IU Closes Season vs. Purdue

    Go Hoosiers!
    Go Hoosiers!

    Go Hoosiers!
    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Closing out the 2005 season, the Indiana baseball team hosts Purdue in a four-game series on Friday-Sunday, May 20-22, at Sembower Field. IU enters the contest with a 25-27 overall record and an 8-20 Big Ten mark, while the Boilermakers sit at 22-27 and 14-10 in league play.

    The teams will open the series with a 3 p.m. start on Friday, May 20, before playing a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 21. The series concludes with a 1 p.m. finale on Sunday, May 22.

    Prior to Sunday's ballgame, seniors Corby Heckman, Joe Kemp, Brian Lortz, Steve Nielsen, Dan Pezley and Kurt Weigle will be recognized for their contributions to the Indiana baseball program.

    In addition, Indiana football head coach Terry Hoeppner will sing 'Take Me Out To The Ballgame' during the seventh-inning stretch.

    Follow all four games of the series live by clicking here.

    Hoosier Report
    After suffering a four-game sweep at the hands of Michigan last weekend, the Cream and Crimson return home for its final series of the season versus Purdue. The Hoosiers own a 126-109-2 advantage in the all-time series against the Boilermakers.

    Prior to the U-M series, Indiana took three out of four games against Michigan State. Senior right fielder Joe Kemp concluded an unbelievable weekend by being named co-Big Ten Player of the Week. The award was the third of his career, his second of the season and the fourth for a Hoosier this year (junior left fielder Jay Brant and junior designated hitter Zach Boswell).

    Kemp hit for the cycle for the first time in his career in the series-opening 15-2 victory over the Spartans. During his sophomore season, the senior just missed the cycle by a single against Ohio State (April 19, 2002). Kemp closed the series batting an astounding .600 (9-for-15) with two homers, 11 RBI, nine runs, two triples, two doubles, one steal and a 1.400 slugging percentage.

    The Hoosier bats and arms were working in unison in the club's three wins versus MSU. Indiana plated at least 10 runs in all three of the victories, while the pitching staff held the Spartans to three or fewer runs in each of the wins.

    Junior right-hander Josh Lewis went seven innings in the first contest, allowing only one run. He struck out six and did not allow a walk during his outing. Offensively, junior first baseman Ryan Parker had three singles, while Boswell was 2-of-4 with four RBI and Brant finished 2-of-4 with four runs scored.

    In IU's final two wins, sophomore Matt Saba and senior Steve Nielsen started their first Big Ten ballgames of the season and came up big. Saba earned the victory in the team's 5-3 triumph in game three, while Nielsen secured the win in the 11-3 series finale.

    Along with the aforementioned starters, sophomore Joe Trucchio carded his team-leading fourth save in game three, and junior Adam Poole recorded his first career save in game four.

    Inside Purdue
    Purdue enters the final week of the regular season in second place in the Big Ten with a 14-10 record and hold a 22-27 overall mark. The Boilermakers sit behind first-place Illinois (19-9) and ahead of third-place Minnesota (16-12) and Iowa (16-12). Prior to the Indiana series, the Boilers split a pair of non-conference games in Cleveland, Ohio, against Cleveland State.

    Last weekend, Purdue took three out of four in West Lafayette, Ind., against Iowa to leapfrog into the second spot. After dropping the opening contest of the series, the Boilermakers bounced back with wins in each of the final three games.

    Shortstop Mitch Hilligoss carried Purdue, batting .474 (9-for-19) in the set en route to being named co-Big Ten Player of the Week. The sophomore drove in three runs, including the game-winning tally, to produce an 8-7 triumph in game two. He added three more RBI and runs in two more victories, capping the final win with a two-run homer.

    For the year, Hilligoss leads the team with a .401 batting average, which also ranks third in the Big Ten, and has hit three home runs with 33 RBI and 44 runs scored.

    As a team, Purdue is last in the league in hitting with a .288 average, fifth in pitching with a 4.78 ERA and fifth in fielding percentage at .965.

    Senior Scott Byrnes leads the Boilermaker pitching staff with a team-high five wins in nine decisions and a team-best 4.06 ERA. The right-hander has struck out 50 batters in 68 2/3 innings pitched, walking 20 and allowing 31 earned runs.

    Seniors Bid Farewell
    Six Hoosiers will play their final home games at Sembower Field this weekend and will be honored prior to Sunday's season finale. Third baseman Corby Heckman, right fielder Joe Kemp, pitchers Brian Lortz, Steve Nielsen and Dan Pezley, and catcher Kurt Weigle will bid farewell to the Hoosier faithful on Sunday.

    Unbeatable After Eight
    If the Cream and Crimson hold a lead after eight innings, it is almost a sure bet to end in a victory. The Hoosiers have led 20 times through eight innings and are a perfect 20-0 in those ballgames.

    Additionally, IU is nearly flawless when scoring 10 or more runs in a contest. In 14 games in which this has occurred, Indiana holds an imposing 13-1 mark.

    Kemp Goes For The Cycle
    In IU'S 15-2 rout of Michigan State on May 6, Joe Kemp hit for the cycle for the first time in his career. During his sophomore season, the senior just missed the cycle by a single against Ohio State (April 19, 2002). Kemp closed the Michigan State (May 6-8) series batting an astounding .600 (9-for-15) with two homers, 11 RBI, nine runs, two triples, two doubles, one steal and a 1.400 slugging percentage en route to co-Big Ten Player of the Week honors. The award was the third of his career, his second of the season and the fourth for a Hoosier this year (juniors Jay Brant and Zach Boswell).

    Saba, Nielsen Step Up
    Making their first Big Ten starts of the season versus Michigan State, sophomore Matt Saba and senior Steve Nielsen gave the Hoosiers' pitching staff a much-needed lift. For the first time this year, the two pitchers led IU to victories in the final two games of a Big Ten series.

    Saba gave up three earned runs in 4 1/3 innings to pick up his fifth victory of the season against the Spartans (May 8), while Nielsen tossed five innings of two-run ball the following day in an 11-3 win. The start also was Nielsen's first since the final game of the 2004 season against Purdue (May 22).

    Back In The Winner's Circle
    Taking three out of four games against Michigan State (May 6-8), the Cream and Crimson earned its first Big Ten series victory in six attempts this season. The first time the Hoosiers have won a Big Ten set since the squad won two out of three games against Northwestern on May 16-18, 2003.

    Topping The Leaderboard
    When it comes to offense, the Cream and Crimson are near the top of the Big Ten in almost every category. Entering this week, teams are staring up at the Hoosiers in several of the league's hitting statistical rankings. IU leads the conference with 379 runs, 566 hits, 97 doubles, 20 triples and 206 walks. The Hoosiers rank second in the Big Ten with a .319 batting average and 82 stolen bases. Contributing to the team's offensive dominance, Hoosier players hold the top three spots in runs (juniors Jay Brant and Reggie Watson along with senior Joe Kemp), the first and second slots in hits (Brant and Watson) and three of the top five spots in RBI (Kemp, junior Zach Boswell and junior Ryan Parker).

    Big Ten Leaders
    Individually, junior Jay Brant leads the conference with 79 hits and 71 runs scored, while Watson is right behind him in second place with 77 hits and 59 runs. Brant also is second in the league with 26 stolen bases, while senior Joe Kemp is second with 63 RBI and third with 10 home runs and 118 total bases. In league games only, Watson sits atop the Big Ten with 33 runs, is tied with Brant for the lead with 13 stolen bases and is second with 42 hits. Brant is three runs behind Watson, tied for second.

    On the mound, junior Josh Lewis is tied for fourth in the conference with seven victories, tied for fifth with 59 strikeouts and seventh with 69 2/3 innings pitched.

    Lewis Sets Career High
    Earning the victory in IU's 10-1 win over Ohio State on April 29, hurler Josh Lewis set a new career high with his sixth win. The junior also has a career-best 50 strikeouts and is on his way to setting a new career mark in innings. He currently sits at 62 2/3 innings pitched, 3 1/3 shy of the 66 frames he threw last season.

    Hynes Back On The Mound
    For the first time this season, sophomore Chris Hynes toed the rubber against Ball State on April 19. The right-hander tossed 2/3 of an inning versus the Cardinals. It was Hynes' first appearance since suffering an injury in the opening series of the 2004 season.

    Career Firsts For Trio
    Three pitchers earned career firsts last week against Miami (Ohio) on April 13 and Iowa on April 17. Facing the Hawkeyes, junior southpaw Adam Poole pitched two innings and gave up a pair of runs en route to his first victory as a Hoosier, and freshman right-hander Chris McCombs scored his first career save. McCombs came in for Poole and tossed the final four innings of one-hit ball, surrendering one earned run and striking out three.

    In the victory over Miami, senior Joe Kemp fired a scoreless ninth to earn his first career save. Returning to the rubber for the first time since 2002, Kemp has made six appearances on the season and holds a 1.69 ERA.

    Streaking Hoosiers
    Junior Jay Brant had his 19-game hitting streak snapped against Minnesota (April 8), failing to collect a hit in two at-bats after leaving the game in the fifth inning with a broken jaw. The Indianapolis native's run was the team's longest this season, besting junior Ryan Parker's 15-gamer and senior Joe Kemp's 14-game streak.

    During the run, Brant hit a remarkable .488 (40-for-82) with two homers, 19 RBI, 34 runs and eight doubles. He also stole 12 bases in 13 attempts in the stretch.

    Ironman Returns To Field
    In the series opener against Minnesota (April 8), junior Jay Brant suffered a broken jaw and was forced to leave the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. However, the junior was back in the line up the next two days, playing the final three games of the series in left field instead of his normal second base spot.

    Upon his return, Brant wrapped up the series 5-for-11 with one RBI, five runs, two steals, one double and one triple.

    Lewis Racking Up The K's
    Josh Lewis turned in a career performance against Longwood on March 26. Pitching in the first game of the doubleheader, the junior struck out a career-high 10 Lancers, breaking his old high of seven vs. Northwestern on March 22, 2003. Lewis followed that performance with eight more strikeouts against Northwestern (April 3), earning his fifth victory in five decisions in the team's Big Ten opener. In the two starts, the Mt. Airy, Md., native struck out 18 batters while walking only two in 13 1/3 innings.

    Season-Best Performance
    Picking up season-high offensive totals, Indiana earned a 24-9 victory over Shawnee State on March 30. IU registered season-bests in hits with 22 and runs with 24, eclipsing the
    previous highs of 21 hits and 17 runs set against Illinois State on March 15.

    Additionally, sophomore Bobby Segal registered his first career hit, RBI and run in the ballgame. The Indianapolis native cleared the bases with a pinch-hit triple to left center field and scored on an infield single by freshman David Trager.

    Big Ten Players Of The Week
    With their efforts on the Hoosiers' spring break trip (March 12-20), juniors Jay Brant and Zach Boswell earned Big Ten Player of the Week selections. Brant picked up his first career honor on March 15, and Boswell scored his first accolade on March 21. The duo joins Joe Kemp, who was selected the conference Player of the Week on March 1, as winners of the award in 2005.

    Shooting Blanks
    The Indiana pitching staff recorded a pair of shutouts over spring break (March 12-20), blanking Yale, 8-0, on March 14 to go along with a 9-0 whitewashing of St. Francis-NY on March 21. With the shutouts, the Hoosiers now have four on the 2005 campaign, the most since the 2003 club recorded five.

    IU also shut out Arkansas-Little Rock, 16-0, on March 6, and closed out DePauw, 5-0, in its season opener on Feb. 22.

    Florida was very good to the Cream and Crimson, especially for three newcomers. Sophomore Joe Trucchio earned his first Division I win against Illinois State (March 15) and later in the trip picked up his first Division I save vs. Kent State (March 19).

    Offensively, freshmen Arden McWilliams and David Trager collected their first collegiate hits against St. Francis-NY (March 20). Trager also netted his first RBI against the Terriers.

    Breaking Into The Win Column
    A pair of freshman earned their first career victories at the Gent Classic. Freshman Chris McCombs fired three scoreless innings, giving up one hit with two punchouts against Centenary (March 4) as the Hoosiers rallied for a 4-3 win.

    Brad Davidson joined McCombs after throwing five scoreless innings in IU's 16-0 win over Arkansas-Little Rock (March 6). The Novelty, Ohio, native held the Trojans to two hits in addition to striking out six batters.

    All-Tournament Team
    After posting a 2-1 record at the Service Academy Classic (Feb. 25-27), senior Joe Kemp and junior Zach Boswell were selected to the all-tournament team. Kemp concluded the event 5-for-13 with two home runs, six RBI and four runs scored. In addition, the lefty picked up his first victory on the mound since the 2002 season, earning the win in Indiana's extra-inning triumph over Memphis (Feb. 26).

    Boswell crushed his first two home runs in a Hoosier uniform to go along with a pair of doubles and four runs scored. He ended the weekend 5-for-14 for a .357 average.

    Shutting The Door
    The Hoosiers' 5-0 shutout victory over DePauw (Feb. 22) was the first for Indiana since a 4-0 victory on March 4 of last season at Butler. It also was IU's first season-opening shutout since a 6-0 win against Findlay on Feb. 28, 2003, and first home season-opening shutout since Feb. 18, 2002, a 15-0 victory over Taylor.

    Return To The Bump
    For the first time since his sophomore season in 2002, Joe Kemp toed the rubber in a regular-season game. The fifth-year senior closed out IU's 5-0 season-opening victory over DePauw (Feb. 22) with a scoreless ninth inning. Kemp struck out three of the four batters he faced, walking one. In game two at the Service Academy Classic, Kemp notched his first win since 2002, as the Hoosiers defeated Memphis, 9-8, in 10 innings on Feb. 26.




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