March 13, 2007
UNF Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader
Live Audio | Gametracker
SETTING THE SCENE
The Indiana baseball team is in Jacksonville for the middle two games of its eight-game road swing through Florida. The Hoosiers face North Florida (8-11) for a pair of non-conference games before finishing the Spring Break trip with a three-game series against Florida A&M. Indiana is 4-7 entering the two-game set.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior Ryan Strauss held the Indiana baseball team to three hits in a 9-0 victory by second-ranked Florida State. Freshman Jason Ferrell pitched 7 1/3 innings for the Hoosiers, allowing seven hits and two walks to one of the top offenses in the nation. The Seminoles moved to 20-0 on the year, while Indiana is now 4-7.
The Hoosiers trailed 2-0 into the eighth inning, but FSU put seven on the board in the bottom of the frame to reach the final margin of victory. Josh Phegley, Josh Richardson and Tyler Cox had IU's three hits in the contest. Ferrell allowed five runs, all earned, and struck out one to fall to 1-1 on the campaign. Eric Arnett and Joe Vicini also pitched for Indiana.
The Seminoles took the first two games of the series, 6-0 and 8-2, respectively, as Indiana pitching held one of the top offenses in college baseball under 10 runs for each of the three contests. FSU (20-0) had been held in single digits just four times heading into its series with Indiana. The Seminoles, who entered the series hitting .415 as a team, hit just .309 in the three-game series against IU.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
This will be the first meeting between the two teams in school history. The Ospreys are one of three teams that IU is facing for the first time this season, with this weekend's opponent, Florida A&M, being the third. The Hoosiers defeated Georgia Southern 6-1 on Feb. 24 in the first meeting between those two programs.
Indiana Athletic Media Relations Staff Assistant Matt Brady is the primary media relations contact for the Indiana baseball team. He can be reached at his office (812-856-0215), via cell phone (413-222-2788) or email (email@example.com).
SCOUTING THE OSPREYS
North Florida enters this mid-week series with an 8-11 record, but has faced some of the toughest competition in the country. UNF has already squared off with national powers Coastal Carolina, Virginia, Elon and Florida State, but has fallen in all four contests. The two squads have faced a pair of common opponents, as UNF lost 16-3 to Florida State and 13-9 to Georgia Southern already this season.
The Ospreys have warmed up as of late, though, winning six of their last eight with losses this past weekend to Ohio State (3-2 in 11 innings) and Connecticut (9-7). UNF won its last contest, 3-2, over UNC Greensboro.
North Florida is led offensively by Jon Dandridge, who has one of the team's 10 home runs and is hitting .350 on the year. Two other regulars - Brandon Diaz (.325) and Brian Wilson (.325) - are hitting better than .300 on the season. As a team, the squad has a .269 average. On the mound, UNF has a 6.14 ERA with 209 hits in 167 innings. Tuesday's starter, Derek Bell, has made one start on the year and is 1-0, while Wednesday's starter, Dicarlo Thompson, will be making his first start of the season.
Freshman Evan Crawford continues to impress in his brief time as a Hoosier. Crawford is hitting an even .400 with hits in each of his nine of his 11 career games. In addition, Crawford is atop the squad with nine runs, 21 total bases, a .467 slugging average and a .417 on-base percentage. Crawford is second on the team with 34 assists and has also stolen two bases so far in 2007.
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 12 groundball double plays in 11 games.
Senior Keith Haas is at a new position - shortstop - but his returns over the first eight games have been reminiscent of the 2006 all-region selection's previous campaign. So far this season, Haas has hit .359 and has Indiana's only home run. His eight RBIs also are tops on the team.
Like the rest of the Hoosier lineup, Haas had a slow weekend against Florida State, but the senior did manage to go 3-for-9 at the plate with a trio of singles. He also was impressive defensively, stealing several base hits from FSU hitters in the three-game set.
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 41 assists are tops on the team with Crawford, and he has helped the IU defense turn 12 double plays already this season.
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
Freshman Josh Phegley had quite an outing against Butler, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run, with all three of his hits being doubles. Phegley has nearly half of the Hoosiers' doubles this season, with six of IU's 15 this year, and his six doubles are best in the Big Ten. He is second on the team with 18 total bases and a .439 slugging percentage. After going 1-for-11 in the opening weekend at the Wiregrass Baseball Classic, Phegley has gone 11-for-30 to improve his average to .293 on the season, as he has hit in the cleanup spot for most of his debut campaign as a Hoosier.
MACK THE KNIFE
Freshman Sterling Mack has established himself as a regular starter in the outfield over the last two weeks. Mack has started seven of the last eight games for the Hoosiers, and has produced both offensively and defensively for Indiana.
Mack was hitting .333 entering the weekend series against FSU, going 5-for-15 on the year with three RBIs. The Seminoles held the freshman to 1-for-10 on the weekend. 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.
The Hoosier pitching staff has had a strong year through the first 11 games, putting together a 4.13 ERA as a team. Indiana held Florida State - which was hitting .415 entering the series and had scored 10 runs in 13 of its 17 games - to under 10 runs and a .306 average over the three games.
IU's three starters in the series - Tyler Tufts, Matt Bashore and Jason Ferrell - all threw solid outings on the mound on the weekend, with Tufts and Ferrell going seven-plus innings in each start. Tufts allowed nine hits and four earned runs in seven innings in the series opener. Bashore had perhaps the best start of the weekend, going five innings and allowing just five hits and one earned run. Ferrell's end line - 7.1 innings, five earned runs - are not indicative of how well he pitched, as the freshman allowed just seven hits and at one point set down 15 Seminole batters in a row. When he was removed from the game, the FSU crowd showed their approval with a standing ovation.
Over the last four games, Hoosier starters have pitched 25 1/3 innings, allowing just 28 hits and 10 earned runs while striking out 12. The one problem as of late for the staff has been its control, as IU has walked eight batters over that time span, all in the three-game set against FSU.
WHAT A RELIEF
Likewise, Indiana's relief pitching has been solid, though the bullpen succumbed to the hot hitting of FSU. Despite the lumps, the Hoosier pen has a 3.75 ERA on the year, as IU has allowed 33 hits in 36 1/3 innings on the season. Also, Indiana relievers have 31 strikeouts to 18 walks on the season.
Leading the way have been righties Billy Kitchen and Eric Arnett and lefties Jarrett Casey and Joe Vicini. All four have ERAs of 3.00 or lower, led by Kitchen's 2.16. The quartet has an aggregate 2.42 ERA with 19 hits and 18 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings of work. The one problem for the foursome has been control, as it has walked a total of 13 batters on the year. Casey is yet to allow a hit this season, but has given up five walks in four innings of work.
In his two years with the Hoosiers, head coach Tracy Smith has shown an affinity to be aggressive on the basepaths, and the 2007 Hoosiers have followed suit. IU has attempted 19 steals on the year to its opponents' 15. Indiana has been successful on 12 of its attempts this year.
One interesting aspect has been the distribution of steals this season, as eight different players have swiped bags already this season with 10 attempting steals. Andrew Merans (three), Evan Crawford (two) and Brian Lambert (two) are the only Hoosiers this season that have more than one steal. Keith Haas, Josh Phegley, Tyler Cox, Josh Richardson and Chris Hervey have also posted swipes this year.
Senior Josh Richardson has found himself in a new spot on the field for the third time this season. After starting 32 of his 37 games at shortstop a season ago, Richardson has played at third base and second base and has started in both left field and at designated hitter. Richardson has filled in the hole left by the loss of freshman Kipp Schutz, who will likely miss the remainder of the season with a collarbone injury.
FOUR NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT
Four Hoosiers were named to the AutoZone Classic All-Tournament team for their performances over the weekend. Senior Keith Haas and freshmen Evan Crawford, Josh Phegley and Kipp Schutz were all honored as Indiana (3-3) took second place at the event with a 2-1 record.
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.
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.
Freshman Matt Bashore delivered a gem on the mound in IU's 4-2 victory over Northern Iowa, tossing 7 1/3 innings in his first collegiate start. Bashore allowed five hits and three walks in the contest while striking out four and allowing just one earned run. More impressively, Bashore got better as the game went on, allowing just two walks and a hit batsman over his final 3 1/3 innings of work. At one point, Bashore retired 12 Panthers in a row and pitched 1-2-3 innings in the 5th, 6th and 7th.
The Tipp City, Ohio, native was an all-area selection and earned honorable mention all-state in his senior season for Tippecanoe High School.
Freshman Eric Arnett pitched the final 1 2/3 against Northern Iowa, striking out two, to earn his first career save. Arnett came on with runners on first and second in the eighth inning, and promptly induced double play to end the UNI threat. Arnett then struck out two of the final three batters he faced, with an infield single sandwiched in between. The Pataskala, Ohio, native went 9-2 with a 1.52 ERA in his senior campaign.
SMITH A HOF FINALIST
Former Hoosier Mike Smith has been named to the official ballot for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame. More than 300 candidates were originally nominated to be on the ballot, and Smith is one of just 26 players to make the cut on the final ballot.
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.
When the Hoosiers exploded for 16 runs and 20 hits against Eastern Illinois, each marked the highest total in the Tracy Smith era for the Hoosiers. Indiana posted two innings - the third and the ninth - of six runs or more and batted around in each inning.
ARE YOU NEW HERE?
The 2007 Hoosiers will look quite different from their 2006 counterparts, largely due to the fact that 19 of the 34 players on the roster are new to the program. Eighteen of the 19 players are freshmen for IU. So far, freshmen Evan Crawford and Josh Phegley have started all 11 games for IU, while three other freshmen have started at least four games this year. On the Hoosier staff, eight of 12 players who have pitched this season are freshmen.