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On Campus: Indiana draws Big Ten baseball preseason raves

Updated: February 18, 2013 7:50PM



Unaccustomed as they are to the lofty heights of Big Ten baseball, Indiana’s Hoosiers have been proclaimed the preseason favorites.

Credits include a 32-28 record and runnerup honors in the 2012 Big Ten tournament (lost to Purdue). Hoosier holdovers include infielder Dustin Demuth (LaPorte), who started all but three games in his sophomore season.

Demuth, who plays third base for the Hoosiers, batted .263 in his sophomore season. In his rookie year he averaged .360 and was named to the Louisville Slugger freshman All-American team.

Redshirt sophomore Scott Donley (Crown Point), who transferred from Virginia Tech, has joined the Hoosiers. Donley made the Indiana all-state team twice, batting .566 with 12 homers and 61 RBI in his junior year.

In his debut Donley poked an RBI single against No. 4 Louisville. The hard-hitting DH also drove in three runs against South Florida. Demuth rapped four hits in the two victories.

Purdue’s Kyle Upp (LaPorte), who played sparingly as a DH and catcher last year, has switched to the bullpen. The Boilers’ pitching staff includes Connor Podkul (LaPorte), who posted a 2-3 record with victories coming over Missouri and Towson. His ERA was 4.48 ERA. Purdue set a school record of 45-14 with six victories coming in Podkul’s nine starts. He was named the team’s newcomer of the year.

Freshmen on Purdue’s roster include pitcher Jordan Minch (Highland) and infielder Stefano Belmonte (Munster/St. Rita).

LaPorte native Doug Schreiber, in his 15th season, has coached Purdue to five straight tournament appearances but could be facing a rare rebuilding year

Versatile Adam Norton (Highland/Andrean) has alternated between infield and pitching at Notre Dame, which has been picked to finish third in the Big East. A career .257 hitter, he hopes to improve on a 5-5 record.

Last year Norton dazzled opponents with superb control, walking only seven in 98 innings. His seven quality starts included victories over Pittsburgh and Seton Hall, the latter coming in the Big East tournament. In nine of his 15 starts he didn’t walk anyone.

Norton struck out 61 and fashioned a 4.32 ERA.

Wrestling

Purdue’s Tommy Churchard (Valparaiso) is bidding for his second NCAA championship appearance with a 17-11 record. The 157-pounder leads the Boilermakers in reversals with 13 and is second in takedowns (56).

Teammate Frank Porras (Hobart) is 8-7 at 149 pounds.

Bucknell’s Paul Petrov (Cedar Lake/Hanover Central) owns a 16-10 record. Competing at 133 pounds, the freshman placed third in the Michigan State Open and second in the Navy Classic.

Wabash’s Austin O’Neal (Griffith) competed in the 197-pound class most of the season, but downsized to 184 to win the Mid-States Conference championship. He carried a 19-5 record into the meet.

Basketball

Defensive whiz Joe Crisman (Munster) energized Loyola with his first appearance in six games. Recovering from an injury, he toiled for 29 minutes as the Ramblers snapped a four-game losing streak. Their 14th victory doubled their total for 2011-12. The Ramblers host Valparaiso Tuesday.

Hayden Humes (Valparaiso) scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds for UIC.



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