Baseball Set For Eagle Invitational

    Go Hoosiers! Kipp Schutz and Indiana have a big weekend ahead of them at the Eagle Invitational.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Kipp Schutz and Indiana have a big weekend ahead of them at the Eagle Invitational.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 5, 2009

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    J.I. Clements Stadium • Statesboro, Ga.

    Friday, March 6, 2009 • 7 p.m. ET
    Indiana vs. Georgia Southern
    Game carried live on WHCC 105.1 FM
    IU - LHP Matt Bashore (0-1, 7.00) | GSU - RHP Chris Mederos (2-0, 1.42)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Saturday, March 7, 2009 • 6 p.m. ET
    Indiana vs. #20 East Carolina
    IU - RHP Eric Arnett (2-0, 1.38) | ECU - RHP Chris Heston (1-0, 3.65)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Sunday, March 8, 2009 • 11 a.m. ET
    Indiana vs. Le Moyne
    IU - LHP Blake Monar (1-0, 4.50) | LC - LHP Luke Nellis (0-1, 30.38)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Coming off back-to-back midweek losses, the Hoosiers head to the very competitive Eagle Invitational this weekend. IU is 3-4 on the season after the defeats to Indiana State and Eastern Michigan. Georgia Southern has improved to 8-1 after a dominant sweep of Coppin State and a 5-4 come-from-behind victory over Winthrop midweek. East Carolina is ranked 20th in the nation and brings a 6-1 record following Wednesday's 8-3 win over Old Dominion. LeMoyne is 2-3 after knocking off Longwood in the only game that was played of their scheduled three-game set.

    Indiana has only played two games all-time against the three opponents at the Invitational, but the Hoosiers have won both contests. IU defeated ECU 2-1 in 1959 in Greenville and took down Georgia Southern 5-1 at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic in Dothan, Ala., in 2007. The GSU victory was a memorable one, as the Hoosiers and Eagles decided to play their scheduled Sunday contest on Saturday night due to impending weather. The teams took the field just after 10 p.m. and played into Sunday, with Tyler Tufts dominating GSU with a six-hitter. Evan Crawford went 2-for-3 with two RBI in the victory.

    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.

    Georgia Southern is in its 11th season under the guidance of head coach Rodney Hennon. Hennon has accrued a 295-191 record in his first 10 seasons with the Eagles including three NCAA tournament berths and two Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles. Billy Godwin is in his fourth year as head coach at ECU after being promoted from assistant in 2005. Godwin has guided the Pirates to two NCAA tournament appearances and a 115-70 record in his first three seasons holding the reigns. Le Moyne is in its 10th year under the leadership of head coach Steve Owens. Owens, who joined the Dolphins in 2000, currently holds the 13th highest winning percentage among active NCAA Division I coaches with a 535-249-1 record (.682) after 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Prior to his career at Le Moyne, Owens was the head coach for Cortland State (NCAA D-III).

    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 13-for-27 (.555) since then with a .741 slugging percentage. The Poway, Calif., native leads the Hoosiers with two homers, eight RBI and a .625 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. He extended his streak of multi-hit games to five on Tuesday against Indiana State with a pair of singles, but went 1-for-5 against EMU to see that run snapped.

    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.

    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 did not allow a hit until the bottom of the third, when the Hoosiers had an 8-0 lead.

    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. In both of his starts, he has been particularly strong early on, allowing a total of one hit over the first four innings of both games.

    Arnett did not have a typical offseason, as he tried out for and made the basketball team, and impressed Tom Crean instantly to earn a roster spot. He served as a key post player during practice for the first 2 1/2 months of the season. Due to scholarship limitations, he could not play in a game per NCAA rules, but practiced with the team until early January.

    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 perfect ninth against Cleveland State.

    Catcher/outfielder Josh Lyon has shown off his impressive bat this season, going 3-for-4 against Eastern Michigan to improve to 4-for-8 with two doubles and two RBI on the season. Lyon has played primarily at catcher until this year, where he has appeared mostly in left field.

    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 six of seven games at shortstop for the Hoosiers, showing strong range at the position. 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. He added an RBI single against Eastern Michigan and played at shortstop for the first time in his career.

    Vince Gonzalez also made his IU debut against Cleveland State on Sunday and struck out as a pinch-hitter. Fellow frosh Matt Igel, Marshall Gorham and Brian Ritz made their debuts at Indiana State.

    After a stellar 2008 season, Josh Phegley entered 2009 with high expectations. He has put up strong numbers out of the gate, hitting .417 with a .559 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 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.

    He also had solo hits in IU's two midweek games, driving in a run against EMU. His six RBI on the season are second on the team behind freshman Alex Dickerson. For more on Josh Phegley and his standout 2008 season, turn to page 5 of these notes.




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