IU comes off three consecutive series victories against favored opponents and will now be hosts to Xavier at Bart Kaufman Field this weekend for a three-game non-confe rence series.
Riding a 25-18 season record and a 7-3 conference record to second place in its conference standings, Xavier has played its way to a 5-2 record against Big Ten opponents this season, beating Penn State twice and Ohio State three times.
Led by junior infielder Rylan Bannon with a .322 season batting average and a team-high 12 home runs, the Musketeers have four batters hitting above .280 and have averaged 7.1 runs per game in their last seven games.
Xavier’s last series against Creighton featured just one game because the last two were cancelled due to weather conditions. In its last series against Butler, the Musketeers outscored the Bulldogs 33-18, including a 17-run game that featured a 6-for-6 showing at the plate from Bannon and a 4-RBI game from senior outfielder Joe Gellenbeck and junior infielder Mitch Gallagher.
On the mound, all three of the Musketeers’ regular weekend starters — junior Zac Lowther, junior Garrett Schilling and senior Greg Jacknewitz — have ERAs below 4.00, and none of the pitchers allowed more than three earned runs in the Butler series. Jacknewitz threw seven innings in the season finale and allowed three hits and two runs.
The most dangerous arm out of the Musketeer bullpen is sophomore Matt Kent, who has pitched 36.2 innings, allowed six earned runs and boasts a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 28-to-8.
IU senior outfielder Craig Dedelow earned IU’s last win against Maryland with a seventh-inning grand slam, his 11th home run of the season. Of the nine batters in the Hoosiers starting lineup, Dedelow has the worst batting average, with .246, but the senior is second on the team with a .497 slugging percentage.
Sophomore designated hitter Matt Lloyd leads IU with a .320 batting average, and freshman Matt Gorski is the only other Hoosier hitting above. 300. Five other IU batters have worked their batting averages above .260.
Unlike Xavier, no regular IU starter has an ERA below 4.00. Sophomore ace Jonathan Stiever had his last start against Maryland cut short by rain after three innings of one-hit baseball. Before the Maryland start, Stiever posted his best start of the season at Michigan, pitching seven shutout innings against the top-25 Wolverines.
IU begins the series against Xavier at 6:05 p.m. Friday and finishes with two afternoon games Saturday and Sunday.
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