Hoosiers and Gophers Set For Metrodome Series on BTN

    Go Hoosiers! Michael Earley and his teammates head north to Minneapolis for three games with the Golden Gophers.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Michael Earley and his teammates head north to Minneapolis for three games with the Golden Gophers.
    Go Hoosiers!

    April 22, 2010

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    Indiana (19-16, 5-4) at Minnesota (14-23, 4-5)
    Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome • Minneapolis, Minn.

    Friday, April 23 - 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET
    Game to be broadcast live on Hoosier Country 105.1 FM
    IU - LHP Drew Leininger (6-1, 1.20) | MINN - RHP Seth Rosin (3-3, 4.15)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Saturday, April 24 - 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET
    IU - TBA | MINN - RHP T.J. Oakes (2-2, 3.94)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    Sunday, April 25 - 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET
    IU - TBA | MINN - LHP Phil Isaakson (2-0, 3.95)
    GameTracker | Live Audio

    (starters are probable and subject to change)

    The Indiana baseball team heads north in search of its second straight series win when it takes on Minnesota in a three-game set at the Metrodome. The Hoosiers swept Iowa in Bloomington last weekend and sit at 19-16 overall and 5-4 in the conference in a tie for third place, a game back of Ohio State and Michigan. The Golden Gophers lost two of three at Northwestern last weekend and will be looking to bounce back in a series that will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.

    Indiana and Minnesota have split in each of their last two series. In 2009, the Gophers came to Bloomington and took game one, 12-5, before the Hoosiers rallied for a 3-2 win behind strong pitching from Eric Arnett in game two. The Hoosiers also topped Minnesota twice at the 2009 Big Ten Tournament, winning 12-3 in the second round and 13-2 in the championship game.

    In 2008, the two teams squared off in Minneapolis, as the Hoosiers took two from the Gophers. Minny won the first two before IU rallied for wins in games three and four, the finale an 8-7 nailbiter that saw IU break a 3-3 tie with five runs in the ninth and hold off the Gophers in the bottom of the frame.

    There may be no better turnaround in college baseball this year than the one put up by lefthander Drew Leininger. Just one year removed from posting a 9.91 ERA, Leininger has improved his numbers more than sevenfold, posting a 1.20 ERA in 60.0 innings of work.

    The southpaw leads the conference in ERA and is also best in the Big Ten with a .201 batting average against. He entered this week third in the nation in ERA. His six wins and 60.0 innings rank second in the conference.

    Leininger may have turned in his finest outing of the year against Ohio State on April 10. 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 against Louisville on March 30, a span of 32 days.

    All-America candidate Alex Dickerson is currently posting one of the most remarkable seasons in Indiana history. The left fielder is currently second in the Big Ten (behind teammate Jerrud Sabourin) with his .421 batting average and leads the conference in home runs (16), RBI (51) and slugging percentage (.822).

    Dickerson's 16 longballs are currently fourth nationally, and with his 14th homer of the year against Valpo, he became the third Hoosier in school history (Mike Smith, Josh Phegley) to have two seasons with 14 or more bombs.

    With 16 homers in 35 games, Dickerson is on pace to become just the fourth player in school history to hit 20 homers in a season. His 30 career homers are 10th in school history. He could potentially enter the school's top five in career homers (37) in just his second season.

    But perhaps the most impressive part is what Dickerson has done while out of the batter's box. The Poway native played mostly at designated hitter last year, but worked hard to improve his defense in the outfield over the summer, and has 60 putouts without an error this year.

    Sophomore 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. The hard work has paid off, as he was named Big Ten co-Player of the Week on Monday.

    Since returning from the team's Spring Trip, Lyon has a .521 average with eight doubles, one triple and seven home runs to go along with 16 RBI and 18 runs in just 48 at-bats. He leads the team with an amazing 1.167 slugging percentage and a .556 on-base percentage (1.723 OPS) over the last 17 games.

    In the Iowa series, he upped the ante, going 7-for-10 with four doubles and a homer to up his conference average to .577, second best in the Big Ten. His 1.000 conference slugging percentage is tops in the league and his .571 OBP is third in conference action.

    Indiana earned its first series win with a three-game sweep of Iowa over the weekend. It marked the third sweep in the last two years for the Hoosiers and the second straight time that IU has won all three from the Hawkeyes. Indiana outhit Iowa 41-26 in the series and just two of Iowa's hits went for extra bases.




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