Indiana Opens 2012 Campagin at Hotel Encanto Invitational

    Go Hoosiers! Heather Nelson
    Go Hoosiers!
    Heather Nelson
    Go Hoosiers!

    Feb. 9, 2012

    Hotel Encanto Invitational
     Dates Feb. 10-12, 2012
     Location Fri/Sat: Las Cruces, N.M.
    Sun: El Paso, Texas
     Game 1 (Friday) Indiana vs. UIC • 5:30 p.m. ET | GameTracker
     Game 2 (Friday) Indiana at New Mexico State • 7:30 p.m. ET | GameTracker
     Game 3 (Saturday) Indiana vs. Saint Mary's • 3:30 p.m. ET | GameTracker
     Game 4 (Saturday) Indiana vs. Santa Clara • 5:30 p.m. ET | GameTracker
     Game 5 (Sunday) Indiana at UTEP • 12:00 p.m. ET | GameTracker
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    Indiana will open the program's 39th season at the Hotel Encanto Invitational, hosted by New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M. The Hoosiers will play Illinois-Chicago to open play on Friday followed by the host NMSU. Then on Saturday, IU squares off with Saint Mary's College and Santa Clara before driving to El Paso, Texas, on Sunday to play UTEP to close the tournament.

    The Hoosiers return 11 letterwinners from last season's 37-18 team that advanced to the NCAA Regional in Columbia, Mo., including six starters.

    Returning to the fold in 2012 for the Hoosiers will be a number of experienced upperclassmen and underclassmen that broke into the lineup last season. Leading the way is junior shortstop Breanna Saucedo, who hit .326 last year and stole 15 bases. She is just the second player in IU history to lead the team in hits in her freshman and sophomore seasons.

    Another one of the top returners is sophomore outfielder Jenna Abraham, who was a Third Team All-Big Ten performer last year. Junior infielder Amanda Wagner, who was a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree in 2011 returns to help anchor the infield and the heart of the Indiana lineup after hitting six home runs and driving in 20 last year.

    The rock behind the plate that will work with the very young pitching staff is fifth year senior Cassie Gogreve. While her offensive numbers might now "wow" many, it is her defense and communication with the pitching staff that has earned her respect. Last season alone, she threw out 15 runners attempting to steal and opponents only attempted to steal a base once per game against her. In her two season with IU, she has caught 38 runners attempting to steal.

    In the circle, the Hoosiers have just one pitcher returning - sophomore Meaghan Murphy - and she threw a total of 5.0 innings in 2011. She tossed a five inning shutout against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in her only appearance. She will be used this season along with freshmen Lora Olson and Miranda Tamayo.

    The Hoosiers will have the uneviable task of trying to replace one of the best pitchers in Big Ten history as well as one of the top hitters in program history from a year ago with the losses of Morgan Melloh and Sara Olson to graduation.

    Melloh was the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year in 2011 and was named to the All-Midwest Region First Team by the NFCA. She set Big Ten and IU single-season records with 494 strikouts on the season and finished her career with 1,532 strikeouts, good for ninth on the NCAA career list.

    Olson was named First Team All-Big Ten at first base and joined Melloh on First Team All-Midwest Region from the NFCA. She hit eight home runs and drove in 35 runs on the season and finished sixth and fifth, respectively, on the IU career lists for both.

    Last season, the Hoosiers got on a roll once they returned to Bloomington following the early season tournament schedule. IU was 17-1 at home and won their final 11 home contests to close out the year.

    Overall, the Hoosiers had a 15-game winning streak during the year, 14 of which were in Big Ten play to set a school record for consecutive Big Ten victories. The 15-game win streak was the longest since a 16-game streak during the 1994 season.

    • As is the case for many teams around the country, the Hoosiers will be criss-crossing the country over the first five weeks of the season to play in a variety of tournaments. In those five weeks, the Hoosiers will play in four different time zones

    • The Big Ten Conference has changed the conferene schedule this season. This season, teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday followed by a single game on Sunday against the same opponent. In some cases, teams play one game on Saturday and then a doubleheader on Sunday. This is a change from the 2011 season that saw teams play one game on Saturday and one game on Sunday against the same team

    • The Hoosiers will play in the Phyllis Rafter Memorial tournament in Woodstock, Ga., hosted by Kennesaw State. The last time the Hoosiers played in Woodstock was 2010 - and snow nearly wiped out the entire tournament. The schedule had to be changed so the tournament was played on KSU's home field because the park in Woodstock was not playable. And in order to make the KSU field playable, the Hoosiers chose to remove two inches of snow from the entire outfield Friday afternoon so there was a chance they could play Saturday.




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