Hoosiers and Valpo Set for Midweek Clash
April 13, 2010
All-time series: Indiana leads 31-12-1
The Indiana baseball team travels to U.S. Steel Yard for a midweek matchup with Horizon League foe Valparaiso on Tuesday. The Hoosiers are coming into the game with a 15-15 overall record after losing two of three on the road to Ohio State, while Valpo is 11-18 with a pair of wins over Youngstown State last weekend. Micah Johnson was red hot over against the Buckeyes, going 7-for-13 with three doubles and two walks to stretch his hitting streak to 16 games.
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 is among the favorites for Big Ten Player of the Year, as he leads the conference in home runs and RBI and is second in batting average. Leininger is one of three conference pitchers on the Watch List, joining Ohio State's Alex Wimmers and Northwestern's Francis Brooke.
SHOWING HIS DREW COLORS
The southpaw leads the conference in ERA and is also best in the Big Ten with a .195 batting average against. He ranks among the national leaders in both categories. His five wins and 52.1 innings rank third in the conference.
Leininger may have turned in his finest outing of the year against Ohio State on Saturday. The Poway native was victimized by some defensive miscues in his nine-inning victory, as he surrendered just four hits and two walks, striking out eight in the contest. All four runs he allowed were unearned, as two IU errors in the fourth turned a 1-2-3 inning into a four-run frame for the Buckeyes. Leininger posted five innings where he set down OSU in order, and it would have been seven if his defense had not committed errors. He did not allow a hit out of the infield after Brian DeLucia's grand slam with one out in the fourth.
Leininger also put together one of the most remarkable streaks in Indiana baseball history earlier this year. On March 30, he saw his scoreless innings streak snapped at 28 2/3 with a two-run homer off the bat of Louisville's Andrew Clark. The scoreless streak is the best on record in Hoosier history. He did not allow a run - earned or unearned - between the second inning against West Virginia on Feb. 26 and the ninth inning on March 30, a span of 32 days.
Q HIM UP
On Sunday against the Buckeyes, he tried a new trick. In the eighth inning, the flashy righty struck out the side on 11 pitches, all of them changeups. He got eight swings and misses and one called strike with just two pitches out of the strike zone. He is currently striking out batters at a rate of 11.4 Ks per nine innings.
The Ft. Wayne native is 2-1 on the season, and is second in the conference with 16 appearances and five saves. In save situations last year, Squires flourished even more, posting a 1.38 ERA and a .191 batting average against. This year, he has improved on those numbers, allowing just a .160 average with 12 strikeouts in converting all five save opportunities.
Johnson had played exclusively in the middle infield and outfield before this spring, but knowing they needed to get his bat and his attitude in the lineup, the IU coaching staff put him at third base for the season opener against San Diego, a position he has played all but six innings at this season. It took him some time to get used to the throwing angle from third, but he has now gone 11 straight games without an error at the position.
At the plate, he has been second to none, posting a .333 average with seven home runs, 27 RBI, 28 runs and five stolen bases. He is in the team's top five in all of those categories. Against Ohio State last weekend, he tallied two of IU's six hits off of Alex Wimmers and went 7-for-13 on the weekend with three doubles. He has also become a hero at home, winning a lucky fan the "Yogi's First Hit of the Game" prize on four occasions.
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