Hoosiers Welcome Hawkeyes for Four-Game Set
April 11, 2008
IOWA (9-17, 1-7) AT INDIANA (14-13, 3-5)
IU: LHP Matt Bashore (3-2, 1.56)
IU: RHP Doug Fleenor (1-2, 5.40)
THE FIRST PITCH
Indiana will play host to Iowa in a crucial Big Ten series for the Hoosiers. IU enters the weekend at 14-13 and is in a five-way tie for fifth in the conference at 3-5, while the Hawkeyes enter with an 8-17 record and a 1-7 mark in conference. The Hoosiers are coming off a series against Illinois in which the Fighting Illini rallied for a game one victory, then took games three and four with outstanding hitting to take three games in the series and vault themselves into second place in the conference. Saturday's doubleheader will be televised live on the Big Ten Network - the first appearance on the Network by either team.
The Hawkeyes most recently bested Coe College 7-2 on Wednesday, and previously were topped in three of four contests by second-place Purdue over the weekend in Iowa City. Iowa also was swept in its Big Ten opener by conference frontrunner Michigan.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Jack Dahm has an 11-4 record against Indiana in his time with Iowa, while Tracy Smith is 1-6 against the Hawkeyes in his two seasons at IU.
SCOUTING THE HAWKEYES
Caleb Curry is one of the top players in the conference with a .391 average, 21 SB and 27 RBI on the season.
BEHIND THE DISH
He furthered his quest for an All-Big Ten selection against the Illini, as he hit .500 with an .889 slugging percentage. The backstop hit four doubles and his third home run of the season over the weekend, driving in six runs for Indiana. His highlight of the weekend came in the opener, when he matched his season high with a 5-for-5 day. He hit a pair of doubles and three singles for the Hoosiers to match the school record for hits in a contest. He also notched five hits this season against Valparaiso, when he delivered five RBI and four runs scored and hit for the cycle - the first for a Hoosier since May 7, 2005.
Phegley has also been a standout behind the plate, as the backstop has displayed one of the best arms in the Midwest, if not the nation. Opponents have attempted just 35 steals against Phegley, and he has retired 14 of them. His 60.0 stolen base percentage against is second in the conference among everyday catchers.
The Terre Haute native has a summer in the Cape Cod League to thank for his improvements at the plate. Last summer, he was named a Cape League All-Star for the Wareham Gatemen.
Schutz has been scorching-hot in the last eight contests, as he leads the team with a .444 average and has posted a .667 slugging percentage and a .500 OBP to boot. He has five doubles, eight RBI and 10 runs scored over that time period. With that hot streak, he has entered the top 10 in the conference in average (ninth), slugging (sixth) and RBI (ninth). His .469 average in Big Ten games is second in the conference.
In his first career Big Ten series, against Minnesota, Schutz went 7-for-15 with three doubles, four RBI and three runs. His biggest hit came in the series finale, when he stroked a ninth-inning double high off the bags in right field of the Metrodome to bring home a pair of runs and give IU the lead over Minnesota. He followed that up against Illinois with an 8-for-17 weekend with a homer and a pair of doubles.
Schutz began the 2007 season as one of the top freshmen in the Big Ten, and was named to the AutoZone Classic All-Tournament Team after hitting .545 and slugging .727 for the weekend in Memphis. But his season came to a screeching halt in the seventh game of the season, when he collided with the outfield wall of Indiana State's Sycamore Field, breaking his collarbone and ending his season.
He now has a 1.56 ERA, 49 strikeouts and a .187 batting average against in his 40 1/3 innings of work. He leads the conference in both ERA and Ks and is second in batting average against, as he has established himself as one of the frontrunners for Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. He is just one strikeout away from matching last year's total, which he needed 70 2/3 innings to accomplish. With 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings, he clocks in 28th in the country in that category as well.
Bashore was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on March 17, the first Pitcher of the Week honor by a Hoosier since Nick Otte in 2001. Bashore had a career-high and Big Ten season-high 12 strikeouts in the Hoosiers' 7-0 win over Portland on Friday at the Pepsi/Johnny Quik Classic to propel the Hoosiers into a tie for first in the round-robin portion of the Classic.
Bashore pitched eight innings, allowing just six hits - three infield singles - in the game. His 12 Ks are the most by a Hoosier since current Colorado Rockies hurler Zach McClellan had 14 against Vermont on March 18, 2000.
THE FOUR TOPS
Crawford, Phegley and Schutz all have an average of .381 or higher as they all find themselves in the conference's top 11 in batting average. Despite a recent slump, Means clocks in 15th in the conference with his .354 average. The quartet has an aggregate .386 average on its 164 hits in 425 at-bats, making it the strongest top four in the Big Ten so far this season.
The foursome has been even more impressive in Hoosier victories this season. All four are hitting over .380 in games that IU has won, and the quartet has gone a collective 99-for-229 (.432 average) with 72 runs scored, 62 RBI and a .620 slugging percentage. Conversely, in losses, the top four hitters have scored just 26 runs and have driven in 19.
Crawford has been the extreme example, as his .500 average in Hoosier victories is best on the team, but he is just 12-for-49 (.245) in losses this year.
But the Hoosiers have already zoomed past last year's total, as Josh Phegley's bomb against Minnesota gave them nine for the season. With four more homers during the Saturday doubleheader against Illinois, IU now has 13 home runs on the year. The surge has gotten larger as of late, as IU has hit 10 of the 13 home runs in its last 14 games.
Phegley and Kipp Schutz lead the way with three homers apiece. The Hoosiers have an aggregate .444 slugging percentage (second in the conference) on the season, up over 100 points from last year's .335 (last in the Big Ten). Through just 27 games, Indiana is already more than 70 percent of the way (178) to last year's total of 244 runs.
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