May 3, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
Indiana Baseball (22-23, 9-6 Big Ten) returns home this weekend when Nebraska visits Sembower Field. This will mark the first ever conference meeting between the Hoosiers and Huskers. Nebraska (28-16, 8-7) is currently tied for fourth in the Big Ten standings, one game behind Indiana.
The series starts a day later than usual, with first pitch for game one set for 1 pm on Saturday (May 5.). Games two and three will follow on Sunday and Monday with start times of noon and 1 pm, respectively. Sunday's tussle will be televised live on the Big Ten Network and IUHoosiers.com will be providing an audio broadcast for Saturday and Monday (live stats for all three contests). Jeremy Gray will be on the call with the play-by-play. In-game updates can also be found on Twitter, simply follow @KKatIU.
Saturday's series opener marks the first game between the two programs since 1906, when the Huskers made the trip to Bloomington. Overall, the teams have met five times, with all five games held in Bloomington and the Huskers hold a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series. The series started in 1899, with games following in 1900, 1901, 1905 and 1906.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCH-UPS
Saturday, May 5 - 1 pm EST
LHP Joey DeNato (7-1, 2.15) vs. LHP Kyle Kubat (2-0, 2.45)
Sunday, May 6 - Noon EST
LHP Kyle Hart (3-4, 3.34) vs. RHP Brandon Pierce (5-2, 3.78)
Monday, May 7 - 1 pm EST
RHP Chad Martin (0-3, 5.90) vs. LHP Zach Hirsch (4-3, 5.10)
Complete Weekend Notes
BIG TEN??? MORE LIKE BIG CLUTTER
With just three weeks left in the Big Ten season, the conference standings remain a log jam. One loss can send a team from second to seventh place overnight. Conversely, a series sweep could potentially ascend a team from the league cellar to a spot in the top-six (qualifying for the Big Ten Tournament).
Micah Johnson MEDICALLY CLEARED TO RETURN
Preseason All-American Micah Johnson, who has been relegated to a pinch-running role since undergoing elbow surgery in late February, is expected to make his return to the lineup this weekend. Originally thought to miss the entire season, Johnson's rehab was ahead of schedule and the dynamic junior has been medically cleared to step back in the batters' box.
DeNATO'S RECORD BOOK ASSAULT
Joey DeNato put on a record-breaking show on April 27, striking out 12 Wolverines; the most in school history during a conference contest. With 11 regular season games remaining and the potential for postseason contests, DeNato is also creeping up on the all-time top-10 for several single-season statistical rankings. In order to crack IU's top-10, the southpaw needs one more win, 22 strikouts or 15 innings pitched. In addition, his 2.15 ERA entering the weekend is just .07 percentage points from also breaking into the top-10.
JOEY BEING JOEY
Joey DeNato has:
Allowed one or less earned runs in seven of 11 starts
Posted a `quality start' (min. of 6.0 IP and 3 ER or less) in 9 of 11 starts
Started all five Friday night Big Ten games, all victories for IU
COACH SMITH TALLIES WIN #500
Indiana's doubleheader sweep at Michigan last Sunday earned Head Coach Tracy Smith the 500th and 501st wins of his career. `Skip' is now 501-421 as a head coach.
HOOSIERS ALL OVER WEEKLY CONFERENCE HONORS
The Big Ten Conference awards a Player, Pitcher and Freshman of the Week each Monday throughout the season. Through 11 weeks, a conference-best 10 Hoosiers have been recognized by the league office. Sam Travis leads the way with four such laurels, winning back-to-back Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week accolades (March 26 & April 2). A complete list of Hoosier winners is below:
Chris Sujka: Freshman (February 27)
Kyle Schwarber: Freshman (March 5; April 30)
Joey DeNato: Pitcher (March 19)
Sam Travis: Player (March 26/April 2); Freshman (March 26/April 2)
Kyle Hart: Freshman (April 23)
Justin Cureton: Player (April 30)
Indiana's 10 honorees are followed by: Purdue (9), Illinois (5), Northwestern (3), Nebraska (3), Michigan State (3), Michigan (2), Iowa (2), Ohio State (2), Penn State (2) and Minnesota (1).
FRESHMAN: HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE
Fifty-three percent of Indiana's starters through 45 games have been freshmen (239 of 450; counting pitchers). The Hoosier youth increases even more when including only position players in the batting order (no pitcher/DH), with 59% of starts coming from freshmen. In fact, there are no senior position players on the IU roster and just two senior pitchers. Indiana's offensive production has been fueled by rookie Hoosiers:
PERCENTAGE OF OVERALL TEAM PRODUCTION COMING FROM FRESHMEN
Homeruns: 69% (22 of 32)
Runs Batted In: 65% (148 of 229)
Doubles: 59% (47 of 79)
Runs Scored: 57% (145 of 254)
Hits: 55% (226 of 411)
THE FRIENDLY CONFINES OF SEMBOWER FIELD
Sembower Field has been very kind to juniors Michael Basil and Jonny Hoffman, as well as sophomores Dustin DeMuth and Walker Stadler. In 15 games at home, DeMuth is hitting .455 with three 10 runs batted in, four doubles and a triple. Basil is right behind him batting at a .407 clip with four doubles, a triple, 12 RBI and a .661 slugging number. On the mound, Hoffman has made a six appearances in Sembower and has gone 11.2 innings in relief, striking out 10, holding the opposition to a .226 batting average en route to a 1.54 ERA. Stadler, meanwhile, has made five appearances spanning 11 innings with 10 Ks and a 1.64 ERA.