May 5, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
The Hoosiers (25-19) return home this weekend to take on Northwestern (14-25) in a crucial conference series. All three games this weekend will be played at Sembower Field in Bloomington. Saturday's game two will be televised on Big Ten Network at 12 PM EST. Friday's game is a 3:05 PM EST start and first pitch for Sunday will be 1:05 PM EST.
The bad news: time is ticking away for the Hoosiers, with only nine conference games left to elevate in the standings. The good news: Indiana is only a game behind Penn State for the final spot in tournament play.
IUHoosiers.com will provide a live audio broadcast for Friday and Sunday, as well as GameTracker live stats for all three contests.
Like the Hoosiers, Northwestern has dropped each of its last two conference series, posting a 2-4 record in those games. The nasty Chicago weather has also kept the Wildcats off the field, with four games either cancelled or postponed since April 19.
Junior Paul Sneider has been a dual threat for Northwestern. The utility man has carved out a .348 average with a team leading 31 RBI at the plate, and brandishes a team best 2.37 ERA in 19 innings of action on the mound.
Complete Game Notes
THE LAST TIME
The Hoosiers and Wildcats last met in the first round of the 2010 Big Ten Tournament. Indiana came away with a 5-0 victory in advancing to the second round. IU took three of four overall from Northwestern in the 2010 campaign.
Drew Leininger was lights out on the mound for IU in the B1G Tourney meeting, tossing a complete-game shutout and striking out six Wildcats along the way. The Hoosiers offense was balanced, with each starter notching at least one hit.
DOUBLE TRIPLE CROWN
Alex Dickerson, the 2010 Big Ten Triple Crown winner, is making a push to repeat that feat in 2011. The Poway, Calif., native ranks in the top-four in homeruns, RBI and batting average heading into the weekend. With three weeks left in the regular season, Dickerson is .22 percentage points, one homerun and eight RBI back from the top spot in each statistical category. Page four of the game notes has complete information on Dickerson's quest for back-to-back Triple Crowns.
WILSON HEATING UP
Senior catcher Wes Wilson was a one-man wrecking ball last week for the Hoosiers, batting .529 with three homeruns, five RBI and a 1.176 slugging percentage. Wilson recorded a hit in all four games and did not record a strikeout in 17 at-bats. He exploded for a two-homer, three-RBI, three-runs showing in the final contest of the week.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT REGULARS
Indiana is one of just two teams in the conference to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament in each of the past three seasons, including a tourney title in 2009. The Purdue Boilermakers are the only other school to reach the postseason every season since 2008.
DEMUTH DOING IT BIG IN THE BIG TEN
Freshman third baseman Dustin DeMuth leads the team with 68 hits, slotting himn second iun the Big Ten. He enters the weekend ranked in the top-30 nationally for most hits.
NEW LOOK ROTATION
The freshman duo of Joey DeNato and Brian Korte will be in the rotation together for the first time this season, and they've earned it. Since April 1st (the start of Big Ten play), DeNato has made five appearances on the mound (two starts) and owns a 2.59 ERA with 22 strikeouts. Korte, meanwhile, has started four games with a 3.57 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched. Both southpaws are holding opponents to a .200 batting average against during that stretch and have combined for three wins.
Senior Blake Monar, a mainstay in the IU rotation, has been sensational since the start of April as well. Indiana's Friday starter has grinded out 39 innings with a 2.77 ERA in his last five starts.
RECORD BOOK WATCH
Jerrud Sabourin became Indiana University's all-time Hit King on Apr. 17 when he recorded the 306th base knock of his career, surpassing the previous record holder Alex Smith (1982-86). Sabourin has started 218 consecutive games for the Cream and Crimson. Sabourin's 317 career hits entering the weekend is the second highest total in all of Division-I baseball among active players, just base knocks off the pace of Campbell's Ellis Lowe and his 320 hits.
Alex Dickerson is closing in on an all-time school record of his own, just four hoemeruns shy of setting that all-time mark. Dickerson's 44 longballs are not only third in IU history but also slot him 11th nationally among active players. And remember, the junior has done so in less than three seasons.
A complete list of all-timer records in range of being broken can be found on page 11 of the game notes.