With the season beginning exactly a week from today, I thought I would throw out my prediction for the lineup that will take the field for the Hoosiers when they open up next Friday against the Toreros of the University of San Diego. Obviously I am not at practice everyday nor am I anywhere close to an expert on IU baseball, but here's what I think the lineup could very well look like for the season opener:
1 - Brian Lambert, CF
2 - Jerrud Sabourin, 1B
3 - Alex Dickerson, DH
4 - Michael Earley, LF
5 - Josh Lyon, C
6 - Tyler Rogers, 2B
7 - Ethan Wilson, 3B
8 - Jerry Kleman/Michael Basil, SS
9 - Micah Johnson, RF
P - Blake Monar
I would say that Lambert, Sabourin, Dickerson, Earley, Lyon and Rogers with Monar on the mound are virtual locks to be in the lineup come opening day. Beyond that, though, I think the final three lineup spots are probably still very much up for grabs, and it could be a case where Coach Smith opts to give a number of guys opportunities to play early on before settling on a regular lineup as the season progresses.
The lineup I put together above is strong at the top, but the bottom third could be a concern given the inexperience of Wilson, Kleman/Basil and Johnson. With Monar on the mound the Hoosiers will be tough to beat, but he can only pitch once a week, so it would be great for the lineup to be one that can give the pitching staff solid run support on a regular basis.
Hopefully this will generate some discussion on the blog. If you see the lineup shaping up differently to begin the season, feel free to share in the comments. Go Hoosiers!