Baseball Takes On Morehead State, Kentucky

    Go Hoosiers! Alex Dickerson and his IU teammates take on Morehead State at Sembower Field on Tuesday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Alex Dickerson and his IU teammates take on Morehead State at Sembower Field on Tuesday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 10, 2009

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    Tuesday, March 10, 2009 • 3 p.m. ET
    Sembower Field • Bloomington, Ind. | Morehead State at Indiana
    IU - RHP Chris Squires (0-0, 4.50) | MSU - RHP Trey Smith (0-0, 6.23)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009 • 4 p.m. ET
    Cliff Hagan Stadium • Lexington, Ky. | Indiana at Kentucky
    IU - TBA | UK - TBA
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Indiana snapped a four-game losing streak with an 8-3 win over Le Moyne on Sunday. Jerrud Sabourin paved the way for the victory with four hits, raising his average to a conference-leading .512 on the season. The Hoosiers received strong starting pitching over the weekend, with Eric Arnett, Blake Monar and Matt Bashore all looking impressive in their outings. IU (4-6) will take on Morehead State at Sembower Field on Tuesday for the second home game of the season for the Hoosiers. Indiana then hits the road to face No. 29 Kentucky in Lexington.

    The Hoosiers have never beaten Morehead State in three tries, all played away from Sembower Field. The last time the two met was early in the `96 season when the Eagles swept Indiana 5-4 and 5-3 in a series played in Morehead. The Hoosiers only lost 16 more games that season en route to a 48-win season and a Big Ten Tournament Championship. Indiana met Kentucky more recently in February 2004. IU starter Nick Vitielliss pitched five innings of three-hit ball and the Hoosiers carried a one-run lead into the sixth inning. But Indiana surrendered nine runs in the next three innings and Kentucky collected a 10-2 win. IU owns the all-time series with a 16-14 record, although the Hoosiers have only won 7 of the last 20 matchups with UK.

    Indiana is in its fourth year under the direction of Tracy Smith. In his time at the helm of the Hoosiers, IU is 76-105. In 11 years as a head coach, Smith has a career record of 393-325-1 (.547). The 2008 season was a significant upward turn for the Hoosiers, as Indiana made its first Big Ten Tournament appearance since 2004 by rallying for a sixth-place finish in the regular season. IU then eliminated Ohio State, Illinois and Penn State at the conference tournament before falling in the semifinals to Purdue. With a 31-30 record on the season, IU had its finest season in Smith's tenure.

    Jay Sorg is in his second year leading Morehead State. A former Eagle himself, Sorg led MSU to the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 1993 and was named first team all-OVC in 1994. Drafted by Cincinatti in `94, Sorg bounced around professional baseball as a player and coach in the Reds organization before taking over at MSU. Kentucky is in its first year under new head coach Gary Henderson. Henderson had been the team's associate head coach for the previous five years, which include two NCAA tournament appearances. Prior to taking the job at UK, Henderson had primarily been an assistant coach, with his only other head coaching experience coming at Chapman University in California.

    While Josh Phegley is likely the most feared hitter in the Indiana lineup, opposing teams are starting to see the potential possessed by the man behind him, Alex Dickerson. The freshman has now belted a home run in each of IU's three weekend trips and has driven in 13 runs in the Hoosiers' eight weekend games.

    After struggling in the season opener (0-for-5 with three Ks), Dickerson has rallied to go 17-for-40 (.425) since then with a .725 slugging percentage. The Poway, Calif., native leads the Hoosiers with three homers, 13 RBI and a .644 slugging average overall.

    In the weekend finale of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, the burly lefthander busted out with three hits, including his first career home run, and four RBI to lead IU to a 9-7 win. With the Hoosiers up 3-0 in the fifth and Phegley on second, Dickerson crushed a 2-0 offering the other way, sending it over the wall in left center to push Indiana's lead to five runs.

    Over the weekend at the Holiday Inn Eagle Invitational, Dickerson went just 4-for-13, but his hits were resounding, as he delivered a bases-clearing double against Georgia Southern and a solo homer against ECU - both of which brought the Hoosiers within striking distance of their opposition. He drove in five of IU's 16 runs on the weekend.

    The Poway, Calif., native was named all-California his senior season and was drafted in the 48th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals.

    Junior Eric Arnett has always possessed the potential to be one of the top arms in the conference and the nation, but his first two years produced somewhat disappointing results on the mound. So far in 2009, the Pataskala, Ohio, native has come through with his potential to post arguably the three most impressive starts by a Hoosier this year.

    In his season debut against Georgetown, Arnett allowed just four hits and two walks, striking out a career-high eight in a 12-4 victory. He did not allow a hit until the bottom of the third, when the Hoosiers had an 8-0 lead.

    He followed that by one-upping himself in last Sunday's start against Cleveland State. In his seven innings, Arnett again topped his career high with nine Ks. This time, he allowed just three hits - two of them infield singles - and walked two in allowing only an unearned run in the win against the Vikings.

    Against ECU this weekend, his stat line wasn't as pretty, but he pitched a gutsy performance, going a complete game to up his career-high strikeout total for the third time in a row, striking out 10. He limited the Pirates - a team with a .403 batting average entering the game - to just 10 hits and three earned runs. He leads the conference with 27 strikeouts in just 22 innings and has a strong 2.05 ERA.

    Arnett did not have a typical offseason, as he tried out for and made the basketball team, and impressed Tom Crean instantly to earn a roster spot. He served as a key post player during practice for the first 2 1/2 months of the season. Due to scholarship limitations, he could not play in a game per NCAA rules, but practiced with the team until early January.

    Jerrud Sabourin had a stellar freshman year, picking up Freshman All-America honors from several publications after hitting .383 and leading all conference frosh with 53 RBI. The first baseman has continued his steady performance at the plate in 2009, as he leads the conference with a .512 batting average through three weeks of baseball.

    Sabourin is the only Hoosier to have registered a hit in all 10 games this season for Indiana, and his hitting streak runs to 11 games when including last season. In his 10 contests so far in 2009, eight have been for more than one hit, and he matched a season-high for Indiana when he delivered a four-hit game against Le Moyne on Sunday.

    Sabourin went 8-for-12 at the Invitational, driving in two runs and adding three walks for a .733 on-base percentage. After starting the season hitting in the five hole, IU skipper Tracy Smith has moved him up to second in the lineup, where he went 6-for-9. Amazingly, of Sabourin's 22 hits - tied for most in the conference - 21 have been singles.

    Matt Bashore and Eric Arnett have established themselves as IU's top two starters early on this season, but don't count Blake Monar out of the running to start on either Fridays or Saturdays when Big Ten season starts.

    Monar, a High School All-American and a 26th-round selection of the New York Yankees, has been incredibly strong in his two starts - and his lone relief appearance - this season. His first start was a strong debut against USF in the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, and his second - against Le Moyne on Sunday - was even more impressive, Monar scattered four hits and three walks, striking out six, in seven innings against the Dolphins.

    The win over Le Moyne improved him to 2-0 on the season and dropped his ERA to 2.77 for the year. He and Eric Arnett are the only two regular pitchers who have allowed fewer than one hit per inning, and Monar's .208 batting average against is best on the team. Also, his 12 strikeouts to three walks has been impressive as well. The lone blemish on the stat sheet is his four hit batsmen - all against USF.

    It certainly has been an eventful 2008-09 for outfielder Kipp Schutz. After a solid fall season, he went with his teammates to a three-point contest against the Indiana basketball team. In that matchup, he squared off with Hoosier hoopster Devan Dumes, and bested the junior head-to-head. His performance was enough to catch Head Coach Tom Crean's eye, and Schutz was asked to come in the next day and try out.

    Just four days later, Schutz was on the court for IU, suiting up against Bemidji State, playing six minutes and scoring one point. He went on to play in six regular-season games for the Hoosiers on the court, and was the first man off the bench in IU's contest against nationally-ranked Wake Forest.

    When January rolled around, Schutz got back to baseball, and just as he was getting back in the swing of things, he was diagnosed with appendicitis, which sidelined him for nearly three weeks. Now back in the starting lineup, Schutz hasn't missed a beat, going 6-for-20 (.300) with a pair of doubles in his five games. The redshirt sophomore led all Big Ten freshmen with six home runs and finished behind only teammate Jerrud Sabourin with 48 RBI. Schutz is expected to hit fifth for IU for all of this season.




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