Coming off a 2-1 series win over Big Ten foe Penn State this past weekend, IU welcome's a pair of non-conference opponents for midweek games here in Bloomington on Tuesday and Wednesday. While an at-large NCAA tournament birth may no longer be within reach for the Hoosiers, it is still important for IU to win midweek games to sustain momentum from one weekend to the next. And if the Hoosiers do end up having an outside shot at an at-large birth, it is imperative for the team to start bringing home midweek W's, especially against inferior opponents.
This week we have Louisville and Indiana State coming to town. IU has already been beaten on the road by both teams, so let's hope this week yields more favorable results.
Check out the release over at IUHoosiers.com for a more detailed breakdown of this week's games.
Tuesday 4/21, 4pm ET at IU
IU - RHP Joey O'Gara (1-2, 7.43) | UL - RHP Matt Lea (1-0, 7.32)
Last meeting: 15-1 Loss
The Cardinals are currently 27-10 overall and 11-4 in the Big East, putting them tied for 2nd in the conference standings. Louisville is 20-3 at home but only 7-7 on the road, and that is at least some reason to be optimistic about IU's chances of defeating the same team that drubbed the Hoosiers 15-1 earlier this season. The Cardinals only hit .296 as a team, but they score an average of 8 runs per game and are big threats on the basepaths with 69 total steals for the season. On the flip side, Louisville sports a very impressive pitching staff from top to bottom. They have an incredible 3.94 team ERA, and 12 of their 15 pitchers have an ERA below 5.
This will definitely be a tough match-up for the Hoosiers. Louisville may be one of the better teams IU plays all year. I will hope for the best nonetheless!
Wednesday 4/22, 4pm ET at IU
IU - RHP Wyatt Hoff (0-1, 18.00) | ISU - LHP Michael Manus (1-1, 5.19)
Last meeting: 11-2 Loss
The Sycamores have put together a very solid season for head coach Lindsay Meggs in his third season at the helm. Indiana State is 23-13 overall and 10-3 in the Missouri Valley Conference, good for 2nd place in the conference. The Sycamores hit .304 as a team and are led by LF and #3 hitter Brady Shoemaker who is second on the team with a .389 average and leads the team in runs (41), hits (51), doubles (13), total bases (84), walks (32), (slugging percentage (.641) and on-base percentage (.524). On the mound, ISU held the Hoosiers to 2 runs on 9 hits in their previous meeting, but their staff ERA sits at 5.93 and they allow opposing batters to hit at a .308 clip.
This is a game IU should win. Yes, Indiana State has a great record overall and in conference play, but this is simply the type of team the Hoosiers need to beat. Plus, it would be great for in-state pride.
Expect Coach Tracy Smith to give a number of different pitchers time on the mound this week. I would be surprised to see any Hoosier hurler throw more than 4 innings in either game.
The fans turned out in droves (average attendance was around 900) this weekend to support the Hoosiers, and while it will undoubtedly be harder to get such large crowds for midweek contests, it would be great to see good crowds on both Tuesday and Wednesday. So come on out to Sembower Field and cheer on the Hoosiers! You can also catch the game via Live Audio at IUHoosiers.com. Go Hoosiers!