May 12, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
With just two weeks remaining in 2011 regular season, Hoosier Baseball (27-21, 8-10) plays host to a critical weekend series versus Big Ten-leading Michigan State (31-15, 13-5) starting on Friday at 3:05 pm. Saturday's game is also set for a 3:05 first pitch and will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. The series concludes with a 1:05 pm Sunday showdown.
Indiana's home finale takes place on Tuesday (May 17) at 3:05 pm when the Louisville Cardinals come to town.
Six games are left in the Big Ten season, and the Hoosiers enter the weekend tied with Penn State for the uber-important sixth spot in the conference standings as only the top-six qualify for the Big Ten Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR THE MSU SERIES
Friday- LHP Joey DeNato (6-3, 2.52) vs. RHP Kurt Wunderlich (8-1, 3.13)
Saturday- LHP Drew Leininger (4-3, 4.94) vs. RHP Tony Bucciferro (7-2, 3.38)
Sunday- LHP Blake Monar (5-3, 3.24) vs. RHP Andrew Waszak (4-2, 4.01)
Indiana Athletics will honor the team's seniors on Sunday as Matt Carr, T.C. Knipp, Brian Lambert, Jerrud Sabourin, Dylan Swift, Wes Wilson and manager Joanna Halls hope to go out with a win in their last Big Ten at Sembower Field.
IUHoosiers.com and Jeremy Gray will provide an audio broadcast for Friday and Sunday's tussles.
Complete Game Notes
Senior catcher Wes Wilson has been been heating up down the stretch run, batting .359 with three homeruns, six RBI and five doubles in the last 10 games for a .718 slugging percentage.
Justin Cureton has had a hot bat as well, swinging at a .368 clip with two RBI and two runs scored in the last six games. He has also swiped a pair of bags in that stretch.
The past two weekends have been spectacular for Blake Monar. In two starts, the southpaw owns a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 IP with 11 strikeouts and a `W.'
Micah Johnson, "the Big Ten's leader in swag," is riding a six-game hitting streak into the weekend series. During that span, Johnson has tallied a .500 avg., .722 slugging, a homer, five RBI and five runs scored.
DENATO TOPS THE LIST(S)
Freshman Joey DeNato's Big-Ten-Pitcher-of-the-Week-winning performance last week vs. Northwestern has vaulted him to the top of the conference's ERA rankings. DeNato's 2.52 ERA isn't his only league-best statistic, however. The southpaw has picked off an astonishing 10 runners on the season (IU has 27 as a team). The next closest Big Ten TEAM has pegged just 11 base runners.
LEININGER ... ALL HE DOES IS WIN, WIN, WIN
Drew Leininger has made seven starts on the mound this season, and is scheduled to do so once again on Saturday. Good things tend to happen for IU when Leininger takes the bump in the first inning. The Hoosiers are 5-2 in games which he starts this season.
LOOKING IN THE MIRROR
While the Hoosiers are expected to send a trio of lefties to the mound this weekend, Michigan State will do the opposite with a rotation filled by three right-handed hurlers. This could bode well for Indiana as the Hoosier success rate has been higher versus righty starters (16-10 record) than southpaws (11-11).