Hoosiers Take on Morehead State, Xavier

    Go Hoosiers! Jerrud Sabourin is scheduled to take the mound for IU on Tuesday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Jerrud Sabourin is scheduled to take the mound for IU on Tuesday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 23, 2010

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    Tuesday, March 23, 2010 • 3 p.m. ET
    Sonny Allen Stadium • Morehead, Ky.

    Indiana at Morehead State
    IU - LHP Jerrud Sabourin (1-0, 2.16) | MSU - RHP Matthew Robertson (0-0, 14.14)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010 • 3:05 p.m. ET
    Sembower Field • Bloomington, Ind.

    Xavier at Indiana
    IU - RHP Ethan Wilson (0-0, 1.93) | XU - RHP Markus Kuykendoll (0-2, 7.27)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    IU returns to the Midwest this week for games against Morehead State and Xavier. After an away game against MSU on Tuesday, Indiana will play host to its 2010 home opener against 2009 Atlantic 10 Champion Xavier. The Hoosiers are coming off a successful trip to Florida for the 2010 RussMatt Central Florida Invitational, having gone 5-2 with four straight wins to wrap up the week. Alex Dickerson led the way with five home runs and 15 RBI in the seven-game swing, while Micah Johnson hit four longballs and had 10 RBI to go along with nine runs.

    Morehead is 11-12 on the year after sweeping IPFW in a three-game set in Morehead last weekend. The Eagles have a .309 average on the season and have mashed 37 home runs in 23 games this year. Xavier is 4-14 on the season after taking two of three from Oakland on the weekend, but the Musketeers have played one of the toughest schedules in the nation, having played weekend series at Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest and Missouri in addition to midweek games with Louisville and NC State.

    Indiana is playing both Morehead and Xavier for the second straight season. Against the Eagles in 2009, the Hoosiers hit nine home runs en route to an 18-3 victory at Sembower Field. Josh Phegley hit three longballs in the game en route to Big Ten Player of the Week honors, while six other Hoosiers went deep in the contest. IU is 4-0 all-time against Morehead State. Against the Musketeers, IU suffered a heartbreaking 7-6 defeat in 11 innings when Ben Thomas hit a game-tying three-run homer in the ninth and a game-winning solo shot in the 11th. The win snapped an eight-game winning streak in the series between the Hoosiers and XU, a series that Indiana leads overall 17-2.

    Tracy Smith is in his fifth season as Indiana baseball's head coach. In 2009, he led the Hoosiers to their first Big Ten Tournament title since 1996 and the second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. In his four years at the helm of the Hoosiers, IU is 113-135. In 13 years as a head coach, Smith has a career record of 430-355-1 (.548). Jay Sorg is in his third year at his alma mater, where he has helped Morehead to a 49-77 record. Scott Googins is in his fifth year at Xavier, where he was named the 2009 ABCA Mideast Region Coach of the Year. He is a former assistant at IU and Miami, where he served under Smith for four years.

    The streak put together by sophomore Drew Leininger is one of the most remarkable in Indiana baseball history. A year removed from posting a 9.91 ERA, Leininger has improved his numbers more than twelvefold, posting a 0.79 ERA in 34.0 innings of work. His ERA is more than a run better than anyone else in the Big Ten.

    More impressively, he has now gone a full 26 innings since allowing a run to cross, one of the top streaks in Hoosier pitching history. Since allowing two unearned runs in the second inning to West Virginia, he has not surrendered a single tally, including three straight scoreless starts, against Kent State, Central Michigan and Akron.

    Against CMU, Drew Leininger scattered eight hits in posting Indiana's first complete game shutout since May 15, 2006, against Illinois (Doug Fleenor). In his last outing against Akron, he was even more dominant, allowing just three hits and one walk, and erasing two men from the basepaths on double plays. The only Zip to reach second base against Leininger did so after a Hoosier error.

    He also showed his toughness in the game, as he tweaked his leg in the fourth inning, but gritted it out to post zeroes in the fifth and sixth before being removed for precautionary measures with the Hoosiers up 7-0. His injury status is still being evaluated at this point.

    After falling to Yale on Monday at Chain of Lakes Park, the Hoosiers went on to win their next four games to improve to .500 on the season at 9-9. Surprisingly, Indiana's 2009 NCAA Tournament squad did not post a four-game winning streak against non-Big Ten foes all of last year. The last time IU posted a four-game non-conference winning streak was coming off the 2008 Spring Trip, when that squad won six straight non-conference games. IU did have four different streaks of four wins in a row overall in 2009, but all of those included conference contests.

    Indiana traveled to the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational for the second straight year, but the 2010 result was far superior to that in 2009. The Hoosiers went 2-6 on the `09 Spring Trip as compared to a 5-2 mark in `10. The Hoosiers improved to 9-9 on the season with the mark, up from 7-14 after the 2009 Trip.

    He may be one of the most mild-mannered athletes you will ever meet, but first baseman Jerrud Sabourin is one of the most consistent players in IU Baseball history. He posted his 200th career hit on a two-run single against Bradley that sent the Hoosiers on the comeback trail. He is now just eight hits away from 10th place on the IU career list.

    He had started 133 straight games at first base for the Hoosiers before the streak was snapped against Eastern Illinois. Instead, the lefty started on the mound and picked up the win with five solid innings. He also helped his own cause with four hits. Sabourin now has an 11-game hit streak, has hit safely in 17 of 18 games this year and has 12 multi-hit contests.

    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.

    No Hoosier enjoyed the Florida sun more than left fielder Alex Dickerson. The Preseason Third Team All-American went 14-for-30 (.467) with three doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI in IU's seven games at the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. He also led Indiana with 12 runs scored in the Sunshine State and posted an amazing 1.067 slugging percentage.

    Against Miami, the slugger posted his first career multi-homer game, bashing a pair of longballs to right field in the contest. He also hit bombs against Central Michigan, Eastern Illinois and UMBC to post his season total to a conference-leading eight. He also leads the league with his 25 RBI and his .789 slugging.

    The lefty set an IU freshman record last year with 14 home runs to go along with a .370 batting average and 57 RBI. He was the first Hoosier in school history to take home Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, and he was named a Freshman All-American following the season. He is currently tied for 15th in school history with his 22 career longballs.

    Fans and scouts may have been double-checking their scorecards when Alex Dickerson stepped to the plate against UMBC southpaw Travis Pearson. The lefty slugger stepped to the plate, but instead of the norm, he strided into the right-hand batter's box.

    Though he has worked on his righty hitting in practice, it marked the first time he has done so in a game for the Hoosiers. He swung at the first pitch he saw and promptly hit a bounding ball to shortstop for an infield single. Against Akron, with lefty Drew Turocy on the hill, Dickerson again stepped in and hit righty, this time ripping a 1-2 pitch up the middle for a more convincing single, making him 2-for-2 when hitting from the right side.

    When Alex Dickerson and Michael Earley hit back-to-back home runs against Miami last Saturday, it marked the first time IU had gone back to back since the duo hit consecutive balls out of the yard against Jacksonville State's Ben Tootle. Those back-to-back bombs came just under one year before the 2010 version (March 15, 2009 vs. March 13, 2010) .




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