Indiana Journeys to Ohio State
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Hitting the road for the third time in four weekends, the Indiana baseball team faces Ohio State in a four-game series Friday-Sunday, April 29-May 1. IU enters the contest with a 21-19overall record and a 4-12 Big Ten mark, while OSU sits at 20-14 and 4-9 in league play.
The teams will open the series with a 6:35 p.m. (EDT) start on Friday, April 29, before playing a doubleheader at 4:05 p.m. on Saturday, April 30. The series concludes with a 1:05 p.m. finale on Sunday, May 1.
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Indiana travels to Ohio State for a four-game series against the Buckeyes this weekend. IU is coming off a 16-2 drubbing of IU-Southeast on Wednesday, April 27. Its game against Marian was canceled due to inclement weather on Tuesday, April 26.
Seniors Corby Heckman and Joe Kemp each had a pair of runs scored and four RBI. Heckman was 3-for-4, while Kemp was 2-for-4, leading the 17-hit attack. Juniors Jay Brant and Reggie Watson, along with sophomore Josh Richardson and freshman Tyler Cox each crossed home plate twice. On the mound, sophomore Matt Saba earned his fourth victory in five decisions this season.
Last week, the Cream and Crimson posted a 1-4 mark, falling to Ball State and losing three of four to Illinois.
The Hoosiers twice fought back from six-run deficits and erased a three-run hole in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a 14-13 victory in nine innings versus the Fighting Illini on April 23. Indiana entered its last at-bat trailing 13-10 before staging a strange, yet dramatic comeback.
It appeared the ballgame was coming to a close as junior Ryan Parker hit a pop up into the snow flurries to second baseman Shawn Roof. However, Roof dropped the ball, allowing Parker to reach safely and Brant, who reached on a base knock to left, to advance to third.
Junior Zach Boswell followed with a three-run inside-the-park homer that went under a bench in the Illinois bullpen in the right field corner. The round-tripper was Boswell's seventh of the season, but more importantly, it tied the game at 13-13.
Neither team scored in the eighth, and IU played some small ball to clinch the contest in the ninth. Brant opened the inning with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kemp. On the first pitch to Parker, Brant took off and stole third without a throw, and Parker followed with a one-hopper off the wall in right center field to plate Brant with the winning run.
Inside Ohio State
Ohio State enters the weekend with a 20-14 mark and a 4-9 record in the Big Ten. OSU only played one out of the four scheduled games against Michigan last weekend due to heavy snow in Ann Arbor, Mich. In the contest, the Wolverines dropped the Buckeyes, 11-3, on Friday, April 22. Prior to its match up versus Michigan, Ohio State lost three out of four games in Columbus, Ohio, against Michigan State.
On Wednesday, April 27, OSU scored a doubleheader sweep of Eastern Michigan, taking the opener by a 10-3 mark and coming back with a 3-2 win in the nightcap.
The Buckeyes are one of the most fundamentally sound teams in the conference, sitting atop the standings with a .971 fielding percentage. OSU is also more than formidable on the mound, holding second in the league with a 3.80 ERA. However, Ohio State is struggling at the plate, placing eighth with a .290 average.
Cory Luebke and Dan DeLucia both rank third and fourth in the Big Ten, posting a 2.58 and 2.83 ERA, respectively. Luebke, a freshman southpaw, is 3-2 on the season with two complete games in seven starts in addition to striking out 33 and walking 11 in 45 1/3 innings of work. Teams are batting a paltry .244 against Luebke.
DeLucia has started eight games on the campaign and fired 47 2/3 innings en route to a 2-3 mark. The sophomore left-hander is the team leader with 33 strikeouts.
Richardson Ripping It
Along with the arrival of Big Ten play, Josh Richardson has seen a sharp increase in his batting average. The junior has posted a .439 mark, the fourth highest in the league. Richardson also ranks in the top 10 with 25 hits (2nd), .a .492 on-base percentage (5th) and 13 RBI (t-7th).
Richardson has lifted his overall average to .360, third on the team, and has recorded a hit in 11 of his last 12 games.
Lortz Short On Luck
In his last two starts, senior Brian Lortz has pitched two gems but has come up as the tough-luck loser in both games. Against Illinois (April 23), the right-hander took a 3-0 lead into the top of the seventh and retired the first two batters in the inning. However, the next three men reached, and Drew Davidson blasted a grand slam for the Illini victory.
Prior to the U of I game, Lortz gave up two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings in a 3-2 extra-inning defeat versus Iowa (April 16). The Noblesville, Ind., leads all Hoosier starters with a 4.40 ERA in eight starts this season to go along with 32 punchouts and only 12 bases on balls.
Big Ten Leaders
Entering this weekend's series, teams are staring up at the Hoosiers in the Big Ten's hitting statistical rankings. With its .329 batting average, IU leads the conference in addition to topping the league with 306 runs, 462 hits, 78 doubles, 18 triples, 66 stolen bases and 172 walks.
Individually, two Hoosiers lead the league in six categories. Junior Jay Brant is the Big Ten leader in runs (59), hits (66), doubles (14), total bases (95) and stolen bases (22). Junior Reggie Watson is deadlocked for the conference lead with five triples. On the mound, junior Josh Lewis is tied for fourth in the conference with five victories, fifth with 56 2/3 innings pitched and eighth with 43 strikeouts.
Hynes Back On The Mound
For the first time this season, sophomore Chris Hynes toed the rubber against Ball State on April 19. The right-hander tossed 2/3 of an inning versus the Cardinals. It was Hynes' first appearance since suffering an injury in the opening series of the 2004 season.
Career Firsts For Trio
Three pitchers earned career firsts last week against Miami (Ohio) on April 13 and Iowa on April 17. Facing the Hawkeyes, junior southpaw Adam Poole pitched two innings and gave up a pair of runs en route to his first victory as a Hoosier, and freshman right-hander Chris McCombs scored his first career save. McCombs came in for Poole and tossed the final four innings of one-hit ball, surrendering one earned run and striking out three.
In the victory over Miami, senior Joe Kemp fired a scoreless ninth to earn his first career save. Returning to the rubber for the first time since 2002, Kemp has made six appearances on the season and holds a 1.69 ERA.
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.
Lewis Racking Up The Ks
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.
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 1,065 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 Bump
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.
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 attended 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.
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