Hoosiers Host Saint Francis, Taylor

    Go Hoosiers! Walker Stadler is scheduled to throw on Friday against Saint Francis.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Walker Stadler is scheduled to throw on Friday against Saint Francis.
    Go Hoosiers!

    March 26, 2010

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    Friday, March 26, 2010 • 3:05 p.m. ET
    Sembower Field • Bloomington, Ind.

    Saint Francis at Indiana
    IU - RHP Walker Stadler (2-2, 5.19) | SFU - RHP Chase Gaff (1-5, 6.81)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Sunday, March 27, 2010 • 1 p.m. ET
    Sembower Field • Bloomington, Ind.

    Taylor at Indiana
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    The Indiana baseball team has won five of its last six games and six of its last eight after a 17-8 offensive explosion against Xavier on Wednesday. The Hoosiers set season highs in runs (17), hits (22) and home runs (six) in a 17-8 victory over Xavier on Wednesday in IU's home opener. Jerrud Sabourin hit two longballs and tied the school record with five hits, while Michael Earley had a pair of homers and four hits on the day for the Hoosiers (10-10). Alex Dickerson (9) and Micah Johnson (7) each went deep as well for IU to maintain their hold on the top two spots in the conference in homers.

    The Hoosiers enter the weekend at 10-10 and will play host to NAIA squads Saint Francis (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) and Taylor (Upland, Ind.). Saint Francis enters this weekend with a 3-20-1 record on the year. Taylor is 16-3 and has now won 11 games in a row heading into a Thursday doubleheader with Indiana Wesleyan. IU has won 11 of its last 16 home games dating back to early in the 2009 season.

    Indiana has not taken on Saint Francis during head coach Tracy Smith's tenure, with the last meeting a 9-0 victory in 2005. The Hoosiers have a 4-2 record against the Cougars all-time, with losses in 1998 and 2000. IU last faced Taylor in 2003, posting an 18-0 victory. The Hoosiers hold a 31-3 all-time record against the Trojans, including 15 games against Taylor from 1995-2003. These will be the first two non-Division I opponents IU has faced in Smith's time as head coach.

    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 114-136. In 13 years as a head coach, Smith has a career record of 431-356-1 (.548).

    Jerrud Sabourin has been a consistent force for the Hoosiers throughout his IU career, but he has never had a day like he had on Wednesday against Xavier. The junior matched IU's school record with five hits, including two home runs - his first career game with more than one longball. He also became just the seventh player to score at least five runs in a game, scoring five tallies against the Musketeers. Additionally, he knocked in a career-best four runs in the Hoosier victory. He is currently on pace for 109 hits in 2009, which would break the IU mark of 105 by Alex Smith in 1985.

    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 and ranked sixth nationally heading into this week.

    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.

    The Hoosiers entered the March 9 game against Louisville with just four home runs as a team - three for Alex Dickerson, one for Jerrud Sabourin - and just one longball in the previous six games.

    But Micah Johnson started a homer barrage against Louisville when he knocked two balls out of the yard, and IU has carried over that power surge and now leads the Big Ten with 29 homers. The Hoosiers bashed five home runs against Miami, five at Morehead State and a Big Ten-high six against Xavier. After not having a multi-homer game by anyone but Josh Phegley since 2004, IU has gotten two-homer games from Johnson, Sabourin, Dickerson and Michael Earley over the last 10 contests.

    In total, Indiana has hit 25 homers and 19 doubles over the last 10 games for a .611 slugging percentage as a team. By comparison, only 10 non-IU players in the Big Ten have a slugging percentage over .611 this year.

    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 against Bradley and is just one hit away from 10th place on the IU career list.

    Sabourin had a career day against Xavier, matching the school record with five hits and delivering career highs with two home runs, four RBI and five runs scored. He also extended his hitting streak to 13 games and has had multiple hits in each of the last six games. His .452 average is third in the Big Ten this season and he has 20 percent more hits than the next highest total in the conference with his 42 knocks.

    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.

    He followed that up with a career-best four hits against Morehead State and had two hits and a three-run homer against Xavier. His streaks run one game longer than Sabourin's as he has hit safely in 14 straight with seven consecutive multi-hit games. He leads the conference with nine homers, 30 RBI and an .814 slugging percentage.

    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. He is currently 15th in school history with his 22 career longballs.




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