Baseball Set to Face FSU in Three-Game Set
March 9, 2007
SETTING THE SCENE
LAST TIME OUT
Chris McCombs pitched six innings, allowing seven hits and striking out five to improve to 1-1 on the season. The trio of Jason Ferrell, Doug Fleenor and Danny Rosenbaum allowed just one hit and one walk over the final three innings to close out the game. Tyler Cox and Keith Haas each had two hits in the victory, while Andrew Means scored two runs and stole his team-leading third base of the season.
The Hoosiers broke things open with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 6-0 on four hits and a walk. Cox got things going with his second infield hit of the day, and Means walked to move him up 90 feet. With two on and none out, Crawford dropped down a bunt to the pitcher, whose throw glanced off Crawford and into foul territory, plating Cox. Ben Greenspan followed with a pinch-hit RBI groundout, and two batters later, Phegley plated Crawford with a double down the right field line.
Ryan Kruska picked up the loss for the Bulldogs to fall to 0-1 on the year, while Pauley led all Butler players with three hits. Dustin Bucalo and Chomicz each posted a pair of hits in a losing effort.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
SCOUTING THE SEMINOLES
The Seminoles have one of the top pitching staffs in the nation, with all three of their starters posting ERAs under 3.00 in at least 24 innings of work. Michael Hyde leads the way with a 2.17 ERA and a 5-0 record, while Ryan Strauss is 3-0 with a 2.62 ERA and Bryan Henry is 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA. Florida State has eight regular starters that are hitting over .400 on the season, led by Tony Thomas' .527 with 15 doubles. Jack Rye leads the team with three home runs, while Buster Posey's 25 RBIs are atop the squad.
Crawford, a native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, finished his senior year with a .462 average and 21 steals in 22 attempts. He has also been a stalwart defensively this year, helping IU turn 10 groundball double plays in eight games.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
With Crawford's emergence as a solid leadoff hitter, Haas has hit in the three hole in each of the last five 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.
MACK THE KNIFE
Mack has hit .333 in his limited at bats for the Hoosiers, going 5-for-15 on the year with three RBIs. Against Indiana State, Mack scored all three of the Indiana runs after getting on base to lead off the second, fourth and sixth innings. Mack, a native of Powder Springs, Ga., helped the Lovett School to the 2006 AA state championship last year.
WHAT A RELIEF
Even more impressive has been the performance of the IU bullpen, as it has put together a 1.71 ERA on the season. Relievers have allowed just six earned runs on 25 hits and 12 walks in 31.2 innings pitched with 29 strikeouts.
Four relievers - Joe Vicini, Jarrett Casey, J.T. Larson and Eric Arnett - still hold a 0.00 ERA on the season through eight games. The quartet has combined to pitch 12 2/3 innings and allow just two hits while walking five. Additionally, the four have struck out 11 opposing hitters this season.
One interesting aspect has been the distribution of steals this season, as eight different players have swiped bags already this season with nine attempting steals. Andrew Merans (three) and Brian Lambert (two) are the only Hoosiers this season that have more than one steal. Keith Haas, Evan Crawford, Josh Phegley, Tyler Cox, Josh Richardson and Chris Hervey have also posted swipes this year.
FOUR NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT
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.
The Tipp City, Ohio, native was an all-area selection and earned honorable mention all-state in his senior season for Tippecanoe High School.
SMITH A HOF FINALIST
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.
HE MEANS BUSINESS
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.
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.
ARE YOU NEW HERE?
"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.
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