IU Opens Big Ten vs. NU

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Opening Big Ten play, the Indiana baseball team welcomes Northwestern to Sembower Field for a four-game series. The series will start on Saturday, April 2, with a single game at 1 p.m. On Sunday, April 3, the teams will then play a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m., while the series concludes on Monday, April 4, with a 2 p.m. starting time.

    The Hoosiers enter the weekend with a 14-6 record, while the Wildcats sit at 9-8 on the season.

    Saturday's meeting will mark the 146th between the two teams with the Hoosiers holding an 82-61-2 lead in the all-time series. The teams opened Big Ten play last season and split a four-game series in Evanston, Ill. In 2003, Indiana took three of the four games the last time the teams met in Bloomington.

    Follow the games live by clicking here. Additionally, game one on Sunday and Monday's contest will be broadcast on WIUS AM 1570. Click here to listen to the broadcasts.

    Inside Northwestern
    The Wildcats of Northwestern are the Cream and Crimson's first Big Ten opponent. Northwestern enters the conference opener at 9-8 after a 5-2 spring break trip in Bradenton, Fla. The Wildcats and Hoosiers played three common opponents in Bradenton with both teams winning against St. Francis-NY. IU downed Kent State, while the Wildcats fell to the Golden Flashes, and Indiana lost to Vermont as NU split a doubleheader against the Catamounts.

    Leading the Wildcats' offense, which ranks fifth in the Big Ten with a .289 team batting average, is Pat McMahon. The junior catcher carries a .377 average to go along with two home runs, 10 RBI and 12 runs. In addition to McMahon, junior Stanley Finch holds a .353 average as well as eight RBI and 11 runs.

    On the mound, NU is also fourth in the Big Ten with a 3.88 ERA. Sophomore Andrew Smith (1-3) leads the squad with a 2.30 ERA in 27 1/3 innings, while sophomore George Kontos (3-1) enters the series with a 2.79 ERA in 29 innings of work.

    Smith and Kontos will face the Hoosiers this weekend along with sophomore Ryan Myers and senior Evan Blesoff. Myers sits at 2-1 this season with a 4.26 ERA, while Blesoff is 2-3 coming into the series with a 5.33 ERA.

    Hoosier Report
    Following a 12-6 defeat to Valparaiso on Tuesday, March 29, the Cream and Crimson bounced back against Shawnee State. Picking up season-high offensive totals, Indiana earned a 24-9 victory over the Bears on Wednesday, March 30, at Sembower Field. IU registered season-bests in hits with 22 and runs with 24, eclipsing the previous highs of 21 hits and 17 runs set against Illinois State on March 15.

    A trio of Hoosiers led the hit parade with three knocks apiece. Senior right fielder Joe Kemp went 3-for-6 with three RBI, a double, a home run and three runs scored. Fellow classmate Corby Heckman was perfect on the day, 3-for-3, with a pair of doubles to go along with two RBI. Junior Ryan Parker was 3-for-4 on the day with a homer, a double, two RBI and three runs scored.

    Senior Jay Brant led the Hoosiers, matching a school record with six runs on the afternoon, while junior Zach Boswell and sophomore Bobby Segal added three RBI apiece in the victory.

    Prior to this week's games, the Hoosiers split a doubleheader at Longwood on Saturday, March 26. IU took game one, 10-4, before dropping the second game by a 4-1 score. Josh Lewis pitched the opener, going seven innings to improve to 4-0 this season. The junior allowed three earned runs on five hits while walking a pair and striking out a career-high 10 batters.

    Streaking Hoosiers
    Junior Jay Brant collected a hit against Valparaiso (March 29) and Shawnee State (March 30) to push his

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    hitting streak to 14 games. The streak is the second longest for a Hoosier this season behind junior Ryan Parker's 15-gamer and matching senior Joe Kemp's 14-game streak.

    Parker had his streak broken in game two against Longwood on March 26, and junior Zach Boswell had his 10-game streak stopped in the same contest.

    Big Ten Leaders
    Following its 14-6 start, teams are staring up at the Hoosiers in the Big Ten's statistical rankings. With its .357 batting average, IU leads the conference in hitting. Its 4.26 team ERA is fifth, trailing Illinois (2.87), Michigan (3.11), Ohio State (3.31) and Northwestern (3.88).

    Individually, six Hoosiers lead the league in nine categories. Senior Corby Heckman is the Big Ten leader in batting average (.479), while junior Jay Brant is leading the league in runs scored (36) and hits (38). Junior Zach Boswell leads the conference in on-base percentage (.533) and is tied for the No. 1 spot in walks (15). Senior Joe Kemp sits at the top of the Big Ten in RBI (29) and is tied for the league lead with five home runs, and junior Reggie Watson is the league leader with four triples.

    On the mound, junior Josh Lewis is tied for the conference lead with four victories.

    The .400 Club
    Three Hoosiers are hitting over .400, contributing to the team's astounding .357 batting average. Senior Corby Heckman leads the club, hitting at a .479 clip. Heckman is followed by juniors Jay Brant (.442) and Zach Boswell (.425). Junior Ryan Parker and senior Joe Kemp are on the brink of .400, holding .390 and .381 marks, respectively. The group has helped Indiana outscore its opponents 181-100 on the season.

    Season-Best Performance
    Picking up season-high offensive totals, Indiana earned a 24-9 victory over Shawnee State on March 30. IU registered season-bests in hits with 22 and runs with 24, eclipsing the previous highs of 21 hits and 17 runs set against Illinois State on March 15.

    Additionally, sophomore Bobby Segal registered his first career hit, RBI and run in the ballgame. The Indianapolis native cleared the bases with a pinch-hit triple to left center field and scored on an infield single by freshman David Trager.

    Lewis Racking Up the K's
    Along with improving to 4-0 this season, Josh Lewis turned in a career performance against Longwood on March 26. Pitching in the first game of the doubleheader, the junior struck out a career-high 10 Lancers, breaking his old high of seven vs. Northwestern on March 22, 2003. Lewis is tied for the Big Ten lead with four victories and has 30 Ks in 2005.

    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.

    Shooting Blanks
    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.

    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.

    Close Encounters
    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 0.56 ERA in 15 2/3 innings, and Davidson holds a 1.45 ERA in 18 23 innings of work.

    All-Tournament Team
    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 1,058 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.




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