- Looking to build off its win over first-place Minnesota in the series finale in Minneapolis, the Indiana baseball team hits the road for a non-conference battle with Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday, April 13, at McKie Field at Hayden Park. First pitch between the Hoosiers (17-12) and RedHawks (20-11) is scheduled for 3 p.m. (EST).
Miami (Ohio) enters the week riding a six-game winning streak into its contest with the Cream and Crimson. With three victories over Birmingham-Southern College this past weekend, Miami completed its first series sweep of the 2005 season.
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After Wednesday's match up, the Hoosiers hit the road for the second time in Big Ten action, traveling to Iowa City to face Iowa at Duane Banks Field. The teams will open the series with a 6 p.m. ballgame on Friday, April 15, before playing a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. The series concludes with a 1 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 17.
The Hoosiers face Miami (Ohio) and Iowa after going 2-3 last week. IU took out Indiana State, 6-4, on April 6, before dropping three out of four games in Minneapolis to first place Minnesota. Indiana is 17-12 on the season and 2-6 in the Big Ten.
Wrapping up its four-game series, the Cream and Crimson snapped Minnesota's seven-game Big Ten winning streak, upending the Golden Gophers, 8-6, on April 10.
Freshman Chris McCombs went 4 1/3 innings of relief, giving up two earned runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts en route to his second victory in three decisions this season. Senior Steve Nielsen was dominant in closing out the contest, completing the final 3 1/3 frames while holding the Gophers scoreless on two hits.
Juniors Jay Brant (3 runs) and Zach Boswell (2 RBI, 1 run) both concluded the contest with three hits, while sophomore Josh Richardson (3 RBI), junior Reggie Watson (2 runs) and sophomore Michael Nilles (1 run) each added two hits.
Despite falling in the third game of the series (5-4) on April 9, sophomore Joe Trucchio was nearly perfect in 4 2/3 innings of hitless work, spelling starter Adam Poole. The Melbourne, Australia, native did not allow an earned run while striking out two and walking two.
Josh Lewis also turned in a strong pitching performance in the series opener (April 8), firing 7 1/3 innings. The junior allowed four runs in addition to punching out three and walking one.
Boswell concluded the weekend hitting .500 (7-for-14) to claim the top spot in the Big Ten with a .423 batting average, narrowly ahead of Brant's .421 clip.
Inside Miami (Ohio)
Miami (Ohio) enters the week with a 20-11 overall record and rides a six-game winning streak into its non-conference battle with the Hoosiers. With three victories over Birmingham-Southern College this past weekend, Miami completed its first series sweep of the 2005 season.
The RedHawks are led by a strong pitching staff, which boasts a 3.31 ERA. Freshman John Ely leads the rotation with a 4-1 record and a microscopic 1.96 ERA. Ely is joined by sophomore Keith Weiser, who holds a 4-0 mark and a 2.06 ERA.
Offensively, Miami is batting .292, as senior Brian Canada boasts a team-best .375 average with four home runs and 18 RBI.
The Hoosiers hold a 34-28 lead in the all-time series vs. the RedHawks.
Iowa hosts a pair of midweek non-conference games against Northern Iowa (April 12) and Northern Illinois (April 13) before welcoming the Cream and Crimson to Iowa City.
Entering the week, Iowa sits at 9-15 overall and 5-3 in Big Ten play, tied for third place with Penn State. It is the best conference start for Iowa since 1995.
The Hawks are coming off a huge weekend that saw them take three of four games against preseason conference favorite Michigan in Ann Arbor. Iowa won the first game 13-12 and split Saturday's doubleheader (2-4, 5-3). The Hawkeyes took Sunday's game by a score of 7-6.
Hawkeye closer junior Tim Gudex was named co-Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after earning saves in each of Iowa's three victories at Michigan. Gudex struck out four in five innings of work, allowing just three hits. He shared the award with Penn State's Alan Stidfole.
The last time the teams played in Iowa City, IU won three out of the four games on April 5-6, 2003.
Junior Jay Brant had his 19-game hitting streak snapped against Minnesota (April 8), failing to collect a hit in two at-bats after leaving the game in the fifth inning with a broken jaw. The Indianapolis native's run was the team's longest this season, besting junior Ryan Parker's 15-gamer and senior Joe Kemp's 14-game streak.
During the run, Brant hit a remarkable .488 (40-for-82) with two homers, 19 RBI, 34 runs and eight doubles. He also stole 12 bases in 13 attempts in the stretch.
Ironman Returns to Field
In the series opener against Minnesota (April 8), junior Jay Brant suffered a broken jaw and was forced to leave the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. However, the junior was back in the line up the next two days, playing the final three games of the series in left field instead of his normal second base spot.
Upon his return, Brant wrapped up the series 5-for-11 with one RBI, five runs, two steals, one double and one triple.
Big Ten Leaders
Entering this week's action, teams are staring up at the Hoosiers in the Big Ten's hitting statistical rankings. With its .340 batting average, IU leads the conference in addition to topping the league with 237 runs, 352 hits, 63 doubles, 14 triples, 52 stolen bases and 129 walks.
Individually, four Hoosiers lead the league in seven categories. Junior Zach Boswell is the Big Ten leader in batting average (.423), on-base percentage (.504) and walks (18). Junior Jay Brant sits at the top of the Big Ten with 46 runs scored and 51 hits, while senior Joe Kemp leads the league with 37 RBI. Additionally, junior Reggie Watson is the top man with five triples.
On the mound, junior Josh Lewis is tied for second in the conference with five victories, tied for fourth with 41 strikeouts and sixth with 44 2/3 innings pitched.
The .400 Club
Two Hoosiers are hitting over .400, contributing to the team's astounding .340 batting average. Junior Zach Boswell leads the club, hitting at a .423 clip. Boswell is followed by junior Jay Brant, who sits at .421. Junior Corby Heckman is hovering around the .400 mark, carding a .382 average. The group has helped Indiana outscore its opponents 237-166 on the season.
Lewis Racking Up The K's
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 followed that performance with eight more strikeouts against Northwestern (April 3), earning his fifth victory in five decisions in the team's Big Ten opener. In the two starts, the Mt. Airy, Md., native struck out 18 batters while walking only two in 13 1/3 innings.
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.
Big Ten Players Of The Week
With their efforts on the Hoosiers' spring break trip (March 12-20), 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.
The Indiana pitching staff recorded a pair of shutouts over spring break (March 12-20), 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 19).
Offensively, freshmen Arden McWilliams and David Trager collected their first collegiate hits against St. Francis-NY (March 20). Trager also netted his first RBI against the Terriers.
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 3-4 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.
Brad 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.
After posting a 2-1 record at the Service Academy Classic (Feb. 25-27), 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 (Feb. 26).
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 (Feb. 22) 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 1,061 career victories, Morgan has never lost a home opener, and 2005 was no different. The Hoosiers downed DePauw, 5-0, on Feb. 22, 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 (Feb. 22) 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 on Feb. 26.
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.