Hoosiers and Spartans Clash in East Lansing on BTN
May 13, 2010
Indiana (24-22, 9-9) at Michigan State (29-16, 8-10)
McLane Stadium East Lansing, Mich.
All three games televised live on Big Ten Network
(starters are probable and subject to change)
IU won its second series this year, taking two of three at Northwestern this past weekend. The Hoosiers carried that momentum over into a stunning 18-7 comeback win over Kentucky on Tuesday. The Spartans were the early surprise of the Big Ten, but have lost five of six conference affairs. Still, with the logjam in the standings, every team still has a legitimate shot at winning the regular-season title.
THE LAST TIME...
IU's comeback ability was also showcased in the Purdue series, though to a much less miraculous degree. In the opener, IU rallied from an 11-4 deficit to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning of a 12-10 loss. In the Saturday game, the Hoosiers trailed 11-7 with two outs in the ninth, only to rally for the tying run with four runs in the bottom of the final frame. Chris Squires then added the finishing punch in the 11th, driving in Tyler Rogers to send the Hoosiers to a walk-off, 12-11 win. In the series finale, IU again rallied to tie the game with two outs in the ninth, as Jerrud Sabourin laced a two-run double with his back against the wall, but IU fell in 10 innings, 10-7.
MAKING A RUN
Dickerson entered this week third nationally in home runs, and with his 20th homer of the year against Northwestern on Saturday, he became just the fourth player in school history to reach the 20-homer plateau. He added home run number 21 - his fourth home run in the last seven games - to move into sole possession of third place on IU's single-season list. He now trails only Mike Smith (27, 1992) and Bill Mueller (23, 1985) on the Indiana list. Dickerson also has a greater challenge due to the reduced schedule length, as Mueller played 74 games in the 1985 season to Dickerson's 46.
Dickerson sits behind only Fresno State's Jordan Ribeira (23) and Siena's Dan Paolini (22) nationally in homers and trails only those two in homers per game as well. As of May 9, he was fourth in the nation in slugging, third in total bases, 16th in RBI, 19th in hits and 25th in batting average. He is one of just four players nationally in the top 25 in all three triple crown categories.
Dickerson's 35 career homers are seventh in in school history, and he is now just two shy of tying former MLB All-Star Mickey Morandini for fifth on the list (37). Mueller (36) sits just one home run ahead of Dickerson in sixth place on the all-time chart. Smith and Mike Sabo share the top spot, clocking in at 47 home runs apiece.
Though Dickerson struggled in the Minnesota series, 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.
He had one home run in the Purdue series and then went 7-for-12 with two bombs and six RBI at Northwestern to win his second Big Ten co-Player of the Week award. His eight home runs in conference play are tied for fifth on the school's all-time list. He could join Josh Phegley and Mike Smith as the only Hoosiers to mash double-digit homers in Big Ten action, though Phegley and Smith turned the trick when the Big Ten still played four-game series.
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 made a game-saving diving grab in the finale at Northwestern. He has 82 putouts without an error this year.
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