Baseball

    INDIANA TRAVELS TO SAN DIEGO

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    February 16, 2000

    INDIANA TRAVELS TO SAN DIEGO

    Game Data
    Indiana (2-0) will travel West as the Hoosiers take part in the second annual ARCO San Diego Collegiate Baseball Invitational at Tony Gwynn Stadium. San Diego State, in conjunction with the Greater San Diego Baseball Association, will host the event featuring three midwest schools, two from the local area, and one collegiate team from Mexico. In addition to the Hoosiers the field is comprised of San Diego State, the University of San Diego, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and CETYS Universidad from Mexico. By design, the Invitational does not crown a tournament champion. All ticket proceeds go to Children's Hospital in San Diego. The 1999 ARCO Invitational presented Children's Hospital with a check in the amount of $10,000.

    The Hoosiers will face San Diego State on Friday, February 18 at 6 p.m. local time (9 p.m. est), then battle Oklahoma State on Saturday at 2 p.m. local time (5 p.m. est) before facing Kansas State on Sunday at 10 a.m. local time (1 p.m. est).

    Competition
    San Diego State enters the weekend with a 6-5 record with wins over Hawaii-Halo, Oklahoma State and Tulane. Oklahoma State owns a mark of 3-3 with victories over San Diego State and Grambling State. Kansas State is 2-1 with victories against Oregon State and Washington State.

    Game Results
    Complete game results will be made available on the web at www.athletics.indiana.edu following the event. They can be viewed and printed out by choosing baseball from the main menu. Weekly updates and complete statistics can be obtained at www.athletics.indiana.edu all season long.

    Head Coach Bob Morgan
    Bob Morgan is in his 17th season at Indiana. He has posted a 612-338-3 record while with the Hoosiers and owns a career mark of 904-426-5. He currently ranks in the top ten nationally amongst active Division I coaches in career winning percentage and in the top 20 in career victories. Furthermore, Morgan has never suffered a losing season in this is 25th year as a collegiate head coach.

    Hoosiers Open Season With Victories
    Indiana added two games to its schedule as it battled IUPUI and IPFW to tune up prior to its trip to San Diego. The Hoosiers posted a 10-1 win over IUPUI on February 12 at Sembower Field and then defeated IPFW 7-6 on February 15.

    Against IUPUI Rob Stastny connected a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to break a 1-1 tie. Two batters later Eric Blakeley drilled his first of two homers to give the Hoosiers a 4-1 lead. Blakeley came back and hit a three-run shot in the eighth inning as the Hoosiers scored four runs in their final at bat. Blakeley finished the day with five RBI. Fred Graf posted the victory on the hill.
    Boxscore

    Against IPFW Jason Williams connected on a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth to drive in the winning run Indiana did not own a lead until Blakeley crossed home plate with the game-winner. Blakeley had reached base on a double, a double, that after an IPFW miscue in the outfield, scored Blake St. Clair with the tying run. Nick Vitielliss posted the victory on the hill.
    Boxscore

    Quick Season Preview
    The Hoosiers return four of their top five hitters, two front-line starters, and one of the nation's top relief pitchers. A total of 18 letterwinners are back for the 2000 season and a senior class of eight players, including four pitchers, will provide leadership for the Hoosiers.

    Indiana will need to find a way to replace the power provided by Doug Devore who left following his junior season, after being drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Hoosiers will also need to find starting pitchers to make up for the loss of Jason Torres and Chad Smith, two of the team's top strikeout men.

    A total of 15 true, or redshirt freshmen, will join the roster this season as Indiana will look to move back into the top four in the Big Ten after back-to-back fifth place finishes. The last two years the Hoosiers have had the opportunity to advance to the four-team Big Ten Tournament in the last weekend of the season, but fell just short.

    In Morgan's Words
    "We have always been an aggressive team on the base paths and I think that we will be even more aggressive this season. We have a lot of good athletes on this team and now it is our job to make them good baseball players."

    "Our pitching and defense will be two strengths of this team and I think that our hitting will develop throughout the season. We have a lot of solid players on paper and now they just need to prove themselves on the field."

    "We will not have as much power as we have had in the past. We will need some players to hit more for average this season. We are also going to need some young players to step up right away."

    "This team has an excellent work ethic and the players feel good about themselves and that they can be a solid ball club this year. We need to work hard during the non conference season to get ready for those Big Ten wars."

    Bottom of the Order Provides Offense
    Indiana's seven, eight and nine hitters went 5-9 with three home runs, six RBI and four runs scored against IUPUI. Against IPFW those three spots 4-11 with three RBI.

    On the Hill
    The Hoosiers are expected to start Zach McClellan, Brad Edwards and David Ferris in their three games in San Diego. McClellan (3.0 innings) and Ferris (3.2) have both seen work this season.

    Clause Brings Experience
    Senior Benji Clause leads all active Hoosiers with 125 games played. He enters the season coming off a career-high .308 season at the plate last year and has swiped a team-high 37 career bases.

    Edwards and Ferris Have Fine Control
    Sophomore hurler Brad Edwards enters the season with a 2.37 strikeout to walk ratio and averaging 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

    Junior pitcher David Ferris has walked just 44 batters in his 89.2 career innings of work, just one walk every two innings.

    Perfection at the Plate
    Rob Stastny is a perfect 4-4 on the season as he went 2-2 against both IUPUI and IPFW.

    Battling for a Starting Job
    Rich Berich got his first start at the DH position against IPFW and responded with a 3-5 afternoon, the first three-hit performance by a Hoosier this season.

    St. Clair Hoping for Same Start
    Last year junior Blake St. Clair got of the gates quickly as he collected hits in his first six at bats and went 8-for-10 with two home runs, 11 RBI and eight runs scored in his first three games. He was 1-3 against IUPUI and 0-2 against IPFW.

    McClellan Near Perfection
    Junior starting pitcher Zach McClellan has 10 wins in his 11 career decisions. Last year he posted a 7-1 mark, after a 3-0 record as a freshman.

    McNab Looking to Repeat Performance
    Sophomore outfielder Tim McNab led all Hoosier freshmen in hitting last season with a .358 average, good for third overall on the team. He went 1-4 against IUPUI and 0-4 against IPFW.

    Gold Glove Williams
    Senior outfield Jason Williams has not posted an error in his 107 career games as a Hoosier.

    St. Clair Perfect on the Paths
    Junior outfielder Blake St. Clair was a perfect 14-for-14 in stolen bases attempts last season and entering this year has been successful in his last 15 attempts.

    Haegele One of the Big Ten's Best
    Junior Dan Haegele earned third team All-Big Ten honors as he closed out last season with a team-high .370 batting average and a team best 25 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

    Graf May Make Transition
    Senior Fred Graf has 44 career pitching appearances and all but two have come in a relief role. This season Graf may be looked to as a starter for the Hoosiers. He got the start against IPFW but lasted just 1/3 of an inning.

    Otte Ranks in Top Ten in 1999
    Junior pitcher Nick Otte posted an 8-1 mark last year. His eight wins tied him for seventh on the Indiana single season charts. He owns a strikeout to walk ratio of 2.43 and is averaging just over one strikeout per inning pitched.

    Indiana Looking to Quick Start in 2000
    Last season the Hoosiers opened the season with seven straight wins, won 12 of their first 13 games and 17 of their first 19.

    Randle El Expected to Add to Hoosiers
    2000 Heisman Trophy hopeful Antwaan Randle El joins the Hoosiers in this his sophomore eligibility season. Morgan is expecting Randle El to add to an experienced Indiana outfield.

    "Antwaan is an excellent athlete. His addition has strengthened this team. He has excellent skills and defensively can really go get the baseball in the outfield. We will need to work some of the rust off of his swing as he has not played baseball in three years. He will be learning on the fly but I think that he will be a real asset for this team this season," Morgan said.

    Hoping the Trend Continues
    Indiana has continually seen its team ERA drop over the last two seasons. In 1998 the Hoosiers posted a team ERA of 6.16. Last year Indiana was tops in the Big Ten with an ERA of 4.86. The Hoosiers did not allow an earned run against IUPUI and enter the weekend with a team ERA of 2.00.

    Rich Bloodlines
    Freshman pitcher Carrington Fisk as the nephew of Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk.

    Starting Pitching Should Be an Asset
    Junior Zach McClellan and sophomore Brad Edwards give Indiana two of the top young guns in the Big Ten. That duo, combined with one of the conference's top closers, gives the Hoosiers a solid foundation on the mound.

    McClellan had a breakout season last year as he posted a 7-1 record, the eighth most wins in the Big Ten. He had 18 appearances and seven starts and enters the season with a career mark of 10-1. Last year he worked 48.1 innings and struck out 26 and started four games in Big Ten play.

    "McClellan has great velocity on his pitches. Last year he proved that he could pitch with anyone in the country and keep us in any game. He has the opportunity to put up some great numbers this season," Morgan said.

    Edwards had a solid freshman campaign last season as he fanned 69 batters, the most among any returning pitchers, in 55.2 innings. The left-hander made 11 starts last year, the most among returning Hoosiers, and posted a 4-2 record. Edwards averaged 11.16 strikeouts per game, the most among any hurler in the Big Ten and made six starts in conference play.

    "He should continue to improve, in this his sophomore season. He increased his fast ball by four-to-five miles per hour in the off season. Both he and McClellan give us two solid Big Ten pitchers," Morgan said.

    Last season the Indiana pitching staff was as solid as any in the conference. The Hoosiers led the league in overall ERA (4.86) and strikeouts (456) while the opposition hit a league-low .268 against them.

    The third spot in the rotation will be held down by junior David Ferris. Ferris has appeared in 28 games and made 11 starts in his career, with nine of them coming last season. He posted a 3-2 record and fanned 54 batters in 55.1 innings in 1999. His five Big Ten starts was second among returning pitchers.

    "Ferris is a solid number three starter and he gives us depth in the rotation," Morgan said.

    Depth is a key to the entire Indiana staff. Morgan will look to any one of four players to fill the final spot in the rotation. Senior Fred Graf and junior Nick Otte bring some experience to the table. Graf worked in eight Big Ten games last year and all 19 of his appearances on the season were in a relief role. He has started just once in 42 career games.

    Otte pitched in 17 games last year and made three starts. He led the staff with eight wins (8-1) and ranked sixth in the Big Ten. He owned a 4.26 ERA and fanned 43 batters while walking just 14 in 38 innings of work.

    Senior Tom Willerer or freshman Nick Vitielliss will also receive an opportunity to fill the final spot in the rotation. Willerer worked 18 innings in 14 games last season and owned a 4.00 ERA.

    One of the Nation's Top Closers
    Senior Chris Wilson anchors the bullpen after coming off an Indiana-record eight-save season last year. Wilson appeared in a team-high 24 games and posted a 4-2 record in 39.1 innings of work. He struck out 47 batters while walking just 16. Wilson can also play in the field at first base if need be, though Morgan is counting on him to close the door on the opposition.

    "Chris is a real leader. Having him sitting in the bullpen waiting is a real asset for us. His role is to come into the game when the game is on line and he relishes that role," Morgan said.

    Behind the Dish
    Catching will be one of the biggest questions as the Hoosiers enter the season. Brandt Childs who started 43 games last year graduated. Morgan will look to a junior, a sophomore and two freshmen who have a combined 11 career starts and 64 at bats.

    Junior Rob Stastny played in 26 games last year and made seven starts with 39 plate appearances. He is a solid athlete with some offensive punch in his bat.

    "He could be a real asset for us offensively. We need to work with him on his defense. If he can develop his throwing arm he could be a solid receiver for us," Morgan said.

    Sophomore Eric Farley played in 21 games last year and in his 16 at bats collected five hits. He, along with a pair of newcomers in Kyle Davis and Kevin O'Brien, give the Hoosiers defensive options behind the plate as all three possess strong arms.

    "We will need to solidify this position before the Big Ten season. Early on in the season I think that it will be catching by committee," Morgan said.

    Around the Bases
    First base will be similar to the catching situation as Morgan will look at a number of different players during the non conference season. A redshirt freshman and a pair of sophomores will each get a chance to earn the job.

    Sophomore Michael Woodside played in five games last season and had four at bats. His classmate Gibran Hamdan is in a similar situation as he appeared in six games a season ago and had seven plate appearances.

    Redshirt freshman Joe Sadler will also see time at first.

    "Sadler has some pop offensively, he needs to work on his defense while Hamdan brings a lot of defense to the table. Woodside provides help both offensively and defensively," Morgan said.

    Sophomore Mark Minor saw a lot of action at first base in his 46 games last season, but Morgan would like to see more of him at shortstop or third base this year.

    There are no question marks at second base. Senior Benji Clause played in 40 games last season and has 125 career games under his belt. He hit a career-high .308 last year, scored 41 runs and stole 15 bases. He has swiped 35 bases in his career. But, it is his improved defense that should be a key this season.

    "Benji has worked on, and improved his defense and throwing in the off season. He is a hard worker and brings his lunch pail to practice every day. He is one of those guys that needs to be more consistent at the plate. We are counting on him this season," Morgan said.

    Sophomore Eric Blakeley is one the Hoosiers' top athletes according to Morgan and should be one of the anchors defensively up the middle at shortstop. Kevin Mahar will be a contender for some relief at second base.

    "He has improved his throwing and he can run and has some pop in his bat. He will need to work on his consistency at the plate," Morgan said.

    Blakeley played in 23 games last season and collected a .314 batting average. He can also play second base, backing up Clause.

    Freshman John Bestler showed strong defensive skills in the fall and should give the Hoosiers depth at shortstop.

    Junior Dan Haegele will be given the first opportunity to win the third base job. The team's top hitter from a season ago spent much of the year as the Hoosier's designated hitter. He put up solid numbers in 1999 to earn All-Big Ten third team honors as he hit .370 while playing in, and starting all but one game. He collected 39 RBI with 10 doubles and three homeruns and led the team in runs scored with 59. He will be one of the key run manufacturers as he led the team with 29 stolen bases last year.

    "Dan is the toughest out in our lineup. He is this team's best overall hitter and one of the top players in the conference," Morgan said. "He had a solid season last year and we will look for the same from him this year."

    Minor can also fill the role of the team's third baseman. He hit .263 last season with three homeruns and 22 RBI. Freshman Vasilli Spanos had a solid fall season and according to Morgan, with continued improvement, should see some playing time this year. Sophomore Nick Evans, a good hitter, could also see time at third base or as a designated hitter.

    Experience & Excitement in the Outfield
    A threesome of veterans and a 2000 Heisman Trophy hopeful make up the Hoosier outfield, an outfield that is rich in defense and deep in experience. The trio of senior Jason Williams, junior Blake St. Clair and sophomore Tim McNab combined to play in 130 games, drive in 86 runs and hit 15 home runs last year. Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El joins the Hoosiers on the diamond this season after playing both football and basketball last year. Randle El was a draft pick of the Chicago Cubs out of high school.

    McNab will patrol center field for the Hoosiers. Last season he hit .358 in 35 games and hit four home runs and drove in 15.

    "Tim has a great arm and he covers a lot of ground," Morgan said.

    Williams, a former transfer from Indiana State, hit .335 last season and drove in 31 runs in 51 games. He has plated 67 runs in his two seasons with the Hoosiers.

    "Jason had an outstanding season last year in center field but we feel that he will better in left field," Morgan said. "We will look for him to continue to improve offensively and be a solid Division I hitter."

    St. Clair was fourth on the team with eight home runs and ranked second with 40 RBI. He hit .346 and was a perfect 14-of-14 in stolen bases.

    "Blake seems to be a better fit in right field. He has gotten bigger and stronger in the off season and is becoming more aggressive both offensively and defensively. He is really coming into his own and turning into an excellent player in the Big Ten," Morgan said.

    Morgan will also try to find playing time for senior Rich Berich, a player he feels is one of the Hoosier's stronger hitters. Along with Berich, classmate Kory Sietz, sophomore Vince Volpe, and freshman Carlton Bragg add depth to a strong outfield.

    Under Morgan's Guidance
    Not only has head coach Bob Morgan had success with wins and losses, but he has also seen 23 former players or assistant coaches move on from Indiana to coach at other collegiate and high school baseball programs.

    Back to the top



     

     


       

      Check back soon
      Indiana Sports Properties