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For Tyler Spillner, the job can wait. NCAA tourney opportunity takes priority.
Spillner is a Purdue graduate with a degree in landscape design and a job offer lined up. He's also a senior center fielder for the Boilers' Big Ten-winning baseball team.
Something has to give and for now, it's the job.
So while Spillner is set to join the Brickman Group, a nationally renowned landscape and turf care business that has 160 branches in 29 states, including one in Indianapolis, his focus is on extending Purdue's record-breaking season.
“The job will start whenever baseball is over,” Spillner says. “I've talked to them about it that my starting day has to be flexible. They'll work with me. Hopefully I start later rather than sooner.”
Spillner's weekend plans put him in Gary for an NCAA Regional, with the hope it leads to a deeper postseason run.
The next round is the Super Regional June 8-10, with the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., set for June 15-26.
Purdue's regional winner will meet the winner of Oregon's Eugene Regional in the Super Regional round. Oregon (the No. 5 national seed) is the favorite at Eugene. Also in the field are Indiana State, Austin Peay and Cal State Fullerton.
Baseball will never be a livelihood for Spillner. He's had a solid four-year college career that followed an all-state high school run at Northrop, but he's no Jarrod Parker (former Norwell standout turned Oakland As pitcher). He's hitting a career-low .261 this season, but the Boilers' championship performance overshadows that.
They enter the regional field as the No. 1 seed with a 44-12 record that includes winning the Big Ten regular season title, plus the conference tourney.
Purdue will play fourth-seeded Valparaiso (35-23) on Friday night at U.S. Steel Yard. The other game matches second-seed Kentucky (43-16) against third-seeded Kent State (41-17). The double-elimination tourney will run through Monday.
The Boilers are making just their second NCAA tourney appearance. They went 0-2 in 1987.
The Boilers are hosting the event, but because their facilities don't meet NCAA standards (the under-construction Alexander Field will, but it won't be ready until next season), the tourney is being held at U.S. Steel yard, home of the Gary SouthShore Railcats, an independent pro team with the American Association.
Purdue is 63-18 all-time against Valparaiso with four straight wins in the series. The Crusaders made NCAA regional play by winning the Horizon League tourney title. It's their first NCAA tourney appearance since 1968.
Purdue will face Valparaiso without second baseman Eric Charles. The Big Ten suspended the Boilers' leading hitter (.368 average) for one game because of his flagrant slide into Indiana third baseman Michael Basil Saturday in the finals of the conference tourney. The slide resulted in a brawl. Big Ten umpires reviewed the film and reported their findings to the Big Ten office.
Freshman Brandon Krieg is expected to replace Charles against Valparaiso.
IU's Casey Smith is also suspended for a game. That penalty will be served in next season's opener.
Purdue senior receiver Antavian Edison's legal troubles are over. Purdue officials released a statement that Edison's felony charges for carrying a concealed weapon from his May 6 arrest in Florida have been dropped.
Police reports stated police found a gun and ammunition in the car Edison was driving. Edison's uncle, a convicted felon, also was in the car.
Edison filed a plea of not guilty.
“We are pleased to know that Antavian's name has been cleared of any wrongdoing,” Purdue football coach Danny Hope said in a university release. “Those of us who know Antavian always believed it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Edison is Purdue's leading returning receiver. He had 44 catches for 584 yards and three touchdowns last season. He added 124 rushing yards and two rushing TDs.