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Indiana dominates all-conference baseball awards

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Hoosiers have best pitcher, player, coach

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 - 8:39 am

How much did Indiana dominate the Big Ten?

Consider the Hoosiers have eight first-team all-conference players, including the best pitcher (Joey DeNato), the best player (first baseman Sam Travis) and the best coach (Tracy Smith, for the second straight season).

That ties the Big Ten record set by Ohio State in 1991, and is the consequence of a 21-3 conference record, three games ahead of runner-up Nebraska. Voting was done by conference coaches.

Travis is the fourth IU player to earn Big Ten player of the year honors and the first since Alex Dickerson in 2010. He was first in the conference in home runs (10), runs batted in (53), hits (76) and total bases (124), and was third in hitting (.357) and didn't commit an error in 490 chances this season.

DeNato is 11-1 this season (7-0 in Big Ten games) with a 1.83 earned run average. He struck out 68 in 93.2 innings.

Smith led the Hoosiers to consecutive conference championships for the first time in school history.

Travis and DeNato were unanimous first-team selections as were catcher Kyle Schwarber and third basemal Dustin DeMuth. Other Hoosier first-team picks were pitchers Christian Morris and Luke Harrison, outfielder Brad Hartong and designed hitter Scotty Donley.

Schwarber is hitting .340 with 10 homers and 36 RBI. DeMuth is hitting .385 with five homers and 34 RBI.

Also, outfielder Will Nolden made third-team All-Big Ten. Relief pitcher Jake Kelzer made the all-conference freshman team.

IU is the No. 1 seed in this week's Big Ten tourney at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. It opens with No. 8 seed Iowa Wednesday night.

The Hoosiers' power will be tested at TD Ameritrade Park, which is one of the largest in college baseball. It is 335 feet down the lines, 375 feet in the alleys, and 408 feet to center.

By comparison, IU's home facility, Bart Kaufman Field, is 330 feet down the lines and 400 to center field.

However, add a wind that often blows in at TD Ameritrade Park and home runs are hard to hit, which is why Smith has a wish list that some day the outfield fences are moved in.