BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In 2002, the Indiana baseball team exceeded expectations as it finished with a 35-20 record, ranked as the nations No. 12 hitting team and posted a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten to earn a spot in the Conference Tournament for the first time since claiming the championship in 1996. The plan in 2003? To build on it.
The Hoosiers have a solid nucleus back as they return four full-time starters in the field and six members of the pitching staff. But the major key, as 20th-year head coach Bob Morgan sees it, is leadership. Leadership that should come in the form of eight seniors.
Last season, we had a great team and great senior leadership. I think if we have the type of leadership we had last year, we are capable of getting back to the playoffs and winning a Big Ten Championship, Morgan said. Hopefully our seniors will carry that sword of great leadership and make sure the chemistry is right.
BEHIND THE PLATE
At catcher, junior Cody Wargo returns for the Hoosiers. Wargo, who played in 39 games and made 26 starts last season, is joined by a trio of newcomers in sophomore transfer Kurt Weigle and freshmen Chris Hynes and Bobby Segal.
Wargo, with his experience is likely the starter.
Hes a very good receiver, Morgan said. Hes very good defensively and blocks the ball well. Well look for good leadership from him.
Weigle, who comes to Indiana after playing in 23 games as a freshman at Miami-Ohio, will also have a chance to catch for the Hoosiers.
Kurt had a good fall and hes just going to get better, Morgan said.
Hynes has great arm strength and is continuing to develop. He should be a factor as well.
Segal will be the Hoosiers primary bull pen catcher.
IN THE OUTFIELD Indianas outfield will be deeper in 2003 than it has been in the years past.
Junior Mark Calkins is back as the Hoosiers most experienced outfielder. Calkins is a two-year starter in left field and hit .357 in 2002.
Hes a competitor and he plays will lots of energy, Morgan said of Calkins. Hes the emotional leader our team looks to.
The Hoosiers will have a new centerfielder and a big void to fill after Big Ten Tri-Player of the Year Kennard Jones was taken in the third round of the Major League Baseball draft and signed with the San Diego Padres organization. Senior Chad Coder, a transfer from Clemson, is the frontrunner.
Chad runs well and has some pop in his bat. He has a lot of good tools.
Coder will certainly be pushed by redshirt freshman Reggie Watson.
Reggie is an exciting player to watch. He has improved both offensively and defensively and will be a factor in the outfield, Morgan said.
Fifth-year senior Brad DeStefano could also possibly vie for a starting spot in the outfield.
Brad has shown marked improvement both offensively and defensively, Morgan said.
In right field, IU has a host of options.
Both Donley and Mahar could see time there, as well as senior Kenny Marrs. Marrs had 28 starting assignments in 2002. He put up solid numbers, hitting .324 and scoring 25 runs.
Marrs is a very spirited and intense competitor, Morgan said. He had a good junior year and will vie for a starting position. His playing time will depend on his offensive production.
With consistency, sophomore Brian Bucciarelli should also see time. He can play both left and right field.
"Brian has tremendous power and a very good arm.