March 6, 2007
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SETTING THE SCENE
The Indiana baseball team plays a pair of mid-week games, as it travels to Indiana State on Tuesday, March 6, and hosts Butler on Wednesday, March 7. The Hoosiers are 3-3 on the season after finishing second at the AutoZone Classic with a 2-1 record.
LAST TIME OUT
The Indiana baseball team improved to 3-3 on the season with a 4-2 victory over Northern Iowa in its final game at the AutoZone Classic. Matt Bashore picked up the victory in his first career start, pitching 7 1/3 strong innings on the mound. The Hoosiers finished as runners-up to host Memphis at the round-robin event.
Bashore allowed five hits and three walks. He gave up two runs, one earned, and struck out four in his first collegiate start. Eric Arnett pitched the final 1 2/3, retiring five of the six batters he faced, two via strikeout.
The Hoosiers were led offensively by Kipp Schutz, who had three hits in four at bats and an RBI. Keith Haas and Evan Crawford each added a pair of hits apiece, while Josh Phegley reached base three times and scored twice. Crawford has registered a hit in all six games of his career, and is now hitting .520 with a team-leading seven runs.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Indiana holds a 42-32-2 all-time record against the Sycamores, including wins in each of the last four contests between the two teams. Last year, the Hoosiers topped the Sycamores 7-4 behind 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief from Joe Vicini.
The Hoosiers have an 82-28 record against Butler all-time, but the Bulldogs have taken the last two matchups between the squads, both by a single run. In 2006, Butler scored a 6-5 victory over the Hoosiers in Indianapolis, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to come away with the victory. Keith Haas went 3-for-3 in that game with two runs, an RBI and a stolen base, while Trevor McConnell scored a pair of bags as a pinch runner for the Hoosiers.
SCOUTING THE SYCAMORES
Indiana State enters Tuesday's contest with a 4-2 record on the season after taking two out of three games from South Dakota State on Sunday and Monday. The Sycamores won 6-2 then 3-1 before falling 3-2 in the series finale to the Jackrabbits. ISU began the season with a trip to Georgia State, and took the first two games with the Panthers, the first by a score of 18-6. ISU has three hitters hitting above the .400 mark, with Ryan Bond, Casey Martin and Chris Schmidt all swinging hot bats. Today's starter, Chad Dawson, pitched 5 2/3 innings in the series finale against GSU, allowing six hits and five walks but only two runs in a no-decision.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Butler enters this week's action with a 3-4 record, having lost its last four contests. The Bulldogs swept a season-opening series at Morehead State, but since then have lost three to Belmont and one to Evansville. Butler is hitting just .224 on the season, led by Jason Jamerson's .308 clip, while Jon Dages has a 3.46 ERA in his three starts this season. Butler has scored more than four runs just once this season - a 21-9 shellacking of Morehead State on Feb. 25.
FOUR NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT
Four Hoosiers were named to the AutoZone Classic All-Tournament team for their performances over the weekend. Senior Keith Haas and freshmen Evan Crawford, Josh Phegley and Kipp Schutz were all honored as Indiana (3-3) took second place at the event with a 2-1 record.
Haas hit the Hoosiers' only home run of the weekend, a three-run shot to deep left center in the ninth inning of IU's 16-7 win over Eastern Illinois. Haas hit .385 on the weekend, going 5-for-13 at the plate, and drove in five runs. He recorded a team-high 12 assists and added six putouts, taking part in all four of Indiana's double plays on the weekend.
Crawford extended his hitting streak to six games with eight hits in the three-game set. He recorded multiple hits in each game, including a 4-for-6 performance against Eastern Illinois on Friday, March 2. Crawford tied for the team lead with four runs on the weekend, drove in three runs and stole a base. He is hitting a team-leading .520 for the year.
Phegley hit .500 over the weekend, going 6-for-12 at the plate with three doubles. His four runs matched Crawford for the team lead, while he slugged .750 over the three games. Phegley also drew two walks and stole his first career base at the Classic.
Schutz went 6-for-11, including two doubles, on the weekend. He hit .545 for the three games and slugged a whopping .727 over the weekend. Schutz scored three runs on the weekend, including two in the Hoosiers' 16-7 win over Eastern Illinois. His double in the fourth inning against Northern Iowa scored Indiana's first run of the contest en route to a 4-2 victory.
Freshman Evan Crawford continued his hot hitting at the AutoZone Classic last weekend. The freshman went 8-for-15 in the three games to raise his average to .520 on the season. In comparison, IU's top hitter last year through the first six games was senior Jay Brant, who hit just .292 in the opening six contests. In addition, Crawford is atop the squad with seven runs, 15 total bases, a .600 slugging average and a .538 on-base percentage.
Senior Keith Haas is at a new position - shortstop - but his returns over the first six games have been reminiscent of his 2006 all-region selection's previous campaign. So far this season, Haas has hit .429 and has Indiana's only home run of the season. His eight RBIs also are tops on the team.
With Crawford's emergence as a solid leadoff hitter, Haas has hit in the three hole in each of the last four games. Haas led the team with a .353 average last season, spending most of his time in the leadoff spot. His 23 assists are tied for tops on the team with Crawford, and he has helped the IU defense turn nine double plays already this season.
FRESH AND HOT
Freshmen Josh Phegley and Kipp Schutz heated up in the second weekend of the year, as each player collected six hits at the AutoZone Classic in Memphis, Tenn. Though each hit the ball well the previous weekend, the two had just one hit collectively at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic.
Hitting fourth and fifth, respectively, the two freshmen knocked five of Indiana's seven doubles and went 12-for-23 on the weekend as a pair in Memphis.
Freshman Matt Bashore delivered a gem on the mound in IU's 4-2 victory over Northern Iowa, tossing 7 1/3 innings in his first collegiate start. Bashore allowed five hits and three walks in the contest while striking out four and allowing just one earned run. More impressively, Bashore got better as the game went on, allowing just two walks and a hit batsman over his final 3 1/3 innings of work. At one point, Bashore retired 12 Panthers in a row and pitched 1-2-3 innings in the 5th, 6th and 7th.
The Tipp City, Ohio, native was an all-area selection and earned honorable mention all-state in his senior season for Tippecanoe High School.
Freshman Eric Arnett pitched the final 1 2/3 against Northern Iowa, striking out two, to earn his first career save. Arnett came on with runners on first and second in the eighth inning, and promptly induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the UNI threat. Arnett then struck out two of the final three batters he faced, with an infield single sandwiched in between. The Pataskala, Ohio, native went 9-2 with a 1.52 ERA in his senior campaign.
WHAT A RELIEF
The Hoosier pitching staff had a solid weekend at the AutoZone Classic, but even more impressive was the relief pitching over the three-game set. The bullpen posted an aggregate 1.54 ERA, allowing just six hits and four walks over 11 2/3 innings of work. Additionally, relievers struck out more than a batter per inning, ringing up 15 opponents on the weekend. In Indiana's 16-7 win over Eastern Illinois, Jason Ferrell came out of the bullpen and pitched four solid innings to earn his first career win. In that contest, the bullpen allowed just three hits, and none after the fourth inning.
Three relievers - Joe Vicini, Jarrett Casey and Arnett - still hold a 0.00 ERA on the season through six games. The trio has combined to pitch 10 innings and allow just one hit while walking five. Additionally, the three have struck out nine opposing hitters this season.
SMITH A HOF FINALIST
Former Hoosier Mike Smith has been named to the official ballot for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. More than 300 candidates were originally nominated to be on the ballot, and Smith is one of just 26 players to make the cut on the final ballot.
The former shortstop hit .369 in his IU career, smashing 47 home runs and driving in 185 runs in his four years. In 1992, Smith posted one of the best seasons in NCAA history, hitting .490 with 27 home runs and 95 RBIs to lead the nation in all three categories. He remains the only player in college baseball lore to win the triple crown. Smith earned first team All-America laurels following his 1992 campaign.
When the Hoosiers exploded for 16 runs and 20 hits against Eastern Illinois, each marked the highest total in the Tracy Smith era for the Hoosiers. Indiana posted two innings - the third and the ninth - of six runs or more and batted around in each inning. In the top of the third, the first eight men reached base safely, six getting on by way of hits.
HE MEANS BUSINESS
Sophomore Andrew Means has had a solid start for the Hoosiers after making the transition from right field to center. Means has been brilliant defensively, and has also put together a .273 average with a double and a triple on the season. The speedster leads the team in steals as well, going 2-for-2 on the basepaths in Memphis.
The sophomore is also a wide receiver on the Indiana football team. In 2006, he made 20 catches for 263 yards and a touchdown for the Hoosiers. Last season, the two-sport athlete hit .301 with 16 stolen bases for the Hoosier baseball team.
Sophomore Tyler Tufts had a sparkling 2007 debut, pitching a complete-game six-hitter for the Hoosiers. Tufts allowed just one walk in the contest and struck out two for his third career complete game.
Perhaps the most impressive attribute about Tufts' start was his ability to induce ground balls from the Georgia Southern bats. Tufts recorded 16 ground-ball outs to just five on fly balls. That helped him get out of trouble in a few innings by allowing his defense to turn two with runners on.
HOOSIERS NAME 2007 CAPTAINS
Senior Ben Greenspan, juniors Doug Fleenor and Jon Fixler and sophomore Joe Vicini have been named captains for the 2007 season. Fleenor and Vicini were Indiana's two most reliable pitchers in the 2006 season, while Greenspan and Fixler each hit better than .300 a year ago. Fleenor is one of two returning All-Big Ten selections for the Hoosiers this season.
"The role of the captain is going to be a very important role for us this year," head coach Tracy Smith said. "Those guys are going to have to step up since we are so young. They need to provide that experience and that leadership and lead by example. I think everyday consistency and work ethic needs to be modeled. The young men that we have here are capable of doing that and need to continue to improve every day as we go on throughout the season. That is going to be a key for us as we approach Big Ten play."
MR. BASEBALL TO BLOOMINGTON
Tracy Smith's first recruiting class of 19 features six players from the Hoosier state, including Indiana's Mr. Baseball, Terre Haute's Josh Phegley.
"I think it was important for our program to go out and make a statement," Smith said. "They always say in recruiting that you have to control your state. Josh was important for us, because he was the one that said yes. He got the pipeline started. Once he said yes, the other guys fell in line. The fact that the honor was bestowed upon him, it kind of legitimized the message we were trying to deliver. I think it is an important message, that Indiana has arrived, we are going to keep the good players in the state of Indiana, and Josh is certainly one of those."
Phegley hit .592 with 13 home runs, 16 doubles and 50 RBIs a year ago for Terre Haute North, earning him all-conference and all-state honors. Additionally, the catcher was named the Indiana Defensive Player of the Year.
ARE YOU NEW HERE?
The 2007 Hoosiers will look quite different from their 2006 counterparts, largely due to the fact that 19 of the 34 players on the roster were not playing for IU the year before. Eighteen of the 19 players are freshmen for IU. So far, freshmen Evan Crawford, Kipp Schutz and Josh Phegley have started all three games for IU, while four of the eight players who have pitched this season are freshmen.