Hoosiers Set to Host Golden Gophers in Conference Opener
March 26, 2009
Minnesota at Indiana
Indiana opens Big Ten play this weekend as it plays host to the 25th-ranked Golden Gophers of Minnesota. IU has lost seven of its last eight, including three in a row, with all three losses turning in the seventh inning or later. At Xavier on Wednesday, the Hoosiers held a 6-3 lead in the ninth only to see Ben Thomas hit a three-run tying homer in the bottom of the frame and add an 11th-inning walk-off. Indiana is now 7-14 on the season. Minnesota enters the weekend at 13-6 and has not played since a three-game set at Dallas Baptist over the weekend. The Gophers swept DBU and went 5-3 on their spring trip to Texas, which included a pair of wins against then-No. 17 TCU the opening weekend. The Gophers have not played an outdoor contest north of Florida yet, as their only contests in the northern part of the country have been played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome
THE LAST TIME...
Minnesota is in its 28th year under the leadership of head coach John Anderson. In just under three decades with the Golden Gophers, Anderson has compiled the most wins in Big Ten history with 437 conference victories. Anderson, an American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer, has led Minnesota to a Big Ten record 15 NCAA Tournament appearances, including seven in the last 10 years.
EA IS IN THE GAME
In his season debut against Georgetown, Arnett allowed just four hits and two walks, striking out a career-high eight in a 12-4 victory. He followed that by one-upping himself in a start against Cleveland State. In his seven innings of work, he again topped his career high with nine Ks. Against ECU, he pitched a complete game to up his career-high strikeout total for the third time in a row, striking out 10.
Over the spring trip, his numbers weren't quite as gaudy, but he was the winning pitcher in both of IU's victories. Against Bowling Green, Arnett went six innings, allowing nine hits but holding the Falcons without a walk and keeping his pitch count to 85 pitches in a lopsided win. Then against Hartford, "Big E" surrendered just four hits and two walks, striking out six in seven innings. He enters this weekend ninth in the conference in ERA (2.57) and third in the Big Ten in strikeouts (35).
Arnett did not have a typical offseason, as he tried out for and made the basketball team, and impressed Tom Crean instantly to earn a roster spot. He served as a key post player during practice for the first 2 1/2 months of the season. Due to scholarship limitations, he could not play in a game per NCAA rules, but practiced with the team until early January.
RIGHT WHERE HE LEFT OFF
Phegley enters the weekend fourth in the conference in batting average (.430), first in slugging (.759) and second in on-base percentage (.524). His 28 RBI are just two off the conference lead and with six longballs, he is tied for second in the Big Ten. The junior has not seen very many pitches to hit, as he is third in the league with 17 walks.
Phegley posted his fourth career five-hit game against Morehead State, hitting three home runs and adding a double and single for six RBI. The huge game vaulted Phegley to his second career Big Ten Player of the Week mention and he was named to the College Baseball Foundation's National All-Star Lineup for Week Four.
Phegley became the fourth player in school history to slug three home runs in a game when he did so against Morehead. For the week, Phegley led all Hoosiers with 11 RBI and slugged 1.467 with a .714 on-base percentage (2.181 OPS). The Terre Haute native hit .667 (10-for-15) with four home runs in the Hoosiers' four games. The preseason All-American also had a three-hit game at No. 29 Kentucky and drove in three against Jacksonville State. He led Indiana with eight runs on the week.
Monar, a High School All-American and a 26th-round selection of the New York Yankees, has been incredibly strong. His first start was a solid debut against USF in the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, and his second - against Le Moyne - was even more impressive, Monar scattered four hits, striking out six, in seven innings against the Dolphins.
Last week, though, Monar raised the bar. The Rockport, Ind., native no-hit Jacksonville State for the first five innings before running into trouble in a no-decision. Then on Friday, Monar dueled with Alex Wimmers of Ohio State for a brilliant pitching duel. Monar retired 15 Buckeyes in a row at one point and finished with four hits and two walks in seven innings.
The freshman is currently second in the Big Ten with his .176 batting average against. Perhaps the most remarkable stat, though, is his performance with two out, which currently has opponents hitting at an 0-for-22 clip.
ALEX THE GREAT
After struggling in the season opener (0-for-5 with three Ks), Dickerson has rallied to raise his average to .372 on the year. The Poway, Calif., native is currently 10th in the league with a .637 slugging percentage and is tied for sixth in the Big Ten with his 25 RBI.
In the weekend finale of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, the burly lefthander busted out with three hits, including his first career home run, and four RBI to lead IU to a 9-7 win. With the Hoosiers up 3-0 in the fifth and Phegley on second, Dickerson crushed a 2-0 offering the other way, sending it over the wall in left center to push Indiana's lead to five runs.
In the first three games in Florida, Dickerson was outstanding, clubbing three hits in each game and driving in eight runs. He hit his fifth and sixth longballs against Bowling Green and Jacksonville State, respectively, and scored a run in each of the three contests. Last Wednesday at Stetson, though, he was held hitless for the first time since the season opener, snapping his hitting streak at 15 games.
Sabourin saw his hitting streak snapped at 14 games against Jacksonville State last week, which sent him into a brief slump that has dropped his average from a season high of .538. Still, he has recorded 11 multi-hit games so far this season, and he matched his career high when he delivered a four-hit game against Le Moyne on March 8.
Sabourin hit his second homer of the season against BGSU, pulling a ball out to right at Chain O' Lakes Stadium. He also had two sac flies in that game, and currently leads the conference with his five sacrifices.
A NO-K STREAK
But the most amazing statistic about Knipp's season is his ability to make contact. Since being caught looking in his first at-bat of the season, Knipp has now gone 43 straight plate appearances without being punched out. Knipp's streak is more than twice as long as the second-longest string by a Hoosier this season.
The sophomore was the only IU player that was not struck out by Ohio State ace Alex Wimmers, and he was also the only Hoosier who had more than one hit off Wimmers, knocking a pair of singles. Over the spring trip to Florida, Knipp hit an even .400 for the Hoosiers.
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