Hoosiers Open 2010 Campaign at No. 23 USD
Feb. 18, 2010
Indiana at No. 23 San Diego
Cunningham Stadium San Diego, Calif.
THE LAST TIME...
IU last traveled to the Golden State in 2008 for the Pepsi Johnny Quik Classic in Fresno, where the Hoosiers went 4-2 and took third place in the Classic. Indiana also played two games against host Fresno State on that trip, meaning that the Hoosiers are 4-4 in California in Tracy Smith's tenure.
CAL STATE BLOOMINGTON
CUPBOARD'S NOT BARE
IU's offensive attack will be led by Second Team All-Big Ten selections Alex Dickerson and Jerrud Sabourin. The 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Dickerson and his 14 home runs return to the IU lineup, though the former designated hitter is likely going to see the majority of his time in left field in 2010. Sabourin, a .362 career hitter, is looking to show he is one of the top pure hitters in the Big Ten this season. Tyler Rogers is the third returning regular, as the second baseman hit .314 with five homers a year ago.
IU also has several talented veterans expected to step into bigger roles this season. Among the players expected to move into starting roles are co-captains Brian Lambert and Michael Earley. Lambert started 22 games last year and played in 40, hitting a robust .345 and scoring 19 runs. Earley played in 30 games, hitting .276 with 11 RBI in a limited role. Another key player back for the Hoosiers is Ethan Wilson, who went down with an ankle injury in the fifth game of the 2009 season and posted just 10 at-bats.
Overall, IU's returners had a collective .326 batting average, .392 on-base percentage and a .488 slugging percentage in 1,010 at-bats in 2009. IU returns 44 percent of its home runs and 48 percent of its hits from a year ago.
DICKERSON MAKES A SPLASH IN DEBUT SEASON
Dickerson earned Preseason All-America honors from Ping!Baseball, clocking in as a third teamer. He was also recognized by the conference coaches in College Baseball Insider's annual poll. Dickerson was a unanimous choice as one of the biggest power threats in the conference in addition to being named one of the best pure hitters and one of the hitters you don't want to face.
Sabourin's path to the Hoosiers was a bit unconventional, as the San Diego native originally committed to Arizona as a pitcher, but was cut on the first day of fall practice. Hoosier skipper Tracy Smith saw the lefty in a workout and offered him a roster spot as a walk-on at the winter break before the 2008 season.
Sabourin did not start in his first game as a Hoosier, but came off the bench to go 2-for-2 against LSU in Baton Rouge. He started the next day and has started every game since then at first base, a total of 118 starts, the longest active streak of any Big Ten player. His .362 career average is just outside the top 10 in IU's all-time records.
According to Coach Smith, the only three spots in the field that are pretty well solidified are Brian Lambert in center field, Alex Dickerson in left and Jerrud Sabourin at first. The other six spots are still open for competition heading into the opening weekend of the year.
At catcher, it is a three-man race to fill Josh Phegley's shoes, with juniors Dylan Swift and Wes Wilson and sophomore Josh Lyon battling for the starting spot. Swift saw the most time of the three last year, hitting .240 in 23 games. Wilson went 4-for-12 in his time at the plate and did not allow a passed ball on the season while Lyon, who worked hard on his receiving behind the plate in the fall, knocked six doubles in his 11 base hits on the year.
Returning starter Tyler Rogers and Ethan Wilson, who started five games before an injury last year, are both in the mix to secure starting spots in the infield, but freshmen Michael Basil, Micah Johnson and Jerry Kleman are all fighting for the final starting spot and will push the returners for time as well. Basil and Kleman are both very strong defensively and Johnson is one of the team's top athletes.
Co-captain Michael Earley is likely to secure a spot at either designated hitter or in right field, but he is getting a strong push from juniors Sterling Mack and T.C. Knipp and freshman Justin Cureton, while Lyon is a likely DH should he not get the nod behind the dish.
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