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Saturday, Feb. 24
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU faces tough road test

For IU assistant coach Ty Neal, the matchup between the Hoosiers and Big Ten foe Michigan this weekend can be summed up in one word: battle.

“Michigan knows how to win and have a great tradition,” he said. “We are facing (Michigan senior pitcher Chris) Fetter, who quite frankly could have been the pitcher of the year in the conference last year. It’s going to be three good pitching matchups.”

IU (18-20, 8-3) travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Friday for the beginning of a three-game series against the Wolverines (22-17, 5-7). 

The opening contest, which will begin at 6:35 p.m., features a pitchers duel between IU freshman Blake Monar and Fetter. Junior pitchers Eric Arnett and Matt Bashore will take the mound Saturday and Sunday, respectively.  

Michigan, the defending conference champion, was chosen by many in the pre-season to win the Big Ten again. Though currently tied for sixth place in the conference standings, the Wolverines have taken two of their last three games.

A major reason for Michigan’s recent success has been Fetter’s pitching. The Carmel, Ind., native is third in the Big Ten with an ERA of 2.07 and boasts a 5-1 record.

In addition, Fetter will be on two weeks’ rest when he faces the Hoosiers on Friday.

“He throws from a couple of arm angles and can bring it up in the low 90s,” junior second baseman Tyler Rogers said. “He’s a very good pitcher and one of the best in the conference. Being an Indiana boy at Michigan, we would like to put it to him a little bit.”

Rogers is one IU player who could do damage against the Wolverines.

The Lafayette, Ind., native, who had two home runs against Indiana State on Wednesday, is batting .349 this season. In his past five games Rogers has eight hits, five runs scored and seven RBI.

Junior catcher Josh Phegley said Rogers’ recent play has been monumental for the team. 

“He has gone up there ready to hit,” he said. “Defensively he has been solid for us all year long. The way he comes to the field everyday, you know what you are going to get out of him.”

Monar (4-2) is coming off a no decision last week against Penn State, in which he gave up nine hits and seven earned runs in four and two-thirds innings. 

Neal said he expects Monar to get back on track against the Wolverines on Friday.
 
“Last week he didn’t have his best stuff,” Neal said of the 9-7 loss. “His biggest asset is the competitive spirit that he possesses. He’s a big game guy, and he will be ready.”

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