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IU baseball will play two ranked teams in weekend tournament



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Then-sophomore Tommy Sommer pitches April 10, 2019, at Bart Kaufman Field. IU will travel this weekend to Greenville, North Carolina, for the Keith Leclair Classic. IDS file photo and Claire Livingston

IU baseball will play its second round robin tournament in a row when it faces three teams in the 17th annual Keith LeClair Classic this weekend in Greenville, North Carolina.

The team is scheduled to play No. 21 East Carolina University at 4:30 p.m. Friday, High Point University at noon Saturday and No. 15 University of Mississippi at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The Hoosiers, who have a 4-2 record, look to continue their four-game win streak this weekend. Ole Miss and East Carolina will be difficult teams to beat.

Ole Miss has a 7-1 record and is on a seven game winning streak. The team’s only loss was in its first game of the season against No. 3 University of Louisville. East Carolina is on a four game winning streak with a 7-1 record.

IU has only played six games while East Carolina and Ole Miss have both played eight. High Point has played nine games.IU had a week off because its midweek home opener against Butler University on Wednesday was canceled due to bad weather.

IU’s pitching carried the team to three wins in the South Alabama Invitational last weekend. Both the starters and the bullpen performed well, only allowing two earned runs in three games. Sophomore Gabe Bierman pitched more than six innings against No. 30 South Alabama University on Feb. 22. 

Ole Miss also boasts a strong pitching staff. Sophomore Doug Nikhazy, who started Feb. 21 in the team’s series against Xavier University last weekend, pitched six innings without allowing any hits. He struck out nine of the 20 batters he faced that game. Freshmen Drew McDaniel and Jackson Kimbrell both pitched hitless innings Feb. 21 to pull off a combined no-hitter for Ole Miss.

The Rebels’ starter on Feb. 22, sophomore Gunnar Hoglund, struck out 12 of 22 batters faced and did not allow any runs from the Musketeers. Neither of the Rebels’ relief pitchers allowed any hits or runs that game.

East Carolina has a formidable pitcher in Junior Alec Burleson. He started in the first game of the team’s series against Georgia Southern University on Feb. 22, and pitched eight innings and only allowed two hits.

The Hoosiers hit well in their last three games. They had 11 hits in the first game and nine in the second. They had six hits in the third game, but scored 12 runs.

IU’s hitting last weekend was led by junior outfielder Elijah Dunham, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. Dunham hit 7-11 in the South Alabama Invitational, bringing his average up to .476 for the season. He hit a three-run home run and two doubles in the tournament.

Junior infielder Cole Barr and sophomore outfielder Grant Richardson have also been major offensive players for the Hoosiers this season. They both hit home runs last weekend. Richardson has a .389 batting average for the season and Barr’s average is .217 for the season. Barr has batted in runners on each of his five hits and two of those five were home runs.

Junior infielder Anthony Servideo hit well for Ole Miss in their series against Xavier last weekend. He hit a three-run home run on Feb. 22 and a two-run home run on Feb. 23. Servideo has a .429 batting average for the season.

High Point has a 5-4 record and is on a three game losing streak. The team had five errors against Towson University on Feb. 22 and four against North Carolina Central University on Tuesday.

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