Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

May 12, 2012

Quinnette soaks in Purdue’s title

Baseball team clinches a share of first Big Ten crown since 1909

(Continued)

WEST LAFAYETTE —

“I didn’t throw too well, honestly, but honestly I can’t thank everybody enough for the opportunity I have been given here,” Quinnette said. “This was a clinching game, but we have a lot left to accomplish this season.”

Purdue has a final game against Michigan today before hosting Indiana State on Tuesday in a matchup of two Indiana teams that may make the NCAA tournament. Tuesday’s game will be the final one at Lambert Field, the home of Boiler baseball for 47 seasons. The Boilers then play at Iowa for three games next weekend before going to Columbus, Ohio, for the Big Ten tournament.

Purdue is ranked in the top 15 of most college baseball polls and its critical RPI is a strong No. 9, which is virtually unheard of for a northern team in a sport dominated by southern teams. Purdue hasn’t fattened up on an easy schedule, either. The Boilers have just 16 home games this season, but impressive wins at East Carolina, Auburn, Wichita State (twice) and Missouri State have seen the Boilers gain respect nationally. Purdue also took one game of three at No. 3 UCLA last week, showing it can play with the best in the nation.

Purdue has fielded baseball teams since 1888, but there is little doubt that this is the best season in school history. Friday’s 4-0 win over Michigan established a new single-season record for victories with 38, and the Boilermakers are a lock to reach their first NCAA Tournament since 1987, and just second in program history.

Purdue’s record and RPI ranking put it in the mix to possibly host one of the 16 NCAA regionals. Sixteen of the 64 teams that make the NCAA Tournament are designated as hosts for four-team, double-elimination regionals. Purdue’s current facility, Lambert Field, lacks lights and other amenities needed to host and is replacement, the $17 million Alexander Field, saw unfortunate construction delays that prevented it from hosting a potential regional.

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