Hoosiers Host Minnesota
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Hoosiers return to Big Ten Conference play for weekend number two, April 9-11. IU entertains defending Big Ten champion Minnesota in its first conference home series of the 2004 season. The series commences on Friday, April 9, with a nine-inning contest at 3 p.m. The Hoosiers and Gophers play a doubleheader consisting of two seven-inning games on Saturday, April 10, at 1 p.m. Sunday's finale is scheduled for a Noon start. All four games will be played at Sembower Field on the IU campus.
Live updates during all four games will be available on Indiana's official athletic web site, http://iuhoosiers.com.
Quickly About the Hoosiers
Indiana brings an 18-9 record into the weekend and a 2-2 mark in Big Ten play, after splitting with Northwestern on opening weekend. The Hoosiers' 18 wins are the most of any Big Ten team. IU is locked in a six-way tie for third-place in the conference standings.
As a team, the Hoosiers sport a .306 batting average and have hit 56 doubles, 13 triples and 25 home runs. IU's average is second-best among Big Ten Conference teams.
The IU pitching staff sports a 4.10 team ERA and has recorded 155 strikeouts to 81walks through 27 games. The Hoosiers' ERA is the best among conference pitching staffs.
Senior shortstop Seth Bynum is currently first among all Big Ten hitters with a .424 batting average.
Indiana's record is18-9 overall and 2-2 in Big Ten Conference play entering the weekend. The Hoosiers opened league action by splitting a four-game series at Northwestern over the weekend. The Wildcats shut out IU in game one, 2-0. The Hoosiers battled back to win game two, 4-3, but fell victim to a walk-off homer in game three and lost, 12-10. Indiana earned a 3-1 victory in the finale on Sunday to salvage a split on the road. The Hoosiers have won eight of their last 10 games and and are 17-4 since getting out to a 1-5 start.
Probable Starting pitchers
Indiana's probable starers on the mound for this weekend are:
Friday: Sophomore RHP Josh Lewis
3-2, 3.55 ERA, 38.0 inn., 23 Ks, 14 BBs
Sat. Game 1: Senior RHP Nick Vitielliss
3-1, 4.75 ERA, 36.0 inn., 19 Ks, 6 BBs
Sat. Game 2: Junior RHP Brian Lortz
2-0. 1,78 ERA, 30.1 inn., 22 Ks, 7 BBs
Minnesota's probable pitching rotation is:
Friday: Sophomore LHP Glen Perkins
1-2, 4.54 ERA, 35.2 inn., 32 Ks, 10 BBs
Sat. Game 1: Senior RHP Craig Molldrem
1-1, 3.65 ERA, 24.2 inn., 18 Ks, 7 BBs
Sat. Game 2: Sophomore RHP JoshKrogman
1-1, 5.32 ERA, 22.0 inn., 7 Ks, 18 BBs
Sunday: Junior RHP Matt Loberg
2-1, 4.26 ERA, 31.2 inn., 19 Ks, 9 BBs
The Gophers come to Bloomington sporting a 12-10 overall record and a 2-2 mark in Big Ten games (records do not include an April 7 contest at Northern Iowa). On Big Ten opening weekend, the Minnesota went 2-2 in a series at Michigan. The Gophers narrowly lost game one, 4-3, in 12 innings, but rebounded to take game two, 6-5, in 11 innings, and game three, 3-2. Michigan finished the series with a 12-10 win over the Gophers.
Freshman Mike Mee paces Minnesota at the plate with a .384 batting average, 23 RBI and a .581 slugging percentage. Sam Steidl is next, hitting at a .382 clip, and leads the club with 11 doubles and 23 runs scored. The Gophers have four players hitting better than .300 and own team batting average of .289.
The Minnesota pitching staff has a combined ERA of 4.52. The staff has recorded 137 strikeouts to eight walks. 2003 All-American Glen Perkins has pitched a team-high 35.2 innings and owns a 1-2 record to go with a 4.54 ERA. Perkins also boasts a team-best 32 strikeouts. Craig Molldrem is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in 24.2 innings of work. Matt Loberg is 2-1 in 31.2 innings pitched, and sports a 4.26 ERA.
The All-Time Series With Minnesota
Indiana and Minnesota have met on the baseball diamond 108 times in history. The Golden Gophers own a commanding 79-29 lead in the series. Minnesota took three of four from the Hoosiers in Bloomington last season. The Gophers captured game one of the set, 5-1, on Friday. The two teams split a pair of games on Saturday with Minnesota winning the first contest, 5-3, and Indiana bouncing back to take the nightcap in shutout fashion, 2-0. Chris Behrens limited the Gophers to six hits en route to the complete game victory. The Hoosiers dropped game four on Sunday, 10-2.
The Offensive Attack
Prior to the start of the season, the IU coaching staff pinned the Hoosiers' offensive talents as one of the strengths of this season's team. After a slow start, Indiana is showing just what it can do at the plate. The Hoosiers are hitting .306, and it marks the second week this season that IU boasts a team batting average of better than .300. Seth Bynum leads the way with a .424 average, and IU has four others players who hit higher than .300, including Joe Kemp (.385), Corby Heckman (.364), Kevin Mahar (.341) and Reggie Watson (.314).
The Hoosiers were scheduled to play at Indiana State on Wednesday, April 7, but that game was canceled due to inclement weather in Terre Haute. No make up date has been set at this point.
Free Passes Tough to Come By
The Hoosier pitching staff displayed impressive control and grit last weekend as it only three walks in four contests at Northwestern. IU's hurlers have given up just 81 base on balls in 228.1 innings of baseball this season.
Lortz Enjoys Banner Outing
Junior Brian Lortz turned in an outstanding performance in his second career start on Sunday at Northwestern. Lortz pitched the first complete game of his career and limited the Wildcats to six hits. He also fanned a career-best six batters. Overall, Lortz has recorded 22 strikeouts to just seven walks in 30.1 innings of work. His 1.78 ERA also ranks as the best among Big Ten pitchers with a minimum of one inning pitched per team game. Lortz is 2-0 with one save in 2004.
Bynum The Total Package
For the second straight week, senior shortstop Seth Bynum leads the Big Ten Conference in most offensive categories. The Louisville, Ky., native ranks first among league players with a .424 batting average, 42 hits, 36 RBI, 30 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases. Bynum, who transferred to IU after two seasons at Lincoln Trail Junior College, also paces Indiana with a .462 on-base percentage, and ranks second with 11 walks, three home runs, and third with a .636 slugging percentage.
Indiana currently ranks first in the Big Ten in team ERA at 4.10 and second in team batting average at .306. In addition, IU is tied for fourth in team fielding percentage at .962
The Need For Speed
The Hoosiers have successfully stolen 53 bases in 64 attempts in 27 games this season, far and away the most of any Big Ten club in 2004. The second-place league foe is this weekend's opponent, Minnesota. The Gophers have swiped 33 bases in 42 attempts through 22 games. IU is on pace to surpass its total from 2003, 76 in 56 games.
Eleven different players have at least one stolen base on their stat line. Seth Bynum paces IU in the category as the senior is 16-of-17 on the base paths. Reggie Watson has stolen 14 bases in 16 attempts. The sophomore was 3-for-3 in game four of the Northwestern series.
Brian Lortz leads IU with nine appearances on the mound.
Josh Lewis and Nick Vitielliss are tied with a team-high seven starts.
IU is a perfect 10-0 this season at Sembower Field entering this weekend against Minnesota.
Corby Heckman is the Hoosiers' leader in multiple-hit games with 13.
Seth Bynum has 13 multiple-RBI games to his credit this season, the most of any player on the club.
Indiana's most productive inning is the fourth. The Hoosiers have scored 43 runs and limited opponents to just 16 in that frame.
IU has out-scored its opponents, 222-130, in 2004.
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