Never in the past has a summer been so busy for an IU baseball team.
Hoosiers earned All-American honors while recruits and past players have been drafted. It is easy to forget the most important aspect of the “off season” – summer league baseball.
The squad features many dispersed members honing their crafts, so the team who finished third in the Big Ten Tournament can improve on their 31-30 season record.
Some of the most noteworthy Hoosiers are Matt Carr, the team’s Cape Cod League members and Jerrud Sabourin.
Hot summer pitcher
Carr could prove to be the linchpin in the Hoosiers’ staff come spring, as he aims to secure the third spot, and final weekend start, in the rotation.
And judging by the righty’s performance so far this summer with Anderson (Ind.) Servants of the wood bat Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, Carr wants the spot bad.
In four appearances the Indianapolis native is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA, two complete games, a shutout and 16 total strikeouts.
After his two complete games, Carr was named the league’s pitcher of the week for the week of June 24.
It is easy to see why Carr’s name was mentioned by head coach Tracy Smith earlier this summer amongst Eric Arnett, Kyle Leiendecker and recruit Drew Leininger as possible pitchers to fill out the staff’s weekend rotation.
At the Cape
IU has three members in the Cape Cod League, the strongest of the summer wood-bat leagues.
Two Hoosiers are members of the Wareham (Mass.) Gatemen.
Staff ace Matt Bashore has struggled so far this summer after picking up First Team All-Big Ten honors and recording the second-most innings pitched at 82.2 last season.
The lefty currently has a 3.00 ERA, but has one loss in only six innings pitched. In those six innings the Tipp City, Ohio native has 9 strikeouts, but also two walks, two wild pitches and plunked one batter.
Gatemen and Hoosier teammate of Bashore’s Kipp Schutz has also had a slow summer. Since, however, Schutz has flashed some real power at the plate with 3 home runs in 68 at bats. With the lumber, he has a .235 batting average, with three doubles, six RBIs and four walks.
Also in the Cape, but with the Cotuit (Mass.) Kettleers is Hoosier infielder Evan Crawford.
Similar story to Bashore and Scutz, Crawford struggled early.
Since the bumpy start, Crawford has raised his batting average 135 points, hitting .237 in 59 at-bats. He is also tied for the team lead in stolen bases with five.
Crawford leads his summer club in errors with seven, much like he did with the Hoosiers last season with 20, but has played 11 of his 18 games in the outfield.
Jerrud Sabourin transferred to IU from Arizona after arriving to campus in Tucson, Ariz., and being cut. Sabourin proved the Wildcats mistaken in letting him go by throwing together a Freshman All-American season.
But with that in the first basemen’s rear view, Sabourin is now focused on turning out another great season by honing his craft in his hometown of San Diego.
Sabourin is playing for the San Diego Mavericks, a member of the Western Baseball Association, a wood-bat semi-pro league like Carr’s Servants.
In 97 at-bats the left-handed hitter boasts a .412 batting average, leading the team.
He is also atop the team in doubles with 19, RBIs with 26 and walks with 12 – each number more than doubling the team’s second ranked hitter in its respective category.
Sabourin’s slugging percentage is nearly .150 points higher than any other Maverick, and he has struck out only three times.