to be the first Purdue player with consecutive 50-RBI seasons since Cameron Perkins in 2011 and 2012.
Nisle led the team with a .344 average and 18 RBI in Big Ten play. He also walked (6) more than he struck out (4) in league play as a freshman. The outfielder homered twice in the series opener with Minnesota, posting just the third multi-homer game by a Boilermaker at Alexander Field (2013-present). His six home runs overall are the most by a true freshman in the BBCOR bat era.
Johnson moved into the weekend rotation during the spring break trip and started five Big Ten series finales. He surrendered two hits or fewer in seven of his nine starts overall. Along with a 1.88 ERA, the right-hander has recorded 35 strikeouts vs. 21 hits allowed in 38 1/3 innings. Johnson's mark of 4.9 hits allowed per nine innings is in line to rank second in program history as the best ratio by a Boilermaker since 1969.
The Boilermakers open Big Ten Tournament play Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET vs. Ohio State at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Purdue is the No. 2 seed for the first time since 2008 and has won 18 of its last 20 games.