Center fielder O’Conner posts that he’s leaving IU

Indiana center fielder Tim O’Conner posted on his Twitter account on Thursday that he is leaving the program.

O’Conner, a Cincinnati native who originally enrolled at IU as a scholarship football player, had graduated, but has one year of eligibility remaining.

“Well it was an unbelievable four years at IU,” he posted. “Couldn’t ask for a better group of people to have spent it with. “I love all y’all.”

He posted again later, “Holding back tears as I leave Bloomington.”

O’Conner hit just .188 this season with 19 RBI, but started 47 of 57 games because of his outstanding defense in center field. In three seasons with the baseball program, O’Conner did not commit an error in 196 chances.

UPDATE:

Indiana has lost its first starter since its baseball coaching change, but not for any reason related to the transition.

Rising senior center fielder Tim O’Conner said Thursday that he is leaving Indiana for Xavier because he could not get into his graduate programs of choice at IU and was granted admittance to a masters of business administration program at Xavier. He will play baseball there and will have one year of eligibility remaining, which he can use immediately.

“It’s unbelievably tough,” O’Conner said. “It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do, honestly. My best friends are there, guys I’ve known for four or five years or even longer. Everything that we’ve gone through the last couple of years, all of the memories, it’s pretty tough.”

O’Conner hit just .188 with 19 RBI this season, but he started 47 of the Hoosier’s 57 games in center field because of his outstanding defense. In three seasons with the Hoosiers, he did not make an error in 196 chances.

O’Conner had arrived in Indiana in 2010 as a scholarship wide receiver on the football program, but he left in 2011 in coach Kevin Wilson’s first year and joined the baseball team that spring. He earned his telecommunications degree this spring and hoped to get a master’s degree in the subject at IU.

O’Conner said he didn’t get into the graduate program, however. He also applied for the MBA program at the Kelley School but was shut out of that as well. The Cincinnati native used Xavier as his backup plan — his older brother Billy is an assistant on the baseball coaching staff. He was admitted in the MBA program there and will start classes in the fall.

“It’s a pretty big deal to get into an MBA program,” O’Conner said. “And that’s the right choice for me now.”

Xavier is coming off a 30-29 season, but the Musketeers won the Big East title and defeated Clemson in the NCAA regional before being eliminated. O’Conner said he sees an opportunity to play right away.

“I’m going to have to work hard for everything and prove myself to a new staff,” O’Conner said. “Obviously I’m going to have to work for everything I get. Hopefully it works out.”

The Hoosiers have several options to replace O’Conner in center, including rising sophomore Craig Dedelow and incoming freshman Laren Eustace.