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Tuesday, Feb. 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Hoosiers to take on Gophers

Baseball vs. Morehead State

A 6-3 record in Big Ten play has been good enough for a share of first place in the conference thus far in 2011.

However, it hasn’t been good enough for the IU baseball team.

“We need to be better than 6-3 in my opinion, and I think everybody’s opinion, too,” senior catcher Dylan Swift said.

Despite that sentiment, the Hoosiers (25-12, 6-3) find themselves tied with Michigan State at the top of the Big Ten, as IU attempts to claim a fourth-straight conference series win this weekend against Minnesota at Sembower Field.

IU has won two of three games in each of its first three Big Ten series while ranking no lower than fourth in the conference in total batting, total pitching and total fielding. The Hoosiers have also garnered two votes in the latest USA Today/ESPN Top-25 Coaches’ Poll.

Yet the team isn’t satisfied.

“We go out to win every single game,” Swift said. “Honestly, we want to separate ourselves. We’ve said from the beginning we want to stomp throats. We want to make teams not even close to us because we’re that good.

“There’s just a confidence about our team, and I don’t think 6-3 is how good we are in the conference either.”

Swift added that IU hadn’t really given away Big Ten losses to this point. Other than a 6-1 home loss to Ohio State on April 8, the Hoosiers haven’t lost by more than one run in conference play.

Senior first baseman Jerrud Sabourin, IU’s new all-time hits leader, agreed with Swift.

“We can’t get into a rhythm of just going out there and just going through the motions,” Sabourin said. “We’ve got to keep pushing ourselves to get better. Even though we’re winning right now, I think everyone on the team feels like we should have won even more games. We should be undefeated in Big Ten right now.”

Speaking of teams expected to have won more games, Minnesota, who the Big Ten coaches voted their preseason conference champion pick, sits tied with Iowa at the bottom of the Big Ten with a 3-6 record and an 11-15 mark overall.

Even so, IU coach Tracy Smith stopped short of saying the Golden Gophers, who nonetheless remain tied for the Big Ten’s top fielding team with a .972 percentage, are struggling.

“I will not use the term ‘struggling’ in my description of them,” Smith said. “I know they were picked to win (the Big Ten). They’re a good baseball team, and if you’ve looked at what they’ve done, they’ll turn it on and figure it out.”

While the Hoosiers aren’t content with where they currently stand, Smith said his team can maintain its position in the race for the top seed in the Big Ten tournament by doing what it has been doing.

“Just win series,” Smith said. “That’s what you’ve got to do to stay in the hunt.

“It’s important for us to come out and have a good, solid home series with a good baseball team, which we’re going to get in Minnesota.”

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