- The Indiana baseball team returns to the diamond for the first time since Sunday, March 20, as it heads to Farmville, Va., for a three-game series against Longwood. The Hoosiers enter the weekend with a 12-4 mark after going 6-1 on their spring break trip (March 12-20), while the Lancers sit at 7-16.
IU opens the series with a 3 p.m. showdown on Friday, March 25. The two teams conclude the series with 1 p.m. contests on Saturday, March 26, and Sunday, March 27.
The Lancers of Longwood have won three of their last four games. Longwood swept a weekend series against Saint Peter's, winning the opener, 10-1, game two, 12-7, and game three, 11-0. However, the Lancers fell to Towson, 6-1, on Monday, March 21. LU is 6-4 at home as they prepare to host the Cream and Crimson for a three-game set.
Five Lancers are batting above .300 with sophomore Tyler Childress posting the highest average on the squad at .347. Childress also has one home run, 14 RBI, 12 runs and seven doubles on the season. In addition to Childress, senior Chris Balus is hitting at a .321 clip to go along with two home runs, 10 RBI and 14 runs. Sophomore Charlie Yarbrough is the Lancers' top power source. Yarbrough is the team leader with six home runs, 17 RBI and 14 runs.
Following its set with Longwood, the Hoosiers return home for a weekday matinee against Valparaiso at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29. The Cream and Crimson then open Big Ten play against Northwestern, beginning a four-game set on Friday, April 1, at 3 p.m.
Spring Break Recap
The Hoosiers concluded a successful nine-day, seven-game spring break trip in Bradenton, Fla., with a 6-1 record. Indiana dropped Bowling Green (12-2), Bucknell (14-4), Yale (8-0), Illinois State (17-7), Kent State (11-6) and St. Francis-NY (9-0), suffering its only defeat on the trip to Vermont (5-3). The games against St. Francis and Vermont were seven-inning affairs.
During the trip, juniors Jay Brant and Zach Boswell earned Big Ten Player of the Week accolades. Brant picked up the honor on March 15 for games played against Butler (3/10), Bowling Green (3/12), Bucknell (3/13) and Yale (3/14). In the four games, Brant batted .800, recording 12 hits in 15 at-bats while scoring nine runs. The Hoosiers won three of four games during the stretch.
Brant also drove in five runs and stole three bases while posting a slugging percentage of 1.133. He was a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate against Bucknell and ended the week with a 4-for-5 effort against Yale.
Boswell claimed the award for games against Illinois State (3/15), Vermont (3/18), Kent State (3/19) and St. Francis (3/20). He led the Hoosiers with a .643 batting average in the games, going 9-for-14, including a 5-for-5 performance with three doubles and four RBI in IU's victory over Kent State on March 19.
The Berrien Springs, Mich., native also led the team with 10 RBI, three doubles, a 1.214 slugging percentage and a .706 on-base percentage while blasting one home run and scoring five runs as the Cream and Crimson posted a 3-1 record.
As a team, the Hoosiers hit at an amazing .401 clip in the seven Florida games, scoring 74 runs for an average of over 10 runs per game. IU outhit its opponents .401-.225 and outscored its opponents 74-24. Additionally, the pitching staff recorded a paltry 3.09 ERA in 58 1/3 innings pitched, striking out 44 and walking 15.
Sizing Up The Competition
This weekend's three-game series with Longwood will mark the first time the Cream and Crimson has ever faced the Lancers.
Big Ten Players Of The Week
With their efforts on the Hoosiers' spring break trip, juniors Jay Brant and Zach Boswell earned Big Ten Player of the Week selections. Brant picked up his first career honor on March 15, and Boswell scored his first accolade on March 21. The duo joins Joe Kemp, who was selected the conference Player of the Week on March 1, as winners of the award in 2005. Kemp received the recognition for the second time of his career.
Junior Ryan Parker collected a hit in all seven contests during the spring break trip to push his hitting streak to 14 games. The streak ties him with senior Joe Kemp, who also carried a 14-game hitting streak earlier in the campaign, for the longest streak by a Hoosier this season.
In addition, junior Jay Brant boasts a 10-game streak after recording a hit in every game on the trip, and junior Zach Boswell corralled a hit in each of the six games he played, pushing his hitting streak to nine games. Senior Corby Heckman had his streak snapped at 11 games, going 0-for-3 against St. Francis-NY on March 20.
Big Ten Leaders
Following its 12-4 start, teams are staring up at the Hoosiers in the Big Ten's statistical rankings. With its .354 batting average, IU leads the conference in batting. Its 3.79 team ERA is third, trailing Michigan (2.76) and Illinois (3.00).
Individually, four Hoosiers lead the league in seven categories. Junior Jay Brant is the Big Ten leader in runs scored (27), hits (31) and total bases (48), while junior Zach Boswell leads the conference in slugging percentage (.763) and walks (12). Juniors Ryan Parker and Reggie Watson are the league leaders in RBI (23) and triples (4), respectively.
The Indiana pitching staff recorded a pair of shutouts over spring break, blanking Yale, 8-0, on March 14 to go along with a 9-0 whitewashing of St. Francis-NY on March 21. With the shutouts, the Hoosiers now have four on the 2005 campaign, the most since the 2003 club recorded five.
IU also shut out Arkansas-Little Rock, 16-0, on March 6, and closed out DePauw, 5-0, in its season opener on Feb. 22.
The .400 Club
Four Hoosiers are hitting over .400, contributing to the team's astounding .354 batting average. Junior Zach Boswell leads the club, hitting at a .458 clip. Boswell is followed by junior Jay Brant (.443), senior Corby Heckman (.443) and junior Ryan Parker (.418). Senior Joe Kemp is on the brink of .400, holding a .385 mark on the season. The foursome has helped Indiana outscore its opponents 140-71 on the season.
Freshmen Brad Davidson and Chris McCombs each turned in impressive performances in the Sunshine State. Davidson tossed seven scoreless innings in the Hoosiers' shutout of Yale on March 14. The Novelty, Ohio, native has not allowed a run in his two starts, a span of 12 innings.
McCombs fired five innings against Vermont on March 18 without allowing an earned run. The Louisville, Ky., native has not allowed an earned run since the Memphis game on Feb. 26, a span of 13 innings pitched.
Florida was very good to the Cream and Crimson, especially for three newcomers. Sophomore Joe Trucchio earned his first Division I win against Illinois State (March 15) and later in the trip picked up his first Division I save vs. Kent State (March 20).
Offensively, freshmen Arden McWilliams and David Trager collected their first collegiate hits against St. Francis-NY (March 21). Trager also netted his first RBI against the Terriers.
After three of Indiana's games were decided by one run, with two of them decided in extra innings, at the Service Academy Classic, the Hoosiers played another one-run contest at the Gent Classic followed by a one-run battle against Butler. IU rallied with two runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat Centenary, 4-3 on March 4 before falling 11-10 against Butler on March 10. The Cream and Crimson is now 3-2 in one-run ballgames. Last season, Indiana went 3-8 in one-run games.
Breaking Into The Win Column
A pair of freshman earned their first career victories at the Gent Classic. Freshman Chris McCombs fired three scoreless innings, giving up one hit with two punchouts against Centenary (March 4) as the Hoosiers rallied for a 4-3 win.
Davidson joined McCombs after throwing five scoreless innings in IU's 16-0 win over Arkansas-Little Rock (March 6). The Novelty, Ohio, native held the Trojans to two hits in addition to striking out six batters.
On the season, the duo has given the pitching staff a huge lift. McCombs enters this week's action with a team-leading 0.57 ERA in 15 2/3 innings, and Davidson holds a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings of work.
After posting a 2-1 record at the Service Academy Classic, senior Joe Kemp and junior Zach Boswell were selected to the all-tournament team. Kemp concluded the event 5-for-13 with two home runs, six RBI and four runs scored. In addition, the lefty picked up his first victory on the mound since the 2002 season, earning the win in Indiana's extra-inning triumph over Memphis.
Boswell crushed his first two home runs in a Hoosier uniform to go along with a pair of doubles and four runs scored. He ended the weekend 5-for-14 for a .357 average.
Shutting The Door
The Hoosiers' 5-0 shutout victory over DePauw was the first for Indiana since a 4-0 victory on March 4 of last season at Butler. It also was IU's first season-opening shutout since a 6-0 win against Findlay on Feb. 28, 2003, and first home season-opening shutout since Feb. 18, 2002, a 15-0 victory over Taylor.
Morgan In Openers
IU head coach Bob Morgan has built an impressive resume in his 22 seasons at Indiana. Along with ranking 11th among active Division I coaches with 1,056 career victories, Morgan has never lost a home opener, and 2005 was no different. The Hoosiers downed DePauw, 5-0, giving Morgan his 22nd consecutive victory to open the Sembower Field season. Morgan also improved his record in regular-season openers to 15-7.
Return To The Mound
For the first time since his sophomore season in 2002, Joe Kemp toed the rubber in a regular-season game. The fifth-year senior closed out IU's 5-0 season-opening victory over DePauw with a scoreless ninth inning. Kemp struck out three of the four batters he faced, walking one. In game two at the Service Academy Classic, Kemp notched his first win since 2002, as the Hoosiers defeated Memphis, 9-8, in 10 innings.
Some New, Some Old
Despite losing nine letterwinners, including three players to the pros, the 2005 Indiana baseball team is a mix of youth and experience. Seventeen letterwinners return led by right fielder Joe Kemp, center fielder Reggie Watson, and infielders Jay Brant, Corby Heckman and Ryan Parker. All five were starters on last season's ballclub and will attempt to lift the Hoosiers back into the upper echelon of the Big Ten.
Along with the returning players, Indiana will enjoy a youth movement. Fifteen new faces will join the Hoosiers with six pitchers, three catchers, four infielders and two outfielders added into the mix.
Coaching Staff Update
The players are not the only new look to this Hoosier team, an entirely revamped staff has been added by head coach Bob Morgan. Clay Eason arrives from North Carolina State, where he was director of baseball operations, and primarily works with the pitchers. Eason was an All-American pitcher at N.C. State and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1997.
Chris Moore is in his third season at IU and his first season as assistant coach. Moore serves as the team's hitting coach. Prior to being named an assistant, Moore spent two seasons as IU's volunteer assistant coach.
Replacing Moore as volunteer assistant is Ted Tom. Tom oversees the outfielders and will coach first base. He just completed his playing career at Shawnee State University.
Hoosiers Name Tri-Captains
Joe Kemp, Corby Heckman and Reggie Watson
have been named tri-captains for this year's team. Kemp is a senior right fielder that also will see action as the team's closer. Heckman, a senior, will start the season at third base after seeing time at first and second base last year. Watson is a junior center fielder who started 52 of 53 games last season.
McFarland's Daily Double
In addition to his duties on the baseball diamond, sophomore Graeme McFarland
has returned to the IU football team. After leaving the team in 2004, McFarland will attend spring practice and play under new head coach Terry Hoeppner along with fulfilling his duties as a pitcher with the baseball team. McFarland appeared in a pair of football games in 2003, throwing for 152 yards in his only career start at Minnesota.
Same Faces, New Places
A pair of veterans are seeing playing time at new positions this year. After receiving action at first and second base his first three seasons,
senior Corby Heckman has moved to the hot corner as IU's third baseman.
In addition to patrolling right field, senior Joe Kemp has returned to the mound for the first time since his sophomore season as the team's closer. Kemp fired 15 2/3 innings as a freshman and made one appearance, picking up a victory, on the mound as a sophomore.
Hoosiers In The Pros
A pair of Indiana baseball players were selected on the second day of the 2004 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. Cody Wargo was drafted in the 27th round by the Baltimore Orioles and Joe Kemp went to the Texas Rangers in the 42nd round. Seth Bynum and Kevin Mahar signed with the Montreal Expos and the Texas Rangers, respectively, prior to the draft.