April 28, 2010
Complete Release in PDF Format
Indiana State (26-12) at Indiana (20-18)
Sembower Field Bloomington, Ind.
Wednesday, April 28 | 3:05 p.m. ET
IU - RHP Jerry Kleman (1-1, 7.36) | ISU - RHP Blake Drake (1-0, 9.72)
GameTracker | Live Audio
All-time series: Indiana leads 43-36
Last meeting: Indiana State 7, Indiana 4, 4/22/09
Last IU win: Indiana 7, Indiana State 2, 4/23/08
The Indiana baseball team looks to rebound after losing three of four contests last week when the Hoosiers play host to Indiana State on Wednesday afternoon at Sembower Field. The Hoosiers had an impressive 7-2 victory over Minnesota in the second game of the weekend series, but it was sandwiched by a pair of Golden Gopher shutouts as the Minnesota rotation cooled the red-hot IU bats to take two of three. Indiana State played host to SIU-Edwardsville on Tuesday and got a walk-off single from Ben Ferrell to post a 6-5 victory.
THE LAST TIME...
Indiana and Indiana State met twice last year, with the Sycamores prevailing in both meetings. On March 3, ISU saddled Drew Leininger with the loss in his first career start, as the Sycamores took an 11-2 victory while outhitting the Hoosiers 15-9. In the second meeting, Michael Manus picked up the win as ISU survived a late Hoosier rally to post a 7-4 win. Tyler Rogers hit a pair of solo homers and Josh Phegley added a solo shot of his own. The Hoosiers got the tying run to the plate with one out in the ninth, but Phegley and Alex Dickerson each saw their towering flyball come up short of the outfield wall.
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 124-143. In 13 years as a head coach, Smith has a career record of 441-364-1 (.548). Rick Heller is in his first year at Indiana State after a solid 10-year run at the helm of the Northern Iowa program.
DICKERSON HEATING UP
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 .410 batting average and leads the conference in home runs (17), RBI (54) and slugging percentage (.807).
Dickerson's 17 longballs entered this week fourth nationally, and with his 14th homer of the year against Valpo on April 13, he became the third Hoosier in school history (Mike Smith, Josh Phegley) to have two seasons with 14 or more bombs.
With 17 homers in 38 games, Dickerson is on pace to become just the fourth player in school history to hit 20 homers in a season. His 31 career homers are tied for ninth in school history. He could potentially enter the school's top five in career homers (37) in just his second season.
Though Dickerson struggled against the Golden Gophers, he left fans and players with a memory they will not soon forget. In Saturday's contest, he hit a 3-2 offering from T.J. Oakes seven rows deep into section 211 of the upper deck for what head coach Tracy Smith called the longest homer he had ever seen.
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, though he struggled to pick the ball up off the roof in his Metrodome debut, has 66 putouts without an error this year.
Indiana returns to Sembower Field this week for four straight games - Wednesday's with Indiana State and a three-game series with Purdue over the weekend. That could be good news for the Hoosier bats, as Indiana as a team has posted a .376 average with 21 home runs, 29 doubles and four triples in just 11 games. IU is 8-3 in Bloomington this year.
Even more pronounced is the success of IU's three big lefties, as Jerrud Sabourin, Josh Lyon and Alex Dickerson are all hitting .500 or better at Sembower. Sabourin leads the team with a .588 average at home (30-for-51), while Lyon is hitting .536 in Bloomington (15-for-28) and Dickerson is sitting at an even .500 (24-for-48). Sabourin has scored more than half (21 of 39) of his runs at Sembower Field in a span of just 11 contests.
The offensive success has not translated to its opponents, though, as visitors to Sembower are hitting just .283 with eight home runs. IU is outslugging its opposition .614 to .402 in home contests. Both of Indiana's 20-plus run games this year have come at home.
BACK IN BUSINESS
Redshirt junior Matt Carr was a big part of the IU bullpen's success in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, but the walk-on suffered an elbow injury in the team's loss to Louisville in the NCAA Tournament and spent the summer recovering from Tommy John surgery. After months of rehab, the Indianapolis native made his debut in the finale against Minnesota, going 2 2/3 innings and throwing 55 pitches, striking out three and allowing just two hits in his third career start.
Freshman walk-on Walker Stadler has been a big contributor this season, starting nine games and stepping up as a weekend starter. But with the Hoosiers getting healthy, the Glenview, Ill., native has returned to his intended role as a bullpen stalwart and has shined. In Saturday's 7-2 win over Minnesota, he came on with two on and two out in the sixth and got out of the jam. He went on to punch out three and walk two in 3 1/3 innings for his first career save. In his three relief appearances over the last two weeks he has not allowed a hit in 4 2/3 frames.