Hawkeyes Come to Bloomington for Three-Game Set

    Go Hoosiers! Tyler Rogers brings a .522 conference batting average into this weekend's series with Iowa.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Tyler Rogers brings a .522 conference batting average into this weekend's series with Iowa.
    Go Hoosiers!

    April 16, 2010

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    Iowa (13-16, 3-3 Big Ten) at Indiana (16-15, 2-4)
    Sembower Field • Bloomington, Ind.

    Friday, April 16 - 3:05 p.m. ET
    IU - LHP Drew Leininger (5-1, 1.38) | IOWA - LHP Jarred Hippen (2-2, 3.17)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Saturday, April 17 - 1 p.m. ET
    IU - LHP Matt Igel (0-4, 8.38) | IOWA - RHP Nick Brown (2-3, 8.38)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Sunday, April 18 - 1 p.m. ET
    IU - RHP Walker Stadler (3-3, 5.36) | IOWA - RHP Phil Schreiber (3-3, 5.49)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    (starters are probable and subject to change)

    The Indiana baseball team returns to Sembower Field after a four-game respite to take on Iowa in the third Big Ten series of the year. The Hoosiers enter the weekend at 16-15 (2-4 Big Ten), while the Hawkeyes are 13-16 (3-3). Both teams won their midweek games, with Iowa dropping Wisconsin-Milwaukee 9-3 and the IU crushing Valpo 11-2. The Hawkeyes took two of three from Illinois in Iowa City last week, while Indiana lost the series at Ohio State.

    Indiana earned a road series sweep at Iowa by taking all three games from the Hawkeyes and using only 13 players in last year's series. Blake Monar and Eric Arnett each threw complete-game victories, and Matt Bashore pitched 8 1/3 innings in the series finale before Chris Squires came on to throw four pitches, the final one inducing a game-ending double play. The Hawkeye freshman pitching trio of Nick Brown, Jarred Hippen and Phil Schreiber - the same three who will start this weekend - limited IU to just a .260 batting average and 19 runs over the three-game set. Kipp Schutz led the way with five hits and four RBI, while Josh Phegley hit the only home run of the series.

    Tracy Smith is in his fifth season as Indiana baseball's head coach. In 2009, he led the Hoosiers to their first Big Ten Tournament title since 1996 and the second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. In his four years at the helm of the Hoosiers, IU is 120-141. In 13 years as a head coach, Smith has a career record of 437-361-1 (.548). Jack Dahm is in his seventh year at the helm of the Hawkeyes, where he has produced 24 All-Big Ten selections.

    The Hoosiers entered the March 9 game against Louisville with just four home runs as a team and just one longball in the previous six games. Just five weeks later, that seems like a distant memory, as Indiana entered this week 19th in the country in homers and 15th in longballs per game.

    Micah Johnson started the homer barrage against Louisville when he knocked two balls out of the yard, and IU has carried over that power surge and now leads the Big Ten with 47 homers. Indiana is currently on pace to break the school record of 82 homers, set in the 1992 season, when IU Hall of Famer Mike Smith led the nation with 27 longballs.

    The Hoosiers bashed five home runs against Miami, five at Morehead State and a Big Ten season-high six against Xavier. After not having a multi-homer game by anyone but Josh Phegley since 2004, IU has gotten two-homer games from Johnson, Jerrud Sabourin, Alex Dickerson, Michael Earley and Ethan Wilson over the last 21 contests.

    The Hoosiers have five players with at least six home runs, with Dickerson (14), Johnson (7), Earley (6), Lyon (6) and Sabourin (6) in that category. Only four other players from the Big Ten have at least six bombs. Indiana's 3-6 hitters (Sabourin, Dickerson, Earley and Lyon) have more home runs (32) than every team but Purdue (33) in the Big Ten. Dickerson alone has outhomered Minnesota (12), Northwestern (12) and Iowa (10) this year.

    In total, Indiana has hit 43 homers and 40 doubles over the last 21 games for a .569 slugging percentage as a team. Eleven different players have gone deep, 13 different players have smashed doubles and five Hoosiers have tripled in the span.

    Junior Josh Lyon was projected as Indiana's starting catcher, but did not flinch when Dylan Swift earned the starting nod with his strong play behind the plate. Instead, the Indianapolis native kept the focus on his hitting and has emerged as a force for the Hoosiers out of the DH spot hitting sixth in the order.

    Since returning from the team's Spring Trip, Lyon has a .457 average with three doubles, one triple and five home runs to go along with 11 RBI in just 35 at-bats. Amazingly, he leads the team with a 1.029 slugging percentage and a .513 on-base percentage (1.542 OPS) over the last 12 games.

    Against Ball State, Lyon mashed one of the hardest-hit balls of the season, unloading on a first-inning offering and hitting it all the way to the trees beyond straightaway centerfield at Sembower Field. He is 8-for-16 in conference play with a double and a homer in the OSU series.

    Southpaw Blake Monar came into the season as Indiana's unquestioned number one starter, but the Rockport, Ind., native suffered a shoulder injury in the season opener and had not appeared in a game on the mound since then. But that all changed when he came on in relief in the series finale against the Buckeyes.

    The sophomore struggled against his one batter, walking Ryan Dew, but reported no pain and should continue on his road back to the mound over the next few weeks.

    Though he has been unable to pitch, Monar has done everything he can for the team, serving as the first base coach for a few games and subbing in at the DH spot. In 32 plate appearances he has a .344 on-base percentage. Last year, Monar was a Big Ten All-Freshman Team honoree and was regarded as one of the top pitchers in the Big Ten in a preseason poll of conference coaches.

    Fans may have been double checking their scorecards on Tuesday against Valparaiso when number 29 entered the game. The unfamiliar face was Alex Zerman, who joined the team this week from the IU club team. Zerman is not your typical club player, as he originally went to Bradley to play baseball, but left the team after suffering an injury one inning into his first season. After graduating from Illinois Central College, he transferred to IU to finish his undergraduate degree. With the Hoosiers short on pitching this year. Zerman stepped in and did well in his debut, striking out one and allowing two hits in two innings against the Crusaders.




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