Baseball Set to Face No. 10 Louisville

    Go Hoosiers! Casey Smith is slated to make his first career start on Tuesday at Louisville.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Casey Smith is slated to make his first career start on Tuesday at Louisville.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 9, 2010

    Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

    Patterson Stadium - Louisville, Ky.
    Tuesday, March 9 - 3 p.m.

    IU - RHP Casey Smith (0-0, 9.95) | UL - RHP Justin Amlung (0-0, 2.16)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Series Record: IU leads 18-15
    Last Meeting: 5/29/09 - Louisville 8, Indiana 2
    Last IU Win: 5/9/07 - Indiana 6, Louisville 5

    Indiana takes part in its first midweek game of the season when it heads to Louisville for a Tuesday afternoon contest with the 10th-ranked Cardinals. The Hoosiers are coming off a solid performance in the Music City Classic, where they went 2-1 with the only defeat a 6-5, 11-inning loss to No. 25 Vanderbilt. Jerrud Sabourin went 8-for-14 at the event with multiple hits in every game, and added three innings of scoreless relief against Vandy in the finale. He and Chris Squires were both named to the All-Classic Team. Squires tallied a save in the first two games of the Classic and collected a tough-luck loss in the third and final contest.

    Louisville is off to an 11-0 start, the best for the Cardinals since a 15-0 performance out of the gate in 1957. U of L is hitting an impressive .337 and is allowing its opposition just a .191 average. The Louisville staff has a collective 2.14 ERA. Redshirt freshman Justin Amlung is scheduled to go on the mound for the Cardinals, as he has made four appearances but will make his first collegiate start. U of L returned seven starters from last year's NCAA Super Regional squad in addition to Stewart Ijames, who missed all of last season due to injury after being named a Freshman All-American in 2008.

    The Hoosiers faced the Cardinals three times last season, twice at Patterson Stadium and once at Sembower Field. U of L took all three matchups, including an 8-2 victory in the opening round of the NCAA Regional in Louisville. The Hoosiers and Cardinals also had a prime battle in the game between the teams at Sembower Field, as Louisville rallied for a 10-8 victory after All-American Chris Dominguez hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning. In the Regional, the Hoosiers and Cardinals played a tight game early on, but costly defensive miscues led to four Louisville runs and the Cardinals were able to come away with the victory en route to a Regional title.

    Tracy Smith is in his fifth season as Indiana baseball's head coach. In 2009, he led the Hoosiers to their first Big Ten Tournament title since 1996 and the second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. In his four years at the helm of the Hoosiers, IU is 108-132. In 13 years as a head coach, Smith has a career record of 425-352-1 (.547). Dan McDonnell is in year four at Louisville, where he has led them to three NCAA Tournaments and a College World Series with a collective 135-63 mark for the Cardinals.

    He may be one of the most mild-mannered athletes you will ever meet, but first baseman Jerrud Sabourin is one of the most consistent players in IU Baseball history. He has posted back-to-back impressive weekends, earning All-Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge honors and All-Music City Classic laurels in consecutive weeks.

    Sabourin posted multi-hit games in all three contests of the Music City Classic over the weekend. He was named to the All-Classic Team for his efforts. The junior first baseman went 8-for-14 (.571) at the Classic with three runs and three RBI. He also came on and pitched in the finale against No. 25 Vandy, throwing three shutout innings to help the Hoosiers take the Commodores to extra innings.

    Sabourin upped his team-leading batting average to .455 with his hot hitting. The San Diego native has seven multi-hit games this year and has hit safely in nine of IU's 10 games on the year. He has now started 128 consecutive games at first base.

    Sabourin finished the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge 6-for-13 and also made several brilliant defensive plays at first - where he was identified by Baseball America as the Big Ten's top defensive player heading into the 2010 season. Sabourin's performance against West Virginia was a microcosm of his importance to the team in his career, going 4-for-5 with three RBI. In the first, he started things with an RBI double to plate IU's first run; in the third, he singled and scored the third of four runs in the frame; in the sixth, his two-run double broke a 6-6 tie; and in the eighth, he singled and scored what turned out to be the winning run over the Mountaineers.

    Sabourin had a stellar freshman year in 2008, picking up Freshman All-America honors after hitting .383 and leading all conference frosh with 53 RBI. His five home runs trailed only teammate Kipp Schutz among conference newbies. He followed up on that in 2009, as he earned second team All-Big Ten honors for his performance. He finished among the league leaders with a .343 average and 85 hits.

    Sabourin's path to the Hoosiers was a bit unconventional, as the San Diego native originally committed to Arizona as a pitcher, but was cut on the first day of fall practice. Smith saw the lefty in a workout and offered him a roster spot as a walk-on at the winter break before the 2008 season. He did not start in his first game as a Hoosier, but came off the bench to go 2-for-2 against LSU and has started every game since then at first base.

    With the Hoosiers looking for someone to step up on the pitching staff, sophomore Drew Leininger has certainly answered the call. In three appearances, Leininger has gone 19.0 innings and has allowed just 14 hits and posted a 1.42 ERA.

    Leininger shined in his second start of 2010, stymieing Kent State to the tune of five hits and three walks over a career-high 7 2/3 innings of work. He also punched out a career-best eight in leading Indiana to its first shutout since the 2008 season against Portland. Leininger also picked off a pair of runners and did not allow a base runner past second in the game.

    In his first appearance of the year, Leininger came on out of the bullpen with one out in the bottom of the second at San Diego and went on to put zeroes on the board for the Toreros in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. By the time he was finished, he had tossed 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, surrendering just five hits and striking out four without allowing a walk.

    Leininger struggled in his debut season, going 0-2 with a 9.91 ERA in 15 appearances, but he has impressed in the early season, as his fastball has been about 4-5 MPH faster than it was last year. Leininger was Poway High School's Pitcher of the Year as a senior.

    With Blake Monar out due to injury and the Hoosiers already missing injured hurlers Matt Carr and Alex Herz, the Hoosiers handed the ball to infielder Ethan Wilson on Sunday against No. 25 Vanderbilt.

    In fact, IU's first three pitchers against the Commodores were Wilson (who, before this season, hadn't pitched competitively since he was 12), Matt Ernest (who hadn't pitched since high school) and Casey Smith (who graduated high school early to enroll at IU for the spring semester). First baseman Jerrud Sabourin also came on to throw three frames of scoreless relief, making IU's 6-5 loss to Vandy in 11 innings among the grittiest mound performances in school history.

    Q HIM UP
    After a midweek start at Xavier in March 2009, senior Chris "Q" Squires moved into the bullpen for the Hoosiers, and since that time he has emerged as one of the top closers in the Big Ten, if not in the Midwest. He is just one save away from tying Chris Wilson (1997-00) for the top career mark in Hoosier history.

    Squires appeared in all three games at the Music City Classic, tallying saves in the first two contests and collecting a tough loss in extras against No. 25 Vandy. In the opener against Illinois State, he came on with the tying run at the plate in the eighth and made quick work of the Redbirds followed by a 1-2-3 ninth. Against KSU, he relieved Drew Leininger in the eighth and got a bases-loaded strikeout to end the frame before punching out the side in the ninth. Against the Commodores, with the Hoosiers running out of healthy pitchers, Squires asked to get the ball and pitched out of a bases loaded, one out situation in the 10th, then surrendered a bunt single and two groundouts before Anthony Gomez poked a single through the right side to end the game.

    Squires made two appearances against San Diego, throwing a total of 2 2/3 innings while tallying three strikeouts. In Sunday's series finale with the Toreros, Squires came in with a 6-4 lead in the eighth inning and went on to record his 12th career save and his first of the 2010 season.

    In save situations last year, Squires flourished even more, posting a 1.38 ERA and a .191 batting average against when IU is up by three or fewer in the waning innings. He has finished off all three of his save opportunities with a swinging strikeout so far in 2010.




      Check back soon
      Indiana Sports Properties