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Wilhite heating up for Hoosiers #iubase

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Since becoming Indiana’s starting third baseman over the last three weeks, Brian Wilhite is experiencing unprecedented success throughout his game.

As a player perhaps known more for his glove than his bat, Wilhite has used both facets to become a fixture in the field and at the bottom of the Hoosier lineup, where he has recorded a hit in seven of the last nine games. Friday was more of the same from the junior after he supplied a two-run double and several athletic plays on the left side of the infield.

“I’ve been really impressed with Brian,” Lemonis said. “Offense hasn’t always been his strong suit but he’s had one big at-bat a game for the last couple weeks.”

This isn’t Wilhite’s first time as a starter. Wilhite filled in at shortstop after Nick Ramos went down with a hand injury in March, then suffered his own setback after he was hit in the eye with a Wiffle ball and missed the final two weeks of March. While Isaiah Pasteur struggled down the stretch, Lemonis reinserted Wilhite in the lineup, and the Illinois native is making it hard to take him out.

Six of Wilhite’s 12 RBIs this season have come in the last seven games.

“I’ve never hit like this and it’s nothing exceptional,” said Wilhite, who’s batting .256 over 38 games. “I’ve always been more of a defensive guy. So for me, it’s just a huge boost especially on the defensive end when I can get quality at bats. It’s definitely been a big lift for me.” (more…)

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Hart shuts down Radford in 7-1 Indiana win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — He’s been the stopper for Indiana’s starting pitching woes over the last month of the season, but even Kyle Hart has seen his fits and struggles.

The first couple innings tend to be an adventure for the left-hander, who requires a frame or two before he can settle into each start. So after he put two runners on base with no outs in the bottom of the first, Hart figured he was heading down the same road as usual. It was no time to panic, but a moment that required focus and, maybe, a bit of luck.

Then it happened — a strikeout, a runner caught stealing and another left to dry between third base and home plate — all in the same sequence, a triple play that propelled Hart to his finest start of the season.

Hart set season highs with seven innings and six strikeouts, leading the No. 3 Hoosiers to a 7-1 victory over No. 2 Radford in the Nashville Regional opener at Hawkins Field. The win keeps the Hoosiers in the winner’s bracket and sets up a matchup with No. 1 Vanderbilt Saturday at 8 Eastern. Christian Morris will make the start for IU.

Friday was an afternoon two years in the making for Hart, who did not appear in a game during each of the last two years’ worth of NCAA Tournament appearances for Indiana. He was exceptional in his third consecutive start of six innings of more, earning a critical win that keeps the Hoosiers away from elimination.

Afterward, he credited the triple play for turning an ominous start into a moment of Hoosier baseball history.

“That was probably the luckiest play I’ve ever been a part of, ever seen,” Hart said. “That totally revamped my start and I don’t think I would have had the type of success I had without that play.” (more…)

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Live blog: Indiana vs. Radford #iubase

FINAL: Indiana 7, Radford 1. The Hoosiers received a stellar start from Kyle Hart, turned a triple play and advanced to play the winner of Vanderbilt-Radford on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

EIGHTH INNING: Kyle Hart’s day is done after a season-high seven innings. Hart through first-pitch strikes to 17 of the 24 batters he faced and cruised through his best start of the season on 92 pitches. He’s replaced by Thomas Belcher, who worked out of a two-on two-out jam by inducing an inning-ending groundout from Johnsonbaugh. INDIANA 7, RADFORD 1.

SEVENTH INNING: Indiana added three runs in the seventh, including a two-out, two-run homer to right by Craig Dedelow. Nick Ramos also scored on a double play ball off the bat of Scott Donley earlier in the inning. Radford got one run back, ending Hart’s shutout on an RBI groundout by Hunter Higgerson. INDIANA 7, RADFORD 1.

SIXTH INNING: Kyle Hart continues to deal for Indiana. Hart has a season-high six strikeouts on only 78 pitches. He’s retired 10 in a row and has Indiana in good shape a weekend-opening win. Hart threw only 10 pitches in the sixth, also putting himself in good position to go at least one more inning. That’s important if IU coach Chris Lemonis chooses to go with a staff day on Saturday. Without getting deep into the bullpen — or into at all so far — IU could go with a Harrison/Effross, Harrison/Kelzer combination on Saturday. But that’s looking ahead. INDIANA 4, RADFORD 0.

FIFTH INNING: This seems to be Kyle Hart’s most pitch efficient start of the season. The left-hander stands at 68 pitches after five innings after throwing a 68 mile per hour fastball by Brad Keen for the final out of the fifth. Hart has now retired seven batters in a row. Despite action in the Radford bullpen, Boyle remained in the game and retired IU in order in the top half. He’s 84 pitches through five. INDIANA 4, RADFORD 0.

FOURTH INNING: Indiana extends their lead to 4-0 and gets the Radford bullpen into action. Credit Brian Wilhite with getting it going. Wilhite, who has been the focus of a few clutch plays down the stretch this season, made great contact on a 2-1 fastball and drove it to the left-center gap for a two-run double. Nick Ramos brought him home on a triple — IU’s second of the day — to the same spot. In the bottom half, Kyle Hart continues to cruise. Hart has thrown 38 of his 56 pitches for strikes so far. His season high is 93 pitches on two occasions. INDIANA 4, RADFORD 0.

THIRD INNING: Indiana takes the early lead thanks to Casey Rodrigue, who kept running despite hitting a high pop fly to shallow right field. Three Highlanders converged on the ball, but none of them could grab it as Rodrigue pulled into third. It was scored as a one-out triple for Rodrigue, who scored two batters later on Brad Hartong’s single to left field. Not much trouble for Hart in the bottom of the inning. He allowed a one-out single but ended the frame on a 4-6-3 double play. INDIANA 1, RADFORD 0. (more…)

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Hoosiers want to crash Vanderbilt’s regional party #iubase

NASHVILLE — There are flashes of last season sprinkled throughout Hawkins Field, reminders of what could’ve been and never was.

There is the sign above the scoreboard in left field, the one that reads “Home of the 2014 national champions.” There is the team that lives here, Vanderbilt, which was ticketed for a trip to Bloomington if Indiana had held on against Stanford late in its regional.

For all of the bleak reminders, there are good ones, too. There are the seeds attached to each team’s name, numbers that don’t mean a whole lot once the first pitch is thrown. For IU, that was a lesson learned last year when Stanford arrived at Bart Kaufman Field and toppled the nationally-seeded Hoosiers. Stanford was a No. 3 seed, just like Indiana this weekend. Even with last season’s disappointment, IU brings solace and confidence into this afternoon’s opener against No. 2 Radford.

That’s because experience reminds the Hoosiers that anything can happen once the tournament begins.

Indiana feels like it’s the most suited team for this weekend’s regional because of the last month and the postseason implications that came with it. The Hoosiers had to win their final three series’ down the stretch to get in, and that’s what they did. So ever since their trip to Maryland on May 1, the Hoosiers feel like they’ve been in a tournament mode. Experience and success, they believe, will bode well in Nashville.

“We feel good about what we’ve done the last couple weeks,” IU starter Kyle Hart said. “Baseball is one of those sports where it’s like the hottest team is in the best shape, and is probably feeling the best. It just seems like if you’re doing the little things right, the ball is going to fall in your court. I feel like that’s where we’re at. I feel like we’re in good shape to win this regional, but for us, it’s about the first pitch Friday.” (more…)

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Nashville Regional team capsules #iubase

No. 1 VANDERBILT COMMODORES
The Commodores begin their defense of the 2014 national championship in Friday’s regional opener against Lipscomb. It’s the 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for Vanderbilt, which is hosting a regional at Hawkins Field in downtown Nashville for the fourth time in five years. Coach Tim Corbin’s team returns to its home ballpark after dropping the Southeastern Conference Championship game to Florida on Sunday. The Commodores have a 2.58 team ERA, a .298 team average and a 24-8 record at home this season. Since Corbin’s arrival in 2003, no SEC school has sent more players (77) into pro ball. The Commodores have four players on the Golden Spikes Watch List, including SEC Pitcher of the Year Carson Fulmer. The right-hander led the SEC in wins (11), strikeouts (132) and ERA (1.51). Another Golden Spikes candidate, Dansby Swanson, leads a potent Vandy lineup that averages 6.6 runs per game. Swanson enters the regional with a 10-game hitting streak, over which he has a .378 average, 11 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs.

No. 2 RADFORD HIGHLANDERS
The Highlanders won their first Big South Tournament title last weekend, but their NCAA Tournament destiny was secured long before. Radford, which finished the season ranked No. 17 in the RPI — four spots behind Vanderbilt — was one of the final contenders to become a regional host this weekend. With 15 consecutive wins, it’s one of four tournament teams to carry a double-digit winning streak into the field of 64. Radford has won 37 of its last 43 games and 19 of its last 20. Among Vanderbilt (11), Indiana (25) and Lipscomb (173), Radford (94) has the second weakest strength of schedule in the Nashville Regional, according to D1Baseball.com. The Highlanders will be without top hitter Josh Gardiner, who is inactive for the regional after suffering a fractured patella. Gardiner, a First-Team All-Big South second baseman, has a .368 average and 22 RBIs, but he hasn’t played since May 2. Radford will lean on left-hander Michael Boyle in the opener against the Hoosiers. Boyle is the first Radford pitcher to record 10 wins in a season and joined Gardiner on the all-league first team. (more…)

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Hoosiers look to Hart in regional opener #iubase

NASHVILLE — As Indiana’s ascension in the college baseball world took shape over the last two seasons, Kyle Hart waited for an NCAA Tournament appearance that never came.

He could have been in line for a start during both the 2013 regional and super regional, but Indiana won in such short order that it never needed him. Last season, Tommy John surgery limited Hart to merely watching IU’s tournament action from the dugout.

So after four years on campus and two seasons of postseason inactivity, Hart will make his first NCAA Tournament appearance this afternoon.

The left-hander is the natural option for No. 3 Indiana in today’s Nashville Regional opener against No. 2 Radford, but it’s not simply because of his patience. It’s because no one on the Hoosiers’ staff at the moment has a better feel for the craft or a better run of recent success than Hart.

“It won’t be my first big game,” he said matter-of-factly after the Hoosiers wrapped their final pre-tournament practice Thursday afternoon at Vanderbilt’s Hawkins Field.

Hart is correct, of course. A weekend starter since his freshman season, he was on the hill to clinch the outright Big Ten title on the final day of the 2013 regular season and started a Big Ten Tournament game the following week. But his season ended there after IU needed only games to win its regional. After Aaron Slegers and Joey DeNato started the first two games, former IU coach Tracy Smith turned to another left-hander, Will Coursen-Carr, to pitch the clinching game against Austin Peay.

The next week at the Florida State Super Regional, DeNato and Slegers once again started the only two games of the series, while Coursen-Carr came out of the bullpen in both. That meant Hart was very likely in line to start had the Hoosiers required a third game to dispatch the Seminoles.

They didn’t, and Hart’s wait continued.

“I’m geared up,” Hart said. “I’m not going to overhype it. It’s just another game of baseball. You have to get outs until they take you off the mound, but I have a lot geared up from the year. At the end of the day, I’m going to go out and give my best. We’re going to give our best and we’re not going to fear the result.” (more…)

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IUWBB: Ria Gulley committed for 2016 class

The Hoosiers recently received their second verbal commitment for the 2016 class, and this time it’s a 5-foot-10 guard from Texas.

Ria Gulley announced her intention to attend Indiana via Twitter last week. She averaged 8.5 points per game as a sophomore at Clark High School in San Antonio but increased her point production to 11.5 points as a junior. She was an all-district player this past season for Clark High.

This makes for the second player Teri Moren has recruited out of Texas. Incoming freshman Danielle Williams is a 6-foot-4 post from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Gulley joins Darby Foresman from Heritage Christian (Indianapolis) as a verbal commit to the 2016 class for IU.

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Football

IU receiver Isaac Griffith arrested on OWI charges #iufb

Posted by in Football on Saturday, May. 23, 2015 at 2:01 PM.

Isaac Griffith (Courtesy Monroe County Jail)

The mugshot of Isaac Griffith during his booking into the Monroe County Jail on Saturday morning. Courtesy photo

Indiana University sophomore receiver Isaac Griffith was arrested early Saturday morning by IU police on preliminary charges of illegal consumption, operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 and endangerment.

Griffith, 20, was booked into Monroe County Jail at 5 a.m. Saturday morning and released at 10 a.m. His bond was set at $500 cash, $1,000 surety. An Indiana spokesman said Saturday afternoon that the football program is aware of the arrest and is currently gathering more facts.

According to IUPD spokesperson Lt. W. Craig Munroe, Griffith was stopped near 19th and Dunn streets at 3:54 a.m. Saturday. Griffith’s vehicle was heading northbound on Dunn with its high beams on, Munroe said. Officers observed another vehicle flash its high beams on and off to try and get Griffith to turn his lights to low, Munroe said, but Griffith did not respond.

According to Munroe, officers pulled Griffith over and detected an odor of alcohol. Officers administered a field sobriety test and asked Griffith if he would perform a breath test. Munroe said Griffith agreed and, based on those results, he was arrested.

Griffith nearly drowned while on spring break in Sarasota, Fla. on March 17, 2014 when a rip-current pulled him too far from the shore. IU teammates Nick Stoner and Ty Smith, along with another friend, Mitch McCune, helped rescue him from the water.

Griffith was briefly placed into a medically induced coma before he was discharged from Sarasota Memorial Hospital on March 23. Doctors said they expected Griffith to make a full recovery.

Last season, he appeared in games against Indiana State and Ohio State, and earned scout team honors for his work leading into the Maryland game in late September.

It is the second arrest for an IU football player this off-season. Defensive lineman Ralph Green III was arrested April 19 on a preliminary charge of misdemeanor battery after allegedly slapping a 20-year-old woman in the face. Green was also preliminarily charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

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Men's Basketball

Stan Robinson headed to Rhode Island #iubb

Posted by in Men's Basketball on Tuesday, May. 19, 2015 at 4:30 PM.

Former Indiana guard Stan Robinson announced Tuesday that Rhode Island will be his next home.

Robinson, who declared his intention to transfer a week after IU’s season ended in late March, also considered VCU. Robinson appeared in 32 games last season, making one start. He averaged 3.0 points and 1.9 rebounds, while recording 39 assists against 30 turnovers.

“Thank you God for Helping me make my decision,” Robinson posted on his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon. “Thank you Vcu and Rhode Island for recruiting me. Vcu your fan base is amazing. Thank you too … I will be a Rhody Ram.”

Rhode Island advanced to the second round of the NIT last season, finishing third in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 23-10 record and a 13-5 conference mark. Robinson will sit out next season, per NCAA transfer rules, but he has two years of eligibility remaining.

He was a four-star recruit when he committed to Indiana’s 2013 class, and started nine game as a freshman. His playing time dropped from 17 minutes per contest in his first season to 11.4 minutes as a sophomore, and his decision to switch shooting hands never produced the consistency or success he sought.

Robinson, along with Yogi Ferrell, was arrested by Indiana State Excise Police in April 2014 for underage drinking and possesion of a fake ID. IU coach Tom Crean later suspended Robinson and classmate Troy Williams for four games at the start of the season for a reported failed drug test.

As Robinson struggled both on and off the court, Crean continued to offer public support for the Landover, Md. native.

“I respect Stan’s desire to contribute more on the court and understand that the opportunity to play closer to your family is something he would like to have happen,” Crean said in a statement after Robinson announced his decision to transfer. “I think he has grown a great deal and matured in the two years he has been a part of the program and I hope he takes his experiences at Indiana University to remind him of what he can accomplish not only as a basketball player, but as a human being.”

On Monday, Robinson tweeted at incoming Indiana recruit O.G. Anunoby, wishing Anunoby luck as he prepares to begin his career at IU.

“Good Luck up there keep your head on right,” Robinson tweeted, “don’t make the mistakes I made. Be the best you can be everyday.”

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Women's Basketball

IUWBB: IU to host Georgia Tech in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Posted by in Women's Basketball on Wednesday, May. 27, 2015 at 11:19 AM.

Indiana will play host to Georgia Tech Dec. 2 as part of next season’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

That matchup is intriguing because it pits soon-to-be second-year head coach Teri Moren against a former school and former college teammate. Moren was the associate head coach at Georgia Tech from 2007-10 .She coached under MaChelle Joseph, who has coached the Yellow Jackets since 2003.

Joseph was also a teammate of Moren’s at Purdue.

“”We are excited for our fans that we will be hosting Georgia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge inside of Assembly Hall,” Moren said in a statement. “MaChelle (Joseph) is a close friend and I have the upmost respect for her and the program she has built in Atlanta. This will be a tremendous test for us but one I know will help prepare us for Big Ten play.”

Georgia Tech was 19-15 last year and lost in the second round of the WNIT tournament. The Yellow Jackets made the NCAA Tournament in seven out of the eight years prior to the 2014-15 season. (more…)

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