Baseball

    Hoosiers Head to Evansville for Non-Conference Affair

    Go Hoosiers! Outfielder Kipp Schutz will play in his hometown of Evansville on Tuesday.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Outfielder Kipp Schutz will play in his hometown of Evansville on Tuesday.
    Go Hoosiers!

    May 12, 2009

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    Indiana at Evansville • May 12, 2009
    6 p.m. CDT • Braun Stadium • Evansville, Ind.

    IU - LHP Drew Leininger (0-2, 9.13) | UE - RHP Mark Obenchain (3-2, 5.50)
    Live Stats | Live Audio


    FIRST PITCH
    Indiana will take on Evansville in its final regular-season non-conference game of 2009. The Hoosiers and Purple Aces will do battle on Tuesday evening at Charles H. Braun Stadium. The game will be a homecoming for outfielder Kipp Schutz, who grew up in Evansville and attended Harrison High School. Indiana swept Northwestern over the weekend to improve to 25-24 and 14-6 in the conference. The Hoosiers are just one game behind first-place Minnesota, but they sit in fourth as both Illinois and Ohio State are half a game ahead of Indiana. IU will play host to Michigan State next weekend to complete its regular season. The Hoosiers are above the .500 mark overall for the first time since being 3-2 after the Austin Peay Invitational.

    THE LAST TIME...
    Indiana had its 2008 contest with Evansville washed out, so the last contest between the two teams came at Sembower Field in 2007. IU took a 1-0 lead on a Keith Haas RBI groundout that scored Evan Crawford, but the UE pitchers shut down the young Hoosiers from there in an 8-1 victory. Jon Fixler and Tyler Cox had two hits each in the loss for Indiana. IU used five men out of the bullpen in the contest, with Eric Arnett, Chris Squires and Joe Vicini each providing scoreless outings. Kasey Wahl hit a three-run homer in the victory for the Purple Aces. IU has scheduled Evansville every year in Tracy Smith's tenure, and is 0-2 with an 11-4 loss in Evansville in addition to the loss in 2007. Indiana is 21-14 against the Purple Aces all-time, but the two teams did not play between the 1993 and 2006 seasons.

    THE COACHES
    Indiana is in its fourth year under the direction of Tracy Smith. In his time at the helm of the Hoosiers, IU is 97-125. Smith is now 414-343-1 (.547) in his 13th season as a head coach. The 2008 season was a significant upward turn for the Hoosiers, as Indiana made its first Big Ten Tournament appearance since 2004 by rallying for a sixth-place finish in the regular season. IU then eliminated Ohio State, Illinois and Penn State at the conference tournament before falling in the semifinals to Purdue. With a 31-30 record on the season, IU had its finest season in Smith's tenure.

    Wes Carroll is in his first year at the head of the Evansville program. The Newburgh, Indiana, native was one of the best players in Evansville history, where he posted a .339 career batting average. He played in minor league baseball until the 2006 season, when he returned to Evansville as an assistant coach in charge of hitting and infield.

    BACK TO BASHICS
    After a slow start to the 2009 season, preseason Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Matt Bashore has rebounded since the beginning of conference play. The Tipp City, Ohio, native is 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings pitched in conference action. His conference ERA is the lowest of any starter in the Big Ten this season and he has allowed just three extra-base hits against conference opposition.

    Prior to his recent surge, Bashore had a 7.24 ERA and the Hoosiers were 0-6 in his starts. He had been allowing the opposition to post a .331 average against him and was walking opposing batsmen at a rate of 4.3 per nine innings.

    Bashore won against Northwestern, going eight innings and matching a season high with 10 Ks. Against Michigan and Penn State, the strikeout artist who normally gets deep into counts has come right after his opponents, inducing many more ground balls.

    Against Iowa, he matched a career high by throwing 8 1/3 innings, reaching double digits in punchouts for the first time in 2009 with 10 Ks. Bashore allowed just three hits over the first eight innings before running into trouble in the ninth. He punched out at least one Hawkeye in each of the first eight innings. He retired Iowa 1-2-3 four different times in the contest.

    ALEX THE GREAT
    While Josh Phegley is likely the most feared hitter in the Indiana lineup, freshman Alex Dickerson has begun to establish himself as one of the conference's top power hitters. Dickerson has provided excellent protection for Josh Phegley all year, hitting in the cleanup spot in every game but one.

    Dickerson is a staple among the league's top 10, as he is tied for fourth with 13 home runs and his 129 total bases are second in the conference. His .373 average (tied for sixth), .642 slugging percentage (fourth), 50 RBI (ninth) and 75 hits (tied for first) are all among the conference's top 10.

    Dickerson has already dented Indiana's freshman record books in his debut campaign, as his 13 bombs have surpassed IU's previous record, set by Mike Sabo in 1985. He is only eight RBI shy of Phil Dauphin's (1988) mark of 58 as well. Dickerson leads all conference freshmen in average, slugging, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs and total bases. IU has never had a player named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

    The Poway, Calif., native has also developed a penchant for hitting key home runs. In the opening weekend against Minnesota, he drilled a go-ahead, two-run homer in Indiana's 3-2 victory. Then in the second game against Illinois, he hit his eighth homer of the year in the top of the 10th to give IU a 2-1 victory. He added a two-run shot in the series finale and was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week.

    QUIETLY EXCELLENT
    Jerrud Sabourin had a stellar freshman year, picking up Freshman All-America honors from several publications after hitting .383 and leading all conference frosh with 53 RBI. The first baseman has followed up on that by showing strong in 2009, as he is among the league leaders with a .355 average and is fifth with 72 hits.

    Sabourin matched his career high when he had a four-hit game against Purdue on May 2. The lefty had three singles in his first four at-bats, including a bunt single in the sixth, and then came up in a pressure situation in the eighth. With the game tied 6-6 after a five-run Purdue seventh, Sabourin lifted the team on his back and drove a liner over the right-field wall for his fourth home run of the season. It marked the second time (LeMoyne on March 8) that Sabourin has notched four hits in a game.

    The San Diego native was on fire early in the season, as his average got all the way up to a conference-leading .538 early in the Spring Trip. He started the season with hits in each of the first 13 games, but has fallen back to the stratosphere since then. Still, he has 13 doubles on the year and has recorded 23 multi-hit games so far this season.

    Sabourin began the year hitting fifth, but has hit second in the order since early March. He has a .331 average, a .377 on-base percentage and a .509 slugging percentage while hitting second and has scored 35 runs since moving into the two-hole. Twelve of his 13 doubles, all three of his triples and all four of his homers have come while hitting second for IU.

    Q HIM UP
    After a tough first inning of 2009, Chris "Q" Squires has been very strong. The Ft. Wayne native has come on as of late out of the pen (3.47 ERA as a reliever) to emerge as a solid closer for IU, as his six saves are third in the Big Ten.

    Squires allowed two runs against Louisville, breaking a string of eight appearances without allowing a run. But he bounced back in a big way against Michigan. Squires closed out both of Indiana's victories on the weekend, earning a pair of saves to push his season total to five. The Wolverines got the tying run on base in both the eighth and ninth, but Squires slammed the door in both innings, striking out Chris Berset to end the game.

    On Sunday, Squires came on with two runners on and two out in a 3-1 game and got Kevin Cislo on a flyout to left to end the eighth. Michigan got the tying run to the plate in the ninth in the form of leading hitter Ryan LaMarre, but Squires caught him looking at strike three to end the contest. Squires has five saves and a 3.21 ERA in conference action.

    A key to his improvement this year has been a downturn in the free passes he has allowed. After walking 17 in 21 1/3 a year ago, Squires has allowed just 16 bases on balls in 44 2/3 innings. He collected saves against Iowa and Penn State earlier this season, striking out the side in the ninth against PSU.

     

     


       

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