In an ideal Boilermaker world, Purdue would host its first-ever NCAA baseball regional in its new, state-of-the-college-art stadium, Alexander Field.
Instead, hosting will come at Gary's U.S. Steel Yard.
Why? Because Alexander Field, set to be completed for this season, ran into construction delays and Lambert Field, built in 1965, doesn't meet NCAA standards.
U.S. Steel Yard, the home of the Gary SouthShore Railcats, an independent pro team with the American Association, does meet those standards.
No matter. The Boilers (44-12) got the No. 1 regional seed and will open Friday night against fourth-seeded Valparaiso (35-23). Friday's other semifinals feature second-seeded Kentucky (43-16) against third-seeded Kent State (41-17).
The double-elimination tourney will run through Monday.
Purdue, which includes former Northrop standout Tyler Spillner in center field, earned the No. 1 seed and hosting opportunity by dominating Big Ten competition. It won the conference regular season title for the first time since 1909, then went 3-0 in last weekend's Big Ten tourney at Ohio State.
“I'm proud of the resiliency our guys have shown,” coach Doug Schreiber said. “Our guys keep believing. They're manufacturing whatever they have to do to win.”
Purdue is making just its second NCAA tourney appearance. It went 0-2 in 1987.
Tickets are available at the Railcats box office starting at noon Tuesday at 219-882-2255. Prices are $8 a game for adults, $4 for children and students with valid school IDs.
Hummel eyeing NBA draft
Former Purdue basketball All-America Rob Hummel is making a big push to position himself for next month's NBA draft.
Hummel has been invited to the league's pre-draft camp in Chicago that runs June 6-10. He's worked out for the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and is preparing for a group workout in Minneapolis that will feature scouts from most NBA teams.
Hummel has worked out in Indianapolis since the season ended. He's improved his strength and athleticism, and is showing no sign of the pair of knee injuries that cost him the end of his junior season, then forced him to miss the entire season the following year. He bounced back strong this past season, averaging 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds. Hummel is projected as a possible second-round choice.
Painter camps are coming
Purdue is hosting a series of basketball camps directed by men's coach Matt Painter, his assistant coaches and returning Boilermaker players.
A Day Camp for players in grades 1-9 runs June 4-7. The annual Father-Son Camp is set for June 16.
The are two player development camps, the first running June 10-13 and the second June 24-27.
Purdue coaches and players will simulate a regular Boilermaker practice and an individual workout. Agility and strength training also will be emphasized.