BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana will look to extend its 3-0 record this weekend when it travels to Asheville, N.C., to play a four-game series with the University of Akron. Temperatures are slated to be in the 60s in North Carolina on Saturday and Sunday, which enticed the Hoosiers and the Zips to play at Greenwood Field on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Asheville. The first of two games on both Saturday and Sunday are scheduled for a Noon start.
The Hoosiers picked up a trio of wins in Bradenton, Fla., last weekend. IU defeated the University of Findlay, 6-5, in its season opener. The Hoosiers followed with wins over Valparaiso, 12-2, and Boston College, 5-3. Indiana hit .269 as a team on the weekend and held its opponents to a .168 average. The IU pitching staff compiled a 1.86 ERA and gave up just six earned runs over three games. IU has eight stolen bases in 10 attempts as well.
Vasili Spanos, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Week, leads the Hoosiers with a .462 batting average, six RBI and four runs scored. On the mound, closer Ryan Smith is 1-0 and has one save to his credit after striking out seven of the 16 batters he faced last weekend.
Scouting the Opponent: University of Akron Akron will open its 2003 season against this weekend in Asheville, N.C., after having its first seven games fall victim to weather. The Zips will take on UNC-Asheville in a single game on Friday, March 7 at Greenwood Field before battling the Hoosiers Saturday and Sunday.
Akron finished at 18-33 overall and 8-19 in Mid-American Conference action in 2002. Seven position starters and three starting ptichers return from that team.
The Zips best hitter from a season ago senior Dan Swallie returns. Swallie hit .328 during his junior campaign. Junior Brady Steineck is back as well after posting a .323 average during his sophomore campaign. On the mound, sophomore Pat Watt worked 61.2 innings in 2002 and compiled a 6.57 ERA to go with a 2-3 record. Senior Frank Mendoza (56.2 inn., 7.78 ERA. 3-4) and junior Aaron Gangi (55.2 inn, 7.44 ERA, 4-8) are also back.
Head coach Tim Berenyi is in his third season at Akron and holds a 34-67 record at the school.
This weekends series will mark the first time in history Indiana and Akron have met on the baseball diamond.
The 700 Club
With three wins in Bradenton, Fla., last weekend, head coach Bob Morgan moved his win total to 700 at IU. Morgan is already the winningest coach in school history and sports a record of 700-414-4 in his 20 seasons as the Hoosier skipper.
In addition, Morgan needs just 12 more wins to bring his career win total to 1,000. Coming into the season, he ranked 12th on the active Division I Coaches List for Most Victories with 985.
Spanos Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Senior third baseman Vasili Spanos was named the Big Ten Baseball Player of the Week for the period of Feb. 24-March 3, the league office announced on Monday.
In Indianas three wins on opening weekend, Spanos registered a .462 batting average, scored four runs and logged six RBI to go with an impressive .846 slugging percentage. Of his six hits on the weekend, three were for extra bases, including his first home run of the season against Valpo. In Indiana's win over Findlay in the season opener, Spanos had the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 11th inning.
Minnesotas C.J. Woodrow picked up pitcher-of-the-week honors.
This seasons Hoosier team is hoping to pick up right where last seasons left off at the plate. In 2003, the Hoosiers finished with the 12th-best batting average in the nation at .330. That clip ranked second among Big Ten Conference teams and tied for the fourth-best in history by an Indiana team.
Raw Power? Spanos Cited as Big Tens Best
According to Baseball Americas season preview, Hoosier senior Vasili Spanos is the Big Ten Conferences Best Raw Power hitter. Spanos led the Hoosiers with a .385 batting average and ranked first among Big Ten players with 16 home runs during the 2002 season.
Spanos A Preseason All-American
Senior third baseman Vasili Spanos was named a preseason All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The Oak Park, Ill., product was a third-team selection and was one of only three players from the Big Ten Conference on the list. In addition to Spanos pitchers Tim Day of Michigan State and Scott Lewis of Ohio State, are on the third team. Spanos is one of a total of five third baseman named by the NCBWA.
Spanos was a third-team All-American according to the American Baseball Coaches Association last season.
Smiths Record-Setting Season
Senior pitcher Ryan Smith enjoyed a record-setting season in 2002 and is back as the Hoosiers closer this season. Smith set the Indiana record for saves in a season with nine. The Carmel, Ind., product made 26 appearances and totaled 32.1 innings. Smith finished with a 3.06 ERA and a 3-2 record
Hoosiers Lose Vitielliss, Kemp for the Year
The season hasnt started yet and the Indiana baseball teams has been bitten by the injury bug. Senior pitcher Nick Vitielliss must undergo Tommy John surgery on the elbow of his right throwing arm and will be forced to miss the 2003 season. Vitielliss, who was slated to be the Hoosiers No. 1 starter on the mound this season, plans to return for a fifth-year in 2004.
Vitielliss compiled an impressive 8-1 record and a 3.58 ERA in 73.0 innings of work as a junior. For his efforts, he earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. The Waldorf, Md., native was Indianas top returning pitcher coming into this season. Vitielliss also had shoulder surgery in the off season and is nearing a full recovery from it.
Vitielliss is the second Hoosier player that will miss this season due to Tommy John surgery. Junior infielder Joe Kemp will also sit out after having the surgery over the summer. Kemp will be back next season. In addition, incoming junior college transfer John Matlick was also lost for the season due to arm surgery. All three players were injured while playing over the summer.
Freshmen Make Debuts
Four freshmen saw their first collegiate action last Saturday in Indianas opening weekend. Chris Hynes saw action behind the plate in two games. Pitcher Josh Lewis made two appearances on the mound and Derek Hibbs pitched an inning of the Boston College victory. In addition, Troy Ragle saw three innings of action in the Hoosiers 12-2 win over Valpo.
Indiana is set to play its first home game of the season on Wednesday, March 12, when it hosts the Butler Bulldogs. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Sembower Field.
The Hoosiers will return to Bradenton, Fla, for their annual spring trip March 15-22. IU will play a total of eight games during its swing to the Sunshine State.