Baseball Set to Face No. 10 Louisville
March 9, 2010
INDIANA AT #10 LOUISVILLE
Series Record: IU leads 18-15
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 LAST TIME...
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.
JOINING THE PARTY
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.
GRINDING IT OUT
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
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.
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