Hoosiers Host Mastodons for Opening Weekend

    Go Hoosiers! Tyler Tufts is slated to start Sunday's game against IPFW.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Tyler Tufts is slated to start Sunday's game against IPFW.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 21, 2008

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    IPFW (2-11-1) AT INDIANA (7-7)

    Sembower Field • Bloomington, Ind.
    2008 HOME OPENER

    Saturday, March 22 - 3 p.m. EDT - Indiana vs. IPFW
    GameTracker | Live Audio
    IU: LHP Matt Bashore (2-2, 1.42)
    IPFW: LHP Brandon Knowling (2-0, 1.56)

    Sunday, March 23 - 1 p.m. EDT - Indiana vs. IPFW
    GameTracker | Live Audio
    IU: RHP Tyler Tufts (1-2, 7.36)
    FSU: RHP Cole Uebelhor (0-2, 3.94)

    The Indiana baseball team will take on IPFW for a pair of weekend contests at Sembower Field. The Hoosiers will host the Mastodons for their home opener on Saturday at 3 p.m. and the teams will also face off on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Hoosiers enter the weekend having won four of their last five games and are 7-7 overall on the season. The `Dons spent their spring break in Bradenton, Fla., where they went 2-7-1 with wins over Northeastern and Miami (Ohio) and a 12-inning tie with Western Michigan.

    Indiana took third place at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic in Fresno, Calif., finishing with a 4-2 mark at the Classic. IU and first-place Gonzaga finished with identical 4-2 marks for the best records at the event. Evan Crawford was named the All-Tournament Offensive Player after hitting .464 for the tournament - tied with Andrew Means for tops on the team. Means scored 11 runs in the Classic to lead all players. Matt Bashore led the staff with his outstanding 12 strikeout performance against Portland and was subsequently named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week.

    Despite the two state schools being geographical rivals, the Hoosiers and Mastodons have played just five times in the history of the two programs, two of those contests being played last year. IU is 5-0 all-time against the `Dons following victories of 6-3 and 4-0 against IPFW last year. The two teams kicked off Indiana's home season last year as well, and all five contests between the two teams have been played at Sembower Field. In the first game between the two teams, IPFW outhit the Hoosiers 12-10, but IU jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first and didn't trail from that point on. In the second contest, Matt Bashore was dominant for five innings, allowing just three hits, and combined with Chris Squires, Dan Rosenbaum, Eric Arnett and Joe Vicini for the shutout.

    IPFW went 2-7-1 during its spring break trip to Bradenton, Fla., posting wins over Miami (Ohio) and Northeastern. That followed a season-opening road trip to Georgia State, where the Panthers took all four games from the Mastodons.

    IPFW has struggled offensively, hitting just .204, but leading hitter Chris Gottschall has been the exception, hitting .486 with three home runs and 12 RBI to lead the team in all three categories. On the mound, the Mastodons have a 5.97 ERA as a staff, with lefty JuCo transfer Brandon Knowling leading the way with a 2-0 record and a 1.56 ERA. Knowling will get the nod on Saturday for IPFW in a battle of lefty aces. On Sunday, Cole Uebelhor will start for IPFW with his 3.94 ERA and 0-2 record.

    Sophomore lefty Matt Bashore has been named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced today. Bashore had a career-high and Big Ten season-high 12 strikeouts in the Hoosiers' 7-0 win over Portland on Friday at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic to propel the Hoosiers into a tie for first in the round-robin portion of the Classic.

    Bashore pitched eight innings, allowing just six hits - three infield singles - in the game, helping to earn the first Pitcher of the Week honor by a Hoosier since Nick Otte in 2001. His 12 Ks are the most by a Hoosier since current Colorado Rockies hurler Zach McClellan had 14 against Vermont on March 18, 2000.

    Bashore continually had a knack for making the big strikeout, no more so than in the seventh inning, when the Pilots loaded the bases with nobody out, looking to crack the scoreboard for the first time. Bashore proceeded to strike out the next three batsmen - the top three hitters in Portland's order - to end the threat.

    He also posted a key strikeout with runners on second and third and two outs in the top of the sixth, when he got the Pilots' top power hitter, Danny Meier, to swing and miss to keep Portland off the scoreboard. He now has a 1.42 ERA (second in the conference) and 32 strikeouts (leads the conference) in 25 1/3 innings this year.

    Indiana entered this year as a statistical non-threat to knock a ball out of the park, as the Hoosiers hit just eight home runs a year ago and returned just three longballs from last season. In fact, the Hoosiers entered the season with just eight collegiate home runs - the three returning from last season plus Michael Earley's five at Cincinnati last year.

    But the Hoosiers warmed up in the California sun, smashing five home runs (all by different players) in the eight games in Fresno. IU got hotter as the trip wore on as well, hitting a pair of home runs in each of the final two games at the PJQ Classic - each one the first career longball for the player.

    It marked the first back-to-back multi-homer games for the Hoosiers since April 25 and April 30, 2004, against Illinois and Ohio State, respectively. That year, the Hoosiers posted 57 homers on the season.

    This season, Indiana already has seven home runs on the board, with one each of the bats of Ethan Wilson, Josh Phegley, Earley, Tyler Rogers, Jerrud Sabourin, Kipp Schutz and Tyler Cox. The Hoosiers have an aggregate .454 slugging percentage on the season, up over 100 points from last year's .335. Through just 14 games, Indiana is nearly halfway (103) to last year's total of 244 runs as well.

    Sophomore second baseman Evan Crawford was named the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic All-Tournament Offensive Player, as chosen by the media. Crawford hit .464 for the tournament, tied for tops on the team, drove in eight runs and stole five bases to help the Indiana baseball team to a third-place finish.

    Crawford was joined on the honors list by Gonzaga catcher Grant Kveder (Most Valuable Player), Fresno State pitcher Tanner Scheppers (All-Tournament Pitcher) and Fresno State second baseman Erik Wetzel (All-Tournament Defensive Player). The Hoosiers topped New Mexico State 14-6 in the third-place game to finish 4-2 on the tournament, tied with the champion Zags for the top mark at the Classic.

    The second baseman had five multi-hit games in the six-game event, driving in runs in each of the five. He started the Classic red-hot, going 3-for-4 with an RBI against Gonzaga in IU's opener, and following that by matching a career best with four hits against New Mexico State. Crawford also drove in three runs and had a triple against the Aggies.

    Crawford had two hits apiece in IU's victories over Fresno State, Portland and NMSU in the third-place game. Against the Bulldogs, he scored a pair of key runs and stole a pair of bases, while he drove in a pair against the Pilots. He closed out the week by scoring a pair of runs against the Aggies in the third-place contest.

    Crawford's honor was his second on the season, as he was named to the Austin Peay Invitational All-Tournament Team along with fellow Hoosiers Matt Bashore, Andrew Means and Josh Phegley. The Reynoldsburg, Ohio, native is now hitting .390 for the season with 11 runs and 11 RBI. He is second on the team with six stolen bases on the year and has hit a pair of triples on the season.

    Sophomore catcher Josh Phegley has been one of the top performers in the Big Ten this year, as he is among the conference leaders in batting average (fifth, .426), slugging percentage (fourth, .611), on-base percentage (fourth, .508), runs (second, 16) and RBI (sixth, 13). Additionally, he is one of just four Big Ten hitters with an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of over 1.000, as he currently clocks in at 1.119.

    Phegley has also been a standout behind the plate as well, as the backstop has displayed one of the best arms in the midwest, if not the nation, behind the plate. Opponents have attempted just 15 steals against Phegley, and he has retired six of them. His 60.0 stolen base percentage among the leaders in the conference for everyday catchers. Last year runners ran at a 64.6 clip against him.

    Against Valparaiso, 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.




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