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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

Hoosiers try to find success on both sides of ball before series with Iowa

Freshman Sam Travis sparks offense

Baseball vs. Xavier

Freshman Sam Travis’s RBI single in the bottom of the first gave the Hoosiers a 2-0 lead Tuesday against Xavier. The hit also extended his hitting streak to 12 games.

But he could have never played a game for IU Coach Tracy Smith in an IU uniform.

The Cincinnati Reds drafted Travis, an Orland Park, Ill., native, in the 40th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball June draft.

“It was in the back of my mind the entire time,” he said. “I really wanted to come here when I committed. It was a big part of my life. I wanted to keep going in my education and keep playing ball as well. This is a great opportunity right now. I hope to continue the success.”

Travis spent the first 13 games of his IU career at the hot corner. After spending one game as designated hitter, he has played first base in each of the past 11 contests.

“I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win,” he said. “It was a better move for our team. We started getting a little hot when I moved over there. I’ll do whatever I can for our team.”

The move allows sophomore Dustin DeMuth to move back to third base, a position in which he started 48 games this past season, including 23 of 24 in conference play.

“It’s better for us,” Travis said. “He’s playing good over there. I can do a little better at first, but I’m doing better at first than I was at third. We’re helping the team out with the defense. But we got to get rolling and get our defense a little bit better.”

Smith admitted to having played a couple guys out of position.

“We continue to struggle defensively,” he said. “In our minds, we had some guys out of position. DeMuth was not really comfortable at short. In order to get the people we want on the field, the one guy that had to move, the one guy that had the most flexibility, was Sam at first base.

Travis said playing first requires him to be more involved.

“It’s a little different,” he said. “At first base, you’re maybe a little more into the game. At third, you got to be a little more on your toes. You do at first base, as well, because you’re pretty much in every play. Every ground ball, you got to be there.

“You’re a little more in the game, a little more active. I think that’s good for me. I think that’s helping my bat, as well.”

Meanwhile, as the Hoosiers prepare for Iowa, Smith is not sure what his rotation will look like. Senior Drew Leininger pitched 1.2 innings in his start Saturday against Penn State and 1.1 innings in relief Tuesday.

“His last few weekend starts have not been good,” Smith said. “We were hoping to see a little bit of competition between him and (sophomore pitcher) Brian Korte today. I don’t think Brian was particularly sharp. We were moving (freshman Kyle) Hart to Saturday, anyway, based on how he’s been throwing, and really trying to determine who that No. 3 guy is. Based on performances today, I’m going to have a hard time figuring that out.”

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