IU To Host Midweek Games
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- After a 10-day Spring Break Trip and six games in Bradenton, Fla., the Indiana baseball team returns to Bloomington for a pair of midweek games. The Hoosiers will take on Saginaw Valley State on Tuesday, March 25, and then battle Wright State on Wednesday, March 26. First pitch of both games is set for 3 p.m. at Sembower Field on the IU campus. Admission is free.
Should Indiana defeat Saginaw on Tuesday, Wednesday's contest against Wright State would represent a chance at history. Hoosier head coach Bob Morgan needs just two victories to reach 1,000 for his career. In addition, the pair of home tilts represent a final tune-up before the start of the Big Ten Conference season. IU will travel to Champaign, Ill., this weekend for its league series opener against the Illinois Fighting Illini.
The IU pitching staff currently sports the Big Ten's best ERA at 2.52. The Hoosiers are hitting .288 as a team, which ranks fifth among Big Ten teams.
At the plate, sophomore Corby Heckman moved into the team lead with his .396 batting average, a clip that also ranks seventh among conference players. Heckman's 19 hits are a team-best and his five doubles are tied for a team-high. Senior Vasili Spanos is next with a .360 average and has a 16 RBI to pace the club.
On the mound, senior Jacob Cary has pitched a team-high 29.0 innings and owns a 2.79 ERA. Cary tossed a pair of complete games in Florida to improve his record to 4-0.
Junior Chris Behrens has worked 19.1 innings for the Hoosiers and has an 0.92 ERA, the best among Big Ten pitchers, and 14 strikeouts.
The Hoosiers enter this week after going 5-1 on their annual spring trip to Bradenton, Fla., last week. Indiana defeated Bradley, 5-1, and knocked off Yale, 4-2, on the first two days of the trip, Saturday and Sunday.
On Monday, a contest with UMass, which Indiana led 2-0, was cut short due to lightning and heavy rain. Since it was only in the fifth inning, it could not be counted as a complete game. On Tuesday, the Hoosiers ran into weather problems again. The Hoosiers had come back to tie Northeastern, 3-3, in the top of the ninth when it began to pour down rain and the game was called. Enough innings had been played to count the game, but it was reverted back to the last complete inning, the eighth, when Indiana trailed, 3-2, resulting in the loss.
The Hoosiers bounced back with an 11-7 win over Fairleigh-Dickinson and the defeated Army, 5-2, on Friday. IU capped the trip on Saturday with a 4-3 victory over Vermont in 12 innings.
Going For A Grand
Indiana head coach Bob Morgan is just two wins shy of reaching the 1,000 mark for his career. In his 28th season as a head coach, Morgan's career record stands at 998-506-6. When he reaches the 1,000 mark, he will join an elite group of 11 other active Division I Coaches. Coming into the 2003 season, Morgan also ranked 20th among active Division I Coaches with a .662 winning percentage.
Scouting the Opponent: Saginaw Valley
Saginaw Valley State, a Division II school located in Saginaw, Mich., brings a 10-2 record into Tuesday's game in Bloomington. Chris Norton leads the Cardinals offensively with a .455 batting average. Dan Jones is second at .375 and is tied for a the team lead with 12 RBI.
On the mound, Ryan Reid is 3-0 and sports a 2.04 ERA, the best on the team, in 17.2 innings pitched. Five other pitchers have worked at least five innings for Saginaw Valley.
The Cardinals are coached by Walt Head.
Scouting the Opponent: Wright State
As of March 22, Wright State was 4-11 on the season. The Raiders were scheduled to play Anderson on Monday, March 24.
Wright State is led by Trent Matthews at the plate. Matthews is hitting .404 and has knocked in 10 runs. Chris Tuttle is second at .397 with six extra-base hits and 10 RBI.
Aaron Braden boasts the best ERA on the Raider pitching staff at 3.28 to go with a 2-2 record.
Indiana and Saginaw Valley will play for the first time ever on Tuesday.
Against Wright State, the Hoosiers own a 15-5 lead in the all-time series, including five consecutive wins over the Raiders. Indiana is also 8-3 in games played in Bloomington. The two teams have played for three straight seasons. IU swept a pair of home-and-home meetings last season, defeating Wright State, 14-6 on March 27 in Bloomington and winning in Dayton, 4-3, on April 17.
Indiana's 13-2 start in 2003 is the best since it achieved the same record through 15 games during the 1999 season. The last time the Hoosiers started the season with a better record was in 1989 under Coach Morgan. That club began its season with a 14-1 record through 15 games and was 19-1 through 20 contests.
The 700 Club
With three wins in Bradenton, Fla., on opening weekend, head coach Bob Morgan moved won his 700th game at IU. Morgan is already the winningest coach in school history and sports a record of 710-416-4 in his 20 seasons as the Hoosier skipper.
Indiana is 3-0 in extra-inning games this season, picking up wins over Findlay (6-5 in 11 inn.), Akron (5-2 in 8 inn.) and Vermont (4-3 in 12 inn.)
Indiana owns the Big Ten's best record currently at 13-2. The Hoosiers open the season against Illinois, which is second with an 8-2 record as of Monday.
The Hoosiers' most productive inning this season by far has been the sixth. IU totaled 30 runs in the sixth to while allowing just five runs. The Hoosiers have scored 18 runs in the fourth inning, the second-most of any inning.
Corby Heckman is the owner of the team's longest hitting streak. Heckman has hit safely in the last six games he has played in.
Kevin Mahar leads the team with seven stolen bases in a team-high eight attempts.
Vasili Spanos is currently tied for sixth, with Kevin Orie, on the IU career home run chart with 34. Spanos is also tied with Marty Wolfe for ninth place on with 77 career extra-base hits.
Jay Brant made his first appearance for the Hoosiers this season when he started at second base against Fairleigh-Dickinson. Brant, who started for the Hoosiers at second as a freshman, has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery.
Indiana will usher in the Big Ten Conference portion of its 2003 schedule when its visits the Fighting Illini of Illinois. The four-game series kicks off on Friday at 4:05 p.m., continues with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1:05 and finishes with a game on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Check back soon