Sunday, May 17, 2009

The best-kept secret on the Bloomington campus

A sport other than football or basketball is yearning for attention from IU fans.

The IU baseball team is the third seed in the Big Ten tournament beginning Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. While the overall record was not stellar, 28-25, the conference record was an impressive 16-7. The Hoosiers had won six in a row before losing the final game of the year yesterday to Michigan State.

The team batted .322 as a team this year, while opponents batted .289. Junior Pitcher Eric Arnett has been impressive, compiling an 11-1 record and 2.89 ERA in 12 appearances. He has 93 strike-outs in 94 innings pitched.

In Big Ten play, the entire IU pitching staff has been impressive. Arnett has a 7-0 record and 2.89 ERA. Pitcher Matt Bashore is 5-1 with a 2.36 ERA in conference play, despite an overall record of 6-4 and a 3.87 ERA. Four IU pitchers have ERAs under 4 in Big Ten games.

The Hoosiers will open the Big Ten tournament against Purdue, the sixth seed in the double-elimination event. A win means a game against No. 2-seed Minnesota. All the games should be on Big Ten Network.

Last year, the team made a Cinderella run to the Big Ten semi-finals before losing to Purdue.

This program is on the rise and deserves a little more attention from the fans. IU baseball suffers from a season that begins in the winter, overlaps with basketball and ends after the students depart for summer vacation. The team plays in relative obscurity in a facility across the street from McNutt Quad.

A Big Ten title and NCAA tournament berth would be impressive for a team that has to leave town the first two months of the season to play games. Two of the Hoosiers' first 18 games were in Bloomington.

Here is a blog with game-by-game coverage of IU baseball.

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