Last year we saw the emergence of Ryan Fineman at the catcher position. Fineman finished the year with an All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection after being 3rd on the team with 51 hits, 25 RBIs, and eight doubles. Fineman also established himself as the ideal cleanup hitter for the Hoosiers with three home runs on the season.
This year, Indiana seems poised to have another freshman catcher emerge.
After hitting a home run in his first career at-bat, Jake Matheny was recently named Big Ten Baseball Freshman of the Week. It doesn’t take an experienced mathematician to realize that Matheny is now 1 for 1 on freshman of the week awards, as the Hoosiers are only one week into their season.
“He just jumped on some pitches,” said Coach Lemonis. “He’s had a good spring training, we talked about it the other day and he’s continued that. He’s a good ballplayer. He caught well in his game too which was nice to see. His progress will be fun to watch as he continues to grow.”
Matheny is the first Freshman of the Week for Indiana since Logan Sowers earned the accomplishment in May of 2015.
Not only did Matheny hit one out of the park in his first at-bat, but Matheny then hit a second two-run homer later the game against Gonzaga.
In total, Matheny ended his week with a 1.929 OPS by going 3 for 7 with two home runs, a double and five RBIs.
Although Matheny’s performance this past week was impressive, it’s not incredibly surprising. Matheny did leave high school as the 2016 Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Missouri, hitting .414 with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs in his senior season.
Matheny was a big recruit for Indiana coming into the season, and his early performance is promising for a team looking to make an impact in the Big Ten.