Baseball Heads to Columbus for Three with Ohio State
April 8, 2010
Indiana at Ohio State
Friday, April 9 - 6:35 p.m. ET
The Indiana baseball team faces an early-season conference test as it enters a three-game set at preseason conference title favorite Ohio State. The Hoosiers took one of three from Michigan in the Big Ten-opening weekend and defeated Ball State on Tuesday to move to 14-13 on the season. IU has amassed 38 runs on 41 hits over the last two games, including a 26-6 victory over Michigan that was the most lopsided win in series history. OSU is 17-8 after a midweek win over Xavier. The Buckeyes took two of three at Northwestern in their opening conference season.
ON THE AIR
THE LAST TIME...
Both also picked up honors over the last couple weeks, as Leininger earned a spot on the College Baseball Foundation's National Pitcher of the Year Watch List and Dickerson was named Big Ten co-Player of the Week last Monday. Leininger is one of three conference pitchers on the Watch List, joining Ohio State's Alex Wimmers and Northwestern's Francis Brooke.
DICKERSON HEATING UP
Remarkably, he has actually improved his numbers since departing Florida. Over IU's nine games since spring break, he is hitting .561 with four home runs, 14 RBI and 12 runs with just four strikeouts in 44 plate appearances. He is second on the team behind Jerrud Sabourin in all those categories since the break.
He also has put together a 21-game hitting streak, and has reached base in all 27 of Indiana's games this year. Dickerson is in the running for the conference's triple crown, as he leads the Big Ten with 12 home runs and 39 RBI and is second in the conference (behind Sabourin) with a .444 batting average. He also entered the week 10th in the nation in slugging.
But perhaps the most impressive part of Dickerson's game this season is what he has done while out of the batter's box. The Poway native played mostly at designated hitter last year, but worked hard while playing for the Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod League on improving his defense in the outfield over the summer, and has 48 putouts and an outfield assist without an error this year.
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. He is currently 15th in school history with his 26 career longballs.
THE SILENT ASSASSIN
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 added four hits and five runs on Sunday against Michigan, then tacked on four hits and a homer against Ball State. He now has posted as many games with four or more hits (5) as he has with one hit.
He leads the Big Ten with his .480 average and his 59 hits trail only Tennessee Tech's Chad Oberacker, who has played three more games and has 17 more at-bats. Sabourin is averaging an amazing 2.19 hits per game, and is on pace to break the IU record of 106 hits in a season. Alex Smith (1985) needed 74 games to set that record, while Sabourin is on pace to do it in 49.
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.
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