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Friday, May 24
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Spring break brings 8 straight contests for Hoosier squad

As many IU students head to Florida next week for no work and all play, the baseball team will be playing a rigourous schedule with eight games in eight days beginning Saturday.

IU coach Tracy Smith’s squad sits at 7-4 heading into the eight-game stretch and will play seven northern teams, with Pittsburgh being the only team from a BCS conference.

With no off-days on the trip, Smith will rely on the depth of his pitching staff.

On Wednesday, seven IU pitchers took the mound against Indiana State and only two of them got more than one inning of work.

The bullpen-type sessions those pitchers threw against the Sycamores is a precursor for what Smith said he will need out of them in Florida.

“What you try to do is, your best pitchers, you would like to get maximum starts out of them down there,” Smith said. “We will try and keep them on a weekend rotation, and this is a chance for our young guys who maybe haven’t gotten chances up to this point who need to step up and take advantage of their opportunity.”

Smith said he was pleased with the recent performance of junior Chad Martin and freshman Brian Korte, and said he feels that freshman Ryan Halstead could become the Hoosiers’ closer.

Junior Blake Monar is the only Hoosier to start a game in all three weekend series so far this year, and IU has won in each of his outings.

“I still don’t think we have seen the best of Blake yet, but he has still been plenty good enough to keep us in games,” Smith said. “It’s a compliment to him when he gives up two runs and his head coach says he still isn’t sharp.”

Last year the Hoosiers captured five of seven on their spring break trip. When the Hoosiers return from Florida, they will have a weekend series with Evansville before embarking on the Big Ten schedule.

One key the Hoosiers will focus on in the Sunshine State is sustaining a winning streak. In the last two weekend series, IU has failed to win on the final day of the road trip.

“We would like to be a little more consistent on Sundays,” senior Wes Wilson said. “For whatever reason we get two wins and can’t come out with a third one. I think spring break is a chance for everybody to get a lot of reps and getting comfortable before heading into Big Ten play.”

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