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Micah Johnson's return to lineup benefits Hoosiers


By Micah McVicker



An Indiana offense that scored 30 runs in a weekend sweep of the University of Michigan might receive a boost in this weekend’s series against the Nebraska Cornhuskers — the first time the teams have played in 106 years.

Baseball America preseason All-American second baseman Micah Johnson has been cleared to play this weekend. Whether he will, IU Coach Tracy Smith said, remains to be seen.

“I haven’t (decided) until we go through practice today,” he said. “He’ll be available whether he plays second (base) or left (field), we’re not sure yet.”

The Hoosiers are coming off their first series sweep of the season. Their three victories against the Wolverines took them from a tie for fifth in the Big Ten into a tie for second.

The Hoosiers have won six of their past eight games.

Smith said Johnson’s reinsertion into the lineup should improve the team.

“Before the season, he was one of the best players in the Midwest,” Smith said. “We’re still under .500 overall, so I think if we take one of the best players in the Midwest and throw him in there, we’re probably better.

“I understand the whole chemistry piece and all that, but it’s not like he’s disappeared. He’s been around. We’re glad to have him back. He’ll be in there and hopefully help us win some games.”

Senior pitcher Chad Martin allowed three runs on 10 hits in five innings of work in game two of Sunday’s doubleheader. The Lexington, Ky., native also struck out seven.

“We’re going to run him out there on Sunday,” Smith said. “He gave us a chance to win. He pitched himself into and out of some jams, so it was good to see. He grew up a little bit and gave us five strong innings, which is something we haven’t had on a Sunday.”

The Hoosiers earned their first win on Sunday since defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 10-5 on April 1.

“It was big because all the conference games are very, very important,” Smith said.

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