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.”

Around the horn

Brad Hartong extended the team’s longest current hit streak to 11 games with a 2-for-4 performance. He’s reached base in 17 consecutive games and is second on the team with 22 multi-hit games. Hartong has two or more hits in seven of IU’s last 10 games. … Casey Rodrigue’s third-inning triple was his team-best seventh of the season, which ties him for eighth most all-time by a Hoosier in a single season. … IU recorded 12 hits Friday, marking the 31st time with 10 or more this season. It’s also the 10th game in the last 17 that the Hoosiers have reached double figures.