OMAHA, Neb. – The Indiana baseball team played a game to conclude open practice Tuesday afternoon with the Hoosiers starters going against the reserves in the batting cages at Kitty Gaughan Pavilion.
Assistant coaches Ty Neal and Roger Rodeheaver threw to the hitters, who took one swing against each pitcher. Rodeheaver throws right-handed. Neal left-handed. The team to hit the L Screen – the netting that protects the pitcher during batting practice – the most times, won. The loser had to pick up the baseballs in the Creighton University facility.
Indianas reserves were assigned the task.
Sophomore Kyle Schwarber said he believes the Big Ten champions (49-15) will return to form when they play Oregon State (51-12) in a College World Series elimination game tonight.
Were just going to keep playing our game, and I feel like well have success when we get out there (tonight), the Middletown, Ohio, native said. Maybe we were coming out there, pressing a little bit. We talked about it. We struck out, what, 14 times (Monday in a 5-4 loss to Mississippi State)? Its just not us. Thats why I feel like well come out and be more mature tomorrow.
Indiana will call upon sophomore right-hander Aaron Slegers, the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, to begin its climb out of the losers bracket. Slegers said his approach will remain the same despite some struggles recently.
It seems like the balls not flying so, as a pitcher, obviously thats going to be a little positive in my circumstance, Slegers said. Im still going to pitch to contact, still going to try to get ground balls.
Slegers, from Scottsdale, Ariz., had a difficult time locating the strike zone in the Hoosiers 11-6 win June 9 at Florida State. He threw 86 pitches in 4 1/3 innings, striking out one and issuing two walks.
I need to throw strikes early, Slegers said. (At) Florida State, I was walking guys and thats not my game plan, so I need to get back in the zone and compete.
Should he be unable to do so, Indiana has bullpen depth.
Weve got extremely good arms fresh, Slegers said. (Sophomore starter) Kyle Hart, with rest, Joey DeNatos going to be coming back pretty shortly. We got good freshmen arms. Christian Morris and Evan Bell, those guys can go out there and compete for us, so its definitely one of our strengths moving forward.
Schwarber predicted Slegers will match up well against the Beavers.
I feel like hell do fine, Schwarber said. Hes a guy whos going to be tough to hit. He works a really good downhill plane. Thats tough for anyone (to hit), especially when hes a 6-foot-11 kid. Hes going to do his best to pound the bottom of the strike zone, and Im going to do my best to keep him in the game, making sure he hits his target.