Baseball Heads to Muncie for Midweek Clash
April 3, 2007
SETTING THE SCENE
LAST TIME OUT
Doug Fleenor got the start for IU, going seven innings, allowing eight hits, six runs, two earned, and striking out six as he was credited with the loss to fall to 0-2. John Dwan improved to 2-2 for MSU as he pitched seven shutout innings for the visitors.
The Spartans got on the board with a pair of runs in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead. After Fleenor retired the leadoff hitter, a pitch inside got a piece of Brandon Doherty. Steve Gerstenberger followed with a single to right to move Doherty to third, and then Kyle Day drove home the first Spartan run of the day with a bouncing single through the right side. Chris Roberts followed with a sac fly to left to up the lead to two.
Neither team scored again until the fifth, when Michigan State plated four unearned runs to stretch the lead to 6-0. Tufts started things in the bottom of the eighth with a one-out single, and advanced to second on a throwing error by the second baseman as Keith Haas hit into a fielder's choice. Crawford followed with an RBI single to center to make it 6-1. After Andrew Means hit into a fielder's choice, Jon Fixler walked to load the bases, but Ryan MacFarlane was able to retire Reid Briglia on a groundout to end the threat.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS
BSU is led offensively by Kory Benbow, who is hitting .297 with seven homers and 16 RBIs on the season. All nine BSU regulars have scored 10 runs or more on the season and eight of the nine have driven in at least 10. As a team, the Cardinals are hitting just .267, but have hit 22 home runs and scored 136 runs in 27 games.
The Cardinal pitching staff has an aggregate 5.32 ERA and opponents are hitting .308 off Cardinal hurlers. The strength of the staff has been the bullpen, led by Kyle Heyne and Adam Quinn. The two have made 12 and 11 appearances, respectively, and each has an ERA under 3.50. Heyne has saved seven of BSU's 11 triumphs of the season.
Tufts allowed 15 Spartan hits on Friday, but was able to contain the MSU offense to a single run, which came across in the ninth inning of a 2-1 victory. Tufts ended the game with 8 2/3 innings of work, striking out three and surrendering no walks in the contest.
Bashore had his toughest outing of the season against MSU, but still managed to allow just seven hits in seven innings. The freshman walked two and struck out five, but the bulk of the Spartan damage was done by a pair of longballs - one by Steve Gerstenberger, one by Dennis Jones - to drive in four of MSU's six runs on the day.
As if their contributions to the pitching staff weren't enough, Tufts went one step further, garnering his first career start in the outfield on Sunday. Tufts batted ninth and went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and a walk. He scored the only Hoosier run and tallied three catches in the outfield in the contest.
Crawford is the only Hoosier freshman to have started every game this year. He trails only Andrew Means on the squad in both runs (15) and steals (10). His 14 RBIs are tied for the team lead as well.
Crawford, a native of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, finished his senior year with a .462 average and 21 steals in 22 attempts. He has also been a stalwart defensively this year, taking part in 14 of Indiana's 21 groundball double plays this season. His 59 assists are second on the team behind Keith Haas.
BIG TEN LEADERBOARD
As a team, the Hoosiers sit in fourth place in the conference with their 4.11 ERA on the season. Minnesota leads the league with a 3.49 mark on the year. Tyler Tufts is fifth in the conference with his 2.47 ERA while Matt Bashore is eighth at 2.86. Bashore leads all conference freshmen in ERA and batting average against. Reliever Joe Vicini is tied for the conference's top spot with 11 appearances on the season.
In his two years with the Hoosiers, head coach Tracy Smith has shown an affinity to be aggressive on the basepaths, and the 2007 Hoosiers have followed suit. IU has attempted 58 steals on the year to its opponents' 28. Indiana has been successful on 47 of its attempts this year.
Means and Crawford sit 1-2 on the team in steals with 13 and 10, respectively, while Keith Haas is 6-for-6 on the season and Brian Lambert is 3-for-3. Tyler Cox, Josh Richardson, Chris Hervey and Sterling Mack are each 3-for-4. Reid Briglia, Ben Greenspan and Jon Fixler are the only players who have started more than two games that have not stolen a base.
HONORS FOR MEANS
Means, who has also been impressive defensively in his transition from right to center field, began his week with a career-high four hits in seven at-bats in a 16-inning affair against North Florida on Wednesday, March 15. In that contest, he drove in a pair of runs, scored one and stole a base. He followed that up with a career-best three steals the next night against the Ospreys, going 2-for-5 at the plate. With the score tied 9-9 in the eighth and Josh Phegley on second with two outs, Means ripped a game-winning RBI single to left center to ice the victory.
In IU's three-game series against Florida A&M, the Avon Lake, Ohio, native opened the set with a 2-for-4 outing, swiping two bags and scoring two runs. In the final game of the series, the sophomore went 3-for-6, scoring three runs and driving in three to go along with his third game of the week with multiple steals, notching his 10th and 11th steals of the season. On the year, Means is hitting .358 with a team-leading 12 steals and 16 runs.
The sophomore is also a wide receiver on the Indiana football team. In 2006, he made 20 catches for 263 yards and a touchdown for the Hoosiers. Last season, the two-sport athlete hit .301 with 16 stolen bases for the Hoosier baseball squad.
In his eight games in Florida, Haas put together a .387 average with 10 singles and two doubles on the trip. After a brief stint hitting third, Haas has returned to the leadoff slot. When leading off an inning, he has reached base 12 times in 24 opportunities, a remarkable 50 percent of the time, and is hitting .478 when leading off an inning. Chris Hervey is 5-for-10 when leading off innings, making him the only regular with a higher average in that situation.
Haas led the team with a .353 average last season, spending most of his time in the leadoff spot. His 77 assists are tops on the team and he has helped the IU defense turn 21 groundball double plays already this season. He has stolen all six bases that he has attempted to swipe this year.
REIDING BETWEEN THE LINES
Briglia is in his first season on the field with the Hoosiers. He redshirted while at IU in 2004 before transferring to Rollins College for a year, playing fall ball for Rollins. He then returned to Indiana and redshirted as a transfer in 2006 before joining the Hoosiers this season. The Cherry Hill, N.J., native is hitting .293 on the season with a .414 slugging percentage.
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