Baseball

    Butler Comes to Bloomington

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Fresh off a championship and 3-1 record at the Gent Classic in Shreveport, La., the Indiana baseball team hosts Butler at 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, at Sembower Field. The Hoosiers enter the contest with a 6-2 record after their game against Xavier was canceled on Tuesday, while the Bulldogs come into the game 1-4 following its 4-3 victory over Xavier on Wednesday, March 9, in Indianapolis.

    IU owns an 83-26 advantage in the all-time series against Butler. The Cream and Crimson has won the last two contests between the teams, including a 4-0 victory at Butler on March 3 of last season.

    The game was originally scheduled for March 2, but it was postponed due to inclement weather. The Bulldogs have only played five games in 2005, suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of Evansville and losing to South Dakota State this past weekend in Evansville, Ind., before cutting down Xavier.

    Follow the game live by clicking here. Additionally, the game will be broadcast on WIUS AM 1570. Click here to listen to the broadcast.

    Last year, Butler came within one game of putting together three consecutive 30-win seasons for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs closed out 2004 with a 29-30 record, including a 13-11 mark in the Horizon League. Butler head coach Steve Farley has 22 letterwinners returning from last year's squad, which finished second in the Horizon League race. Included among the group of returnees are five returning position starters and two returning starting pitchers.

    Following Thursday's game, the Hoosiers head to Bradenton, Fla., for their spring break trip. Indiana opens play on the seven-game swing against Bowling Green on Saturday, March 12. First pitch is set for 10 a.m.

    Gent Classic Champions
    The Hoosiers improved to 6-2 following a 3-1 record at the Gent Classic in Shreveport, La. IU earned the championship at the Classic following its 16-0 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock on Sunday, March 6. Five Hoosier pitchers combined for the shutout with freshman Brad Davidson earning the victory after throwing five innings of two-hit ball. The win was the first of Davidson's collegiate career in his first start.

    In the tournament opener on Friday, March 6, the Cream and Crimson pounded UALR, 9-4. Junior Josh Lewis scattered eight hits in six innings, allowing only one run, to lead the team to victory. Senior Corby Heckman went 4-for-5 with one RBI, one run and two stolen bases, while senior Joe Kemp was 2-for-4 with two RBI, one run, one steal and one triple.

    Indiana went on to defeat Centenary with two runs in the top of the ninth in the second game on Friday. Freshman Tyler Cox laced a single to left center to score Heckman and tie the game at 3-3, and Kemp hit a ground ball to shortstop David Kiefer, who dropped it, allowing sophomore Josh Richardson to cross with the game-winning run. Senior Steve Nielsen came in and pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up his second career save, and freshman Chris McCombs pitched three innings of scoreless relief to claim his first career win. The Louisville, Ky., native gave up one hit with two strikeouts and no walks.

    IU's lone loss at the event came to Centenary the next night. The Gents dropped the Hoosiers 11-3, but it was not enough to keep Indiana from claiming the championship.
    Heckman concluded the weekend hitting .692 with nine hits in 13 at-bats. He also added three RBI and three stolen bases. Jay Brant turned in a huge performance at the Classic, batting .412 (7-for-17). The junior belted his first two home runs of the season to go along with six RBI, six runs scored and three stolen bases. In addition, junior Ryan Parker hit .412 with one home run, five RBI and three doubles.

    Sizing Up The Competition
    IU holds a 15-1 lead in the series against Xavier. The last time the two teams met, the Cream and Crimson earned a 10-9 victory in Cincinnati (March 5, 2002). Indiana won the last meeting between the two teams at Sembower Field by an 11-2 score on March 11, 1997. IU is 7-0 against the Musketeers in Bloomington.

    After facing Xavier, the Hoosiers will attempt to take on Butler this Thursday, March 10. The game was originally scheduled for March 2, but it was postponed due to inclement weather. The Bulldogs have only played four games in 2005, suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of Evansville and losing to South Dakota State this past weekend in Evansville, Ind.

    Last year, Butler came within one game of putting together three consecutive 30-win seasons for the first time in school history. The Bulldogs closed out 2004 with a 29-30 record, including a 13-11 mark in the Horizon League. Butler head coach Steve Farley has 22 letterwinners returning from last year's squad, which finished second in the Horizon League race. Included among the group of returnees are five returning position starters and two returning starting pitchers.

    The Hoosiers own an 83-26 advantage in the all-time series against Butler. Indiana has won the last two contests between the teams, including a 4-0 victory at Butler on March 3 of last season.

    Breaking Into The Win Column
    A pair of freshman earned their first career victories at the Gent Classic. Freshman Chris McCombs fired three scoreless innings, giving up one hit with two punchouts against Centenary (3/4) as the Hoosiers rallied for a 4-3 win.

    Davidson joined McCombs after throwing five scoreless innings in IU's 16-0 win over Arkansas-Little Rock (3/6). The Novelty, Ohio, native held the Trojans to two hits in addition to striking out six batters.

    On the season, the duo has given the pitching staff a huge lift. McCombs enters this week with a 1.59 ERA in 5 2/3 innings, and Davidson holds a 2.57 ERA in seven innings of work.

    Running Wild
    One of the reasons the Hoosiers are off to a 6-2 start is their aggressiveness on the basepaths. Indiana has attempted 24 stolen bases this season, an average of three per game, and has been successful 16 times, an average of two per game. Seven different Hoosier players have swiped at least one base with senior Joe Kemp and junior Jay Brant leading the team with four stolen bases apiece.

    Pitching In Control
    Along with its aggressiveness on the bases, the Hoosier pitching staff has provided a boost during the team's quick start. Six different pitchers have tallied victories, and the staff holds a 3.72 ERA. In 75 innings, IU pitchers have struck out 63 batters and walked 41 while holding the opposition to 67 hits and 31 earned runs.

    Redhot At The Plate
    With a .315 batting average, the Cream and Crimson is off to a redhot start at the plate. Seven batters are above the .300 mark led by junior Ryan Parker, who is hitting at a .441 clip. Additionally, the team has pounded out 15 doubles, six triples and outscored its opponents 56-36 on the season.

    Kemp Honored By Big Ten
    Senior Joe Kemp was selected the Big Ten Conference Player of the Week for the period ending Feb. 27, the league office announced on March 1. The honor is the second of Kemp's career. He received the accolade last season.

    Kemp led Indiana to a 3-1 record opening the 2005 campaign. He closed out the four-game stretch batting .353 (6-for-17) with two home runs, seven RBI and five runs scored. Additionally, Kemp returned to the mound for the first time since the 2002 season and tossed a scoreless inning of relief in the Hoosiers' season-opening victory over DePauw on Feb. 22, and earned the win against Memphis on Feb. 26.

    All-Tournament Team
    After posting a 2-1 record at the Service Academy Classic, senior Joe Kemp and junior Zach Boswell were selected to the all-tournament team. Kemp concluded the event 5-for-13 with two home runs, six RBI and four runs scored. In addition, the lefty picked up his first victory on the mound since the 2002 season, earning the win in Indiana's extra-inning triumph over Memphis.

    Boswell crushed his first two home runs in a Hoosier uniform to go along with a pair of doubles and four runs scored. He ended the weekend 5-for-14 for a .357 average.

    Providing Relief
    Right-hander Steve Nielsen continued to dominate coming in from the bullpen at the Gent Classic. The senior nailed down the Hoosiers' 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Centenary on March 4. Nielsen threw a perfect inning to claim his second career save. Pitching in six innings this year, Nielsen has not allowed a run or a hit and has struck out seven while walking only one. Nielsen earned the victory in IU's win over Indiana State on Feb. 25, tossing 1 2/3 innings with three strikeouts.

    Additionally, Clint Crosier has recorded a 1.29 ERA in seven innings. The sophomore pitched four hitless frames against Centenary on March 6, surrendering one run, and he earned his first career save against Memphis on Feb. 26.

    Close Encounters
    After three of Indiana's game were decided by one run, with two of them decided in extra innings, at the Service Academy Classic, the Hoosiers played another one-run contest at the Gent Classic. IU rallied with two runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat Centenary, 4-3. The Cream and Crimson is now 3-1 in one-run ballgames. Last season, Indiana went 3-8 in one-run games.

    New Contributors
    Through the first eight games, six Hoosier position newcomers have seen action, accounting for 18 starts. Junior Zach Boswell has started eight games in left field, freshman Tyler Cox has gotten the call in five games at shortstop, freshmen Jon Fixler has started four games behind the plate, and freshman Brad Udoff started at designated hitter against Navy.

    On the mound, six fresh faces have seen game action, including junior Adam Poole, sophomores Clint Crosier and Joe Trucchio, and freshmen Brad Davidson, Brad Kramer and Chris McCombs.

    Streaking Hoosiers
    Senior Joe Kemp had his 14-game hitting streak snapped against Arkansas-Little Rock on March 6, but junior Reggie Watson pushed his streak to 10 games. The Cincinnati native has picked up a hit in all eight of the team's games this season and closed out the 2004 campaign with hits in his final two games.

    Shooting Blanks
    With its 16-0 shutout over Arkansas-Little Rock on March 6, the Hoosiers now have two shutouts this season. Against the Trojans, five pitchers combined for the whitewashing, with freshman Brad Davidson pitching five innings to garner the victory.

    Six Hoosier pitchers combined to shut out DePauw in IU's season opener on Feb. 22. Sophomore Matt Saba picked up the victory with two shutout innings. The Indiana pitching staff combined for 14 strikeouts in nine innings, allowing only four hits.

    Shutting The Door
    The Hoosiers' 5-0 shutout victory over DePauw was the first for Indiana since a 4-0 victory on March 4 of last season at Butler. It also was IU's first season-opening shutout since a 6-0 win against Findlay on Feb. 28, 2003, and first home season-opening shutout since Feb. 18, 2002, a 15-0 victory over Taylor.

    Morgan In Openers
    IU head coach Bob Morgan has built an impressive resume in his 22 seasons at Indiana. Along with ranking 11th among active Division I coaches with 1,050 career victories, Morgan has never lost a home opener, and 2005 was no different. The Hoosiers downed DePauw, 5-0, giving Morgan his 22nd consecutive victory to open the Sembower Field season. Morgan also improved his record in regular-season openers to 15-7.

    Return To The Mound
    For the first time since his sophomore season in 2002, Joe Kemp toed the rubber in a regular-season game. The fifth-year senior closed out IU's 5-0 season-opening victory over DePauw with a scoreless ninth inning. Kemp struck out three of the four batters he faced, walking one. In game two at the Service Academy Classic, Kemp notched his first win since 2002, as the Hoosiers defeated Memphis, 9-8, in 10 innings.

    Some New, Some Old
    Despite losing nine letterwinners, including three players to the pros, the 2005 Indiana baseball team is a mix of youth and experience. Seventeen letterwinners return led by right fielder Joe Kemp, center fielder Reggie Watson, and infielders Jay Brant, Corby Heckman and Ryan Parker. All five were starters on last season's ballclub and will attempt to lift the Hoosiers back into the upper echelon of the Big Ten.

    Along with the returning players, Indiana will enjoy a youth movement. Fifteen new faces will join the Hoosiers with six pitchers, three catchers, four infielders and two outfielders added into the mix.

    Coaching Staff Update
    The players are not the only new look to this Hoosier team, an entirely revamped staff has been added by head coach Bob Morgan. Clay Eason arrives from North Carolina State, where he was director of baseball operations, and primarily works with the pitchers. Eason was an All-American pitcher at N.C. State and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1997.

    Chris Moore is in his third season at IU and his first season as assistant coach. Moore serves as the team's hitting coach. Prior to being named an assistant, Moore spent two seasons as IU's volunteer assistant coach.

    Replacing Moore as volunteer assistant is Ted Tom. Tom oversees the outfielders and will coach first base. He just completed his playing career at Shawnee State University.

    Hoosiers Name Tri-Captains
    Joe Kemp, Corby Heckman and Reggie Watson have been named tri-captains for this year's team. Kemp is a senior right fielder that also will see action as the team's closer. Heckman, a senior, will start the season at third base after seeing time at first and second base last year. Watson is a junior center fielder who started 52 of 53 games last season.

    McFarland's Daily Double
    In addition to his duties on the baseball diamond, sophomore Graeme McFarland has returned to the IU football team. After leaving the team in 2004, McFarland will attend spring practice and play under new head coach Terry Hoeppner along with fulfilling his duties as a pitcher with the baseball team. McFarland appeared in a pair of football games in 2003, throwing for 152 yards in his only career start at Minnesota.

    Same Faces, New Places
    A pair of veterans are seeing playing time at new positions this year. After receiving action at first and second base his first three seasons,
    senior Corby Heckman has moved to the hot corner as IU's third baseman.

    In addition to patrolling right field, senior Joe Kemp has returned to the mound for the first time since his sophomore season as the team's closer. Kemp fired 15 2/3 innings as a freshman and made one appearance, picking up a victory, on the mound as a sophomore.

    Hoosiers in the Pros
    A pair of Indiana baseball players were selected on the second day of the 2004 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. Cody Wargo was drafted in the 27th round by the Baltimore Orioles and Joe Kemp went to the Texas Rangers in the 42nd round. Seth Bynum and Kevin Mahar signed with the Montreal Expos and the Texas Rangers, respectively, prior to the draft.


     

     

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