Hoosiers Set To Take on Sycamores, Eagles

    Go Hoosiers! Drew Leininger is scheduled to make his first career start on Tuesday at Indiana State.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Drew Leininger is scheduled to make his first career start on Tuesday at Indiana State.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 3, 2009

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    Tuesday, March 3, 2009 • 3 p.m. ET
    Sycamore Field • Terre Haute, Ind. | Indiana at Indiana State
    IU - LHP Drew Leininger (0-0, 0.00) | ISU - RHP Cordell Greene (0-0, 5.79)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009 • 3 p.m. ET
    Sembower Field • Bloomington, Ind. | Eastern Michigan at Indiana
    IU - LHP Kyle Leiendecker (0-0, 27.00) | EMU - TBA
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Indiana split at the APSU Invitational, falling on a walk-off home run against Ball State but topping Cleveland State 9-1. Starting pitching was stellar for the Hoosiers, as Matt Bashore and Eric Arnett combined to allow just 10 hits and one earned run over 13 innings of work. The duo also combined for 15 strikeouts at the Invitational. The Hoosiers are now 3-2 on the season, going 0-2 on Fridays but 3-0 on all other days. Indiana State enters Tuesday with an 8-1 record after going 4-0 at the Palm Beach Classic. EMU is 2-6 on the year after losing a pair at Georgia State over the weekend. EMU has lost four in a row, including a pair of defeats at the hand of SEC power Florida.

    Indiana is 43-34 all-time against the Sycamores, including a 7-2 victory last year at Sembower Field. The victory served as a springboard for IU, as the team went 16-8 down the stretch to ensure its first winning season since 2003. In the win, Josh Phegley went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer and Eric Arnett threw six strong innings for the victory. Michael Earley also went deep for Indiana in the win. The Hoosiers are 3-1 all time against Eastern Michigan, with all four contests coming in the 1970s. IU won the first three before falling 10-1 on March 28, 1975. Hoosier skipper Tracy Smith has an 8-7 career record against EMU, having spent much of his tenure as a head coach in the Mid-American Conference.

    Indiana is in its fourth year under the direction of Tracy Smith. In his time at the helm of the Hoosiers, IU is 75-101. In 11 years as a head coach, Smith has a career record of 392-321-1 (.550). The 2008 season was a significant upward turn for the Hoosiers, as Indiana made its first Big Ten Tournament appearance since 2004 by rallying for a sixth-place finish in the regular season. IU then eliminated Ohio State, Illinois and Penn State at the conference tournament before falling in the semifinals to Purdue. With a 31-30 record on the season, IU had its finest season in Smith's tenure.

    Indiana State is in year three under Lindsay Meggs, who brings a 52-59 record at the helm of the program. Meggs has nearly 600 wins in his career, as he led Division II Chico State to a pair of national championships and over 500 wins in his 13 years. Jay Alexander is in his first year at EMU after taking the reigns from current Michigan State skipper Jake Boss, Jr. Alexander coached D-II Wayne State to a 161-148 record over his six years at the helm, helping the team to an appearance in the Division II National Championship game.

    While Josh Phegley is undoubtedly the most feared hitter in the Indiana lineup, opposing teams are starting to see the potential possessed by the man behind him, Alex Dickerson. The freshman went 5-for-9 on the weekend at APSU and mashed his second career homer against Cleveland State.

    After struggling in the season opener (0-for-5 with three Ks), Dickerson has rallied to go 10-for-18 (.555) since then with a .944 slugging percentage. The Poway, Calif., native leads the Hoosiers with two homers, eight RBI and a .739 slugging average overall.

    In the weekend finale of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, the burly lefthander busted out with three hits, including his first career home run, and four RBI to lead IU to a 9-7 win. With the Hoosiers up 3-0 in the fifth and Phegley on second, Dickerson crushed a 2-0 offering the other way, sending it over the wall in left center to push Indiana's lead to five runs.

    In his second weekend as a collegiate athlete, Dickerson had a pair of multi-hit games, going 2-for-4 against Ball State and 3-for-5 against Cleveland State. As impressive as his weekend was, it could have been even better, as he twice left the bases loaded against the Cardinals, including a smash to the warning track in center that was tracked down by the BSU centerfielder.

    The Poway, Calif., native was named all-California his senior season and was drafted in the 48th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals.

    After a stellar 2008 season, Josh Phegley entered 2009 with high expectations. He has put up strong numbers out of the gate, hitting .471 with a .600 on-base percentage. But even more impressive is the fact that he has put up those numbers without really hitting a ball hard yet this season.

    In his first at-bat of 2009, Phegley came up with runners at the corners and nobody out against West Virginia, and promptly dumped an RBI single into right field for his first hit of the season. He followed that up with three more singles to go 4-for-5 in the season opener for his seventh career game with four hits or more. His lone out of the game was a towering flyball to right that the Mountaineers caught at the warning track just shy of a three-run homer.

    He added a sac fly against Georgetown in his first at bat, but did not record a hit against the Hoyas. In the series finale against USF, he came through with a key RBI double to right center in IU's five-run fifth and also added a single in Indiana's 9-7 victory.

    He went 2-for-6 at the APSU Invitational and set a new career high by walking four times against Ball State. He had an RBI single and an RBI groundout in the weekend finale and added a first-inning single in the win over Cleveland State. His five RBI on the season are second on the team behind freshman Alex Dickerson.

    Though Alex Dickerson was the standout, a number of new Hoosiers have performed well early on in their IU careers.

    Blake Monar made his first career start against USF on Feb. 22 and showed why he was named a High School All-American at South Spencer High School. Monar went five innings, striking out six and allowing just six hits to one of the more potent lineups in the BIG EAST conference. He also turned in a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth against Cleveland State to seal a 9-1 victory for the Hoosiers.

    One big question about IU's team entering 2009 was the depth of the bullpen. A pair of freshmen stepped up for the Hoosiers in the opening weekend and showed that inexperience does not equal a lack of talent. Wyatt Hoff came in against West Virginia and shut down the Mountaineer offense for three innings before giving up a pair of runs in his fourth and final inning. Against Georgetown, southpaw Drew Leininger came on in the ninth and set the Hoyas down 1-2-3 to end the ballgame.

    Junior college transfer Jake Dunning has started four of five games at shortstop for the Hoosiers, showing strong range at the position. He also collected a pair of hits and three RBI at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge. Dunning plied his trade on the mound as well, coming in during the eighth inning against USF and shutting the Bulls down for the final 1 1/3 for his first save in an IU uniform. He added a scoreless inning on Sunday against Cleveland State as well.

    Cody Webber has proved strong both at the plate and in the field in his early time for Indiana. Webber had a pinch-hit RBI single against Georgetown and against Cleveland State the Fountain Valley, Calif., native had two hits and scored a run. In four games, he has four putouts and six assists without an error and started a key double play against USF.

    Freshman catcher Josh Lyon made his debut at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, going 1-for-2 with an RBI double and a hit by pitch in his first two plate appearances. Fellow frosh Vince Gonzalez made his IU debut against Cleveland State on Sunday and struck out as a pinch-hitter.

    Junior Eric Arnett has always possessed the potential to be one of the top arms in the conference and the nation, but his first two years produced somewhat disappointing results on the mound. So far in 2009, the Pataskala, Ohio, native has shown flashes of brilliance, and those flashes have been both bright and long-lasting.

    In his season debut against Georgetown, Arnett allowed just four hits and two walks, striking out a career-high eight in a 12-4 victory. He followed that by one-upping himself in Sunday's start against Cleveland State. In his seven innings, Arnett again topped his career high with nine Ks. This time, he allowed just three hits - two of them infield singles - and walked two in allowing only an unearned run in the win against the Vikings.

    Through his two starts this season, Arnett is leading the conference with 17 strikeouts in just 13 innings of work. His 1.38 ERA and .159 batting average against are both among the conference leaders as well.

    Arnett did not have a typical offseason, as he tried out for and made the basketball team, and impressed Tom Crean as a key post player during practice. Due to scholarship limitations, he could not play in a game, but practiced with the team until early January.




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