Hoosiers Set For Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic

    Go Hoosiers! Head Coach Tracy Smith and the Hoosiers will take part in the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic this week in Fresno, Calif.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Head Coach Tracy Smith and the Hoosiers will take part in the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic this week in Fresno, Calif.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 10, 2008

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    Pete Beiden Field (3,000) • Fresno, Calif.
    Monday, March 10 - 11 a.m. PDT - Indiana vs. Gonzaga
    Tuesday, March 11 - 2 p.m. PDT - Indiana vs. New Mexico State
    Wednesday, March 12 - 6:05 p.m. PDT - Indiana vs. Fresno State
    Thursday, March 13 - 2 p.m. PDT - Indiana vs. Utah
    Friday, March 14 - 10 a.m. PDT - Indiana vs. Portland
    Saturday, March 15 - Finals

    Fifth-place game - 10 a.m.
    Third-place game - 2 p.m.
    Championship game - 6:05 p.m.

    The Indiana baseball team travels to Fresno, Calif., to take part in the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic during Spring Break. The Hoosiers will play six games in the Classic, with one against each of the other five opponents and an appearance in the finals games on Saturday. Indiana is joined at the Classic by host Fresno State, Gonzaga, New Mexico State, Utah and Portland, as IU is the only team from east of the Mississippi in the Classic.

    The Hoosiers were topped in both games of their two-game set against Fresno State over the weekend, with the Bulldogs taking a 6-2 decision on Saturday and a 9-4 victory on Sunday. Michael Earley had a strong weekend at the plate, going 3-for-6 with his first home run in a Hoosier uniform. Josh Phegley continued his hot streak at the plate, extending his season-opening hit streak to eight games. Matt Bashore had another strong game on the mound in the opener, allowing just five hits over seven innings in the loss.

    Tracy Smith is in his third season as Indiana baseball's head coach. In his three years at the helm of the Hoosiers, IU is 44-74. In 2007, Smith led one of the youngest teams in the country, with 19 freshmen and six sophomores, to a 19-win season. He has also been instrumental in the development of junior centerfielder Andrew Means, who earned second team All-Big Ten honors for the Hoosiers after hitting .369 with 30 RBIs, 32 runs and 27 stolen bases. In 11 years as a head coach, Smith has a career record of 361-294-1 (.551).

    With the five opposing Western teams at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic, Indiana has played a total of just three games against the opposition - two of them against Fresno State this last weekend. The only other game IU has ever played against the field at the Classic is Gonzaga, who the Hoosiers topped 4-3 on March 14, 1991.

    Of Indiana's five opponents this weekend, Portland has seen the best results in the young 2008 season. The Pilots enter the week 10-4 and have already posted wins over Michigan, UC Davis and San Jose State.

    Host Fresno State is 5-6 after sweeping the two-game set from the Hoosiers. The Bulldogs are 4-2 at home on the year.

    Utah enters the week at 3-7 on the year after sweeping a three-game set against Southern Utah. Despite the record, the Utes have been outscored by just eight runs on the season.

    Gonzaga is 6-5 on the year after sweeping a three-game series from the University of the Pacific and taking three of four from BYU. The Zags started the year against Oklahoma State and was swept by the Cowboys.

    New Mexico State is 4-3 on the year as the Aggies opened the season by taking two of three from New Orleans before splitting a wild four-game set against Ball State.

    Sophomore catcher Josh Phegley has consistently been one of IU's best hitters throughout the 2008 season, but his performance against Valparaiso stands out from all the rest. The Terre Haute native went 5-for-5 with five RBI and four runs scored and hit for the cycle - the first for an Indiana player since Joe Kemp did so against Michigan State on May 7, 2005. Phegley also matched IU's school record with his five hits

    Phegley, who entered the game with a .381 average but without an extra-base hit, came up in the first with runners at the corners and nobody out and rocketed a double off the centerfield wall and drove in a run. In the third, Phegley hit a one-out triple to deep right center and scored on a Kipp Schutz triple shortly thereafter.

    Then, in the fourth, Phegley came to the plate with Evan Crawford on first and IU trailing for the first time in the game, and the sophomore hit a towering shot over the wall in centerfield for his first career home run, giving Indiana a lead it would not relinquish. Phegley helped ensure that IU held on to the lead, as he came up with the bases loaded and nobody out in the fifth, and completed his cycle with a base hit up the middle that plated two more runs. He also added a bloop single in the seventh and scored Indiana's final run on a Chris Hervey single.

    Phegley became the first Hoosier since David Trager (3/16/07 against Florida A&M) to have five hits in a game, the first to score four runs since Steve Head (3/15/06 against Fairfield) and the first to drive in five runs since Jon Fixler (3/17/07 against Florida A&M). It was the second time in Phegley's career that he notched three extra-base hits in a game, as he had three doubles against Butler on March 7 of last year.

    Indiana has had the same top four hitters in seven of the eight games this season and those top four hitters have been vital to Indiana's success. Andrew Means, Evan Crawford, Josh Phegley and Kipp Schutz have been among IU's top four hitters this year, but their performance has been at its apex in Indiana's victories.

    In IU's three wins, the foursome has gone a collective 30-for-56 (.536 average) with 22 runs scored, 16 RBI, and a .714 slugging percentage. Conversely, the top four hitters have gone 22-for-80 (.275 average) and have scored just eight runs.

    Crawford has been the extreme example, as his .692 average in Hoosier victories is best on the team, but he is just 1-for-18 (.056) in losses this year.

    Sophomore Matt Bashore continued his fine work on the mound with seven outstanding innings against Fresno State. Bashore did not allow a hit until the fourth inning against the Bulldogs, and his final line showed him allowing just five hits over seven innings. Bashore is now among the conference leaders with his 2.08 ERA and 20 strikeouts to go along with a .188 batting average against.

    That followed Bashore dominating Austin Peay in his second start of the season. The southpaw held APSU to four hits - three of them infield singles - in his six innings of work. Additionally, he struck out five Governors in the contest and kept the host squad off the scoreboard while he was in the game.

    The Tipp City, Ohio, native was among the conference's leaders with his 4.33 ERA and .262 batting average against in his first season for the Hoosiers. He was recently ranked by Big Ten coaches as the most underrated pitcher in the conference in a poll run by College Baseball Insider. His 50 strikeouts and four wins led the Hoosiers in 2007.

    Sophomore transfer Michael Earley got off to a slow start this season, but he picked it up in the two games against Fresno State, rocketing a double and a single in Saturday's opener, narrowly missing a home run as well, and following that with his first home run in a Hoosier uniform, a towering blast that fell into the netting just in front of the scoreboard in left-center field.

    With the recent hot string, the Anderson, Ind., native has raised his season average to .318 to go along with a .545 slugging percentage. Earley joined the Hoosiers over the summer after transferring from the University of Cincinnati, where he hit .320 with five home runs last year. As a senior at Anderson, Earley was a runner up to now teammate Josh Phegley in the voting for Indiana Mr. Baseball after posting a .523 average with 14 doubles, four triples, four doubles and 30 RBI.




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