FROM CBB NEWS SOURCE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana baseball team has added a pair of right-handed pitchers to its roster for the 2010 season, head coach Tracy Smith announced today. Matt Ernest (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) and Casey Smith (Bloomington, Ind./North) will join the squad at the beginning of the spring semester.
"We obviously are a bit thin at pitcher heading into this season," Smith said. "These two will give us some depth in our pitching staff and have a good chance to be in the mix for weekend innings this spring."
Ernest, a 6-foot-2, 188-pounder, is also a wide receiver for the IU football team, where he has totaled 10 receptions and 87 yards over two seasons. He played in all 12 games for the Hoosiers in 2009, and recorded a touchdown catch against Ohio State. He is the second Indiana wide receiver (Andrew Means 2006-08) to play for the baseball team under Smith.
"Matt is a great story. We recruited him out of high school but he decided he wanted to go the football route," Smith said. "This fall, he approached us about possibly of coming out for the team this spring, and when he got up on the mound he was throwing in the 90s, so we definitely wanted to find a spot for him. Coach Lynch, as he was in the past when we had Andrew Means, is very supportive of Matt playing both sports so we are excited to see what he can bring to our team in the spring. I honestly think he will be a good looking professional prospect when it is all said and done."
Ernest will participate in spring practices with the football team while playing with the baseball team. The redshirt sophomore earned four letters in baseball for Crown Point and was a standout in both baseball and basketball in addition to his football accomplishments.
Smith joins the Hoosiers after graduating a semester early from Bloomington High School North. The son of Hoosier skipper Tracy Smith, Casey went 7-2 in the 2009 season with 45 strikeouts in 43 innings of work. His finest game of the season came in a complete-game outing against Lawrence Central, when he struck out a career-high 15. He also played football for the Cougars, earning three letters while lining up at wide receiver and quarterback.
"Obviously, it is an interesting scenario with Casey being my son, and the fact that he is graduating high school early. That said, Casey was presented with some outstanding opportunities at other Division I programs this fall, but ultimately decided he wanted to play for Indiana," Smith said. "When he made the initial decision to attend IU, we kicked around the idea of him enrolling early because of our need for pitching this spring given the number of underclass pitchers we lost to the draft. He was all for it, and we think he’ll give us some innings this season."
The Hoosiers open the 2010 season with four games in San Diego from Feb. 19-21. IU will play three games at San Diego on Friday and Saturday before finishing the weekend with a game at San Diego State on Sunday.