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Freshmen revamp IU baseball


By Zach Stavis




When the Hoosiers take the field Feb. 15 against Connecticut, a new era of IU baseball will have begun.

This year, the IU team should come alive with a new group of freshmen that are among the best recruiting classes IU has ever had.

IU Coach Tracy Smith searched for talent across both coasts, reeling in plenty of highly touted athletes to add to a solid pitching staff that includes senior ace Jonny Hoffman, junior Joey DeNato and sophomore Kyle Hart.

IU brought in Scott Effross from Twinsburg, Ohio.

Effross was 8-1 in his senior season at Twinsburg High School with a 1.52 ERA and 60 strikeouts, leading his team to a sectional championship.

Zachary Haynes, another strong pitcher, from Lexington, Ky., was also recruited by IU.
Haynes never lost a game in high school, going 15-0 with an astonishing 0.95 ERA and 6-to-1 strikeouts to walks ratio in his senior year.

On top of that, Haynes threw 13 innings of no-hit baseball en route to a district championship in 2012.

Tracy also brought in a few utility players that can both pitch and hit, including 6-foot-7-inch Evan Bell.

Bell pitched 55 innings for Blue Valley (Kan.) High School last year and recorded a 7-2 record and a 2.18 ERA.

He’s also quite difficult to handle in the batter’s box. He batted .444 last season with 24 RBI.

Bell was also voted First Team All-Kansas as a first baseman.

Along with Bell, Tracy brought in left-handed Sullivan Stadler from Glenview, Ill.

Stadler won Conference Player of the Year with impressive pitching and
hitting stats.

On the mound, he went 8-1 with 70 strikeouts and a 1.79 ERA in 43 innings.

At the plate, he hit .424 with 22 RBI and 12 steals.
These four freshmen will be huge for an already young team that features just 11 upperclassmen and four seniors.

Despite the young team, it’s not a stretch to think IU can win the Big Ten this year. Defending Big Ten Champion Purdue lost some of its top players and doesn’t have as impressive a recruiting class as IU.

This year, as the team moves into its new stadium, the Hoosiers are shedding optimism. With recruits like this, who can blame them?

­— zstavis@indiana.edu

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