April 17, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The 18th ranked Indiana University baseball team (22-11, 8-1 Big Ten) plays host to the Michigan State Spartans (20-14, 5-4 Big Ten) this weekend at Bart Kaufman Field. The Hoosiers have won 10 of their last 11 games overall, including six straight in conference play. On Wednesday, Tim O'Conner delivered a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Hoosiers a 1-0 victory over Western Kentucky. It was the first walk-off victory for the Hoosiers since Chad Clark's home run against Valparaiso in the NCAA Regional last season. Indiana senior LHP Joey DeNato will take the hill in Friday's game sitting just 6.0 innings shy of tying the IU career record for innings pitched. He is already the school's strikeout (257) and wins (31) leader. Junior C Kyle Schwarber enters the weekend with a 14-game hit streak going. Senior 3B Dustin DeMuth has a streak of his own going, having reached base safely in 30 straight games this season. In Big Ten play, the Hoosiers lead the conference in team batting (.336) and team ERA (1.89). Last season in East Lansing, the Spartans swept the three game series against Indiana, with all three victories coming in walk-off fashion.
Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday, April 18 - 7:05 pm ET
Sr. LHP Joey DeNato (7-1. 2.43) vs. Jr., RHP Mick VanVossen (5-1, 2.55)
Saturday, April 19 - 2:05 pm ET
So. RHP Christian Morris (2-2, 2.61) vs. S0., RHP Justin Alleman (4-1, 2.90)
Sunday, April 20 - 1:05 pm ET
TBA vs. r-Fr., LHP Cam Vieaux (5-2, 1.62)
Indiana had recorded just one hit against Western Kentucky as the teams headed to the 10th inning. But Will Nolden poked one through the right side and then stole second base with two outs. Tim O'Conner then delivered the two-strike RBI single that landed on the right field chalk to score Nolden easily and give IU the 1-0 victory. It was the first walk-off win for Indiana since May of 2013 when Chad Clark sent a home run out to left field in the NCAA Regional against Valparaiso.
Indiana's staff earned run average of 2.71 is the best in the Big Ten, and one of just two teams with a team ERA of less than 3.00. In Big Ten play (9 games), that team ERA drops all the way down to 1.89, also tops in the conference by over half a run. IU has four of the top-10 individual ERAs in the conference (all games); represented by Scott Effross (1st, 1.57), Kyle Hart (6th, 2.29), Joey DeNato (8th, 2.43) and Christian Morris (10th, 2.61). The team ERA ranks 26th in the country entering play this week.
NOLDEN NAILS `EM
Outfielder Will Nolden has earned his reputation as one of the best throwing arms in the Big Ten, and he showcased that right arm against Western Kentucky. In the seventh inning of a scoreless game, he rifled a perfect throw to the plate to cut down the go-ahead run. He has 15 career outfield assists. Later in the game, he would come around to score the winning run in the 10th inning after reaching on a single earlier in the frame.
Freshman relief pitcher Jake Kelzer has one of the biggest arms in the bullpen for the Hoosiers. In his last three outings, he has registered nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings while giving up just three hits. For the season, he has racked up 25 strikeouts in 14.2 innings of work.