posttrib
CHARMING 
Weather Updates

Indiana faces familiar foe in uncharted territory of the CWS

Indiana's catcher Kyle Schwarber andh Scott Donley celebrate their 10-9 wagainst FloridState an NCAA super regional college baseball game Saturday

Indiana's catcher Kyle Schwarber andh Scott Donley celebrate their 10-9 win against Florida State in an NCAA super regional college baseball game on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

storyidforme: 50714464
tmspicid: 18803823
fileheaderid: 8471816

Nine things to know

BUSTED BRACKET

It’s anyone’s guess which team will raise the championship trophy on June 25 or 26. Only three of the eight national seeds reached the CWS — No. 1 North Carolina, No. 3 Oregon State and No. 4 LSU. That’s tied for the fewest since the NCAA went to the current tournament structure in 1999. The five other teams that made it to Omaha won super regionals on the road, the most ever.

PRIDE OF THE BIG TEN

No pressure, Indiana, but it’s been awhile — three decades, actually — since the Big Ten has made it this far. The 1984 Michigan Wolverines were the last Big Ten team in the CWS, but the conference hasn’t won a game in Omaha since the Wolverines beat Stanford 11-4 in 1983. The last Big Ten national champion? Ohio State in 1966.

BEAVERS ON A ROLL

Oregon State’s top three starters have done all that’s been asked of them and more. Andrew Moore, Matt Boyd and Ben Wetzler have combined to go 33-5, and they’ve pitched six innings or more in 35 of their 47 starts.

NOT-sO-BRAWNY BRUINS

UCLA comes to Omaha batting .251, ranking 253rd out of 296 Division I teams. No team in the last decade has made it to the CWS with a lower average. In fact, no other CWS team over that span has come in batting lower than .271.

STRONG-ARMED RODON

N.C. State’s Carlos Rodon’s nation-leading strikeout numbers are impressive, but so is his ability to keep on dealing when other pitchers would have called it a day. The burly left-hander has started 17 games, tied for most in the nation, and has thrown 104 or more pitches in 12 of them.

DON’T FORGET Stubbs

North Carolina’s Cody Stubbs can’t escape the shadows of two teammates — No. 6 overall draft pick Colin Moran (Marlins) and third-round pick Kent Emanuel (Astros). Fact is, Stubbs would be the biggest star on most other teams. The senior first baseman, taken by the Royals in the third round, is batting a team-leading .366 and is third nationally with 76 RBIs and fourth with 26 doubles.

DOGS, BY A WHISKER

In his first 22 years as a head coach, Mississippi State’s John Cohen required players to be clean shaven. Sophomore pitcher Trevor Fitts convinced Cohen to ease the facial-hair ban after giving him a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation that showed all the baseball greats who sported beards and mustaches. Given the green light, about a dozen players put away their razors, and the Bulldogs rolled off 17 straight wins to start the season and reached the CWS for the first time since 2007.

HIT ME ONE MORE TIME

Louisville sure does have a knack for getting smacked by baseballs. The Cardinals have been hit by pitches a nation-leading 128 times. Few players have been beaned as often as Coco Johnson. The Cards’ cleanup hitter has been hit 23 times.

SLICK-FIELDING TIGERS

LSU’s .980 fielding percentage is best among CWS teams and fifth-best in the country, but the Tigers are .964 in five NCAA tournament games. Most of the sloppy play occurred in one regional game, against Sam Houston State. LSU committed five errors that day, almost 10 percent of its season total of 51.

— AP

Updated: July 16, 2013 6:17AM



BLOOMINGTON — The goal board in Indiana’s locker room could have used a tweak before the Hoosiers headed to Omaha.

Among the goals the IU baseball team came up with before the season were winning the Big Ten title, cracking the Top 25 in the polls, and making it to Omaha for the College World Series.

All accomplished. But one of the other goals was to beat Louisville two out of the three times the teams were scheduled to meet during the regular-season.

Mission accomplished there, as well. But now the Hoosiers have to try to make it three out of four as they open CWS play against the Cardinals on Saturday night.

The Hoosiers (48-14) won the season-opener against Louisville (51-12) on Feb. 15 in Tampa, 2-0. IU won again, 6-2 on March 27 in Bloomington. But the Cardinals earned a measure of revenge on May 8, capping the season series with a 4-3 win in Louisville.

“Their matchups are still nasty,” Indiana coach Tracy Smith said Tuesday. “The key to this game, I think, is you’ve got to have a lead by the fifth or sixth inning, because what they’re able to do with their bullpen is what most of the rest of us can’t do, which is play matchups each inning and still have quality.”

The Louisville pitching staff has the nation’s best rate of strikeouts per nine innings, at 9.5. Saturday’s starter, Chad Green (10-3), has 70 strikeouts in 1021/3 IP, with a 2.29 ERA.

Of course, he also took the loss in the first game between these teams.

Still, “we’re going to see a very similar guy to who we saw in Game 1 down at Florida State — a power arm, good breaking pitch,” Smith said.

The Hoosiers will counter with Joey DeNato (9-2, 2.76 ERA), who threw four scoreless innings against Louisville in the opener. The junior lefthander has 23 career wins, tied for third all-time at Indiana. He also has 208 career strikeouts, fifth-best for the Hoosiers.

IU will try to use its power against the Cardinals. The Hoosiers have hit 53 home runs this season; Louisville has 29, led by Jeff Gardner’s nine.

The Cardinals have the advantage on the basepaths, however, with 150 stolen bases. The Hoosiers have just 71.

The other half of Indiana’s four-team pod includes Oregon State and Mississippi State. Each pod plays a double-elimination tournament, with the winners advancing to the best-of-three finals.

The Hoosiers have faced Oregon State just once, losing to the Beavers in Corpus Christi, Texas, and have never faced Mississippi State. The Beavers have the best ERA of the eight CWS teams, at 2.27.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.