Series Preview: Indiana Hoosiers

After winning its 19th straight Big Ten series, Maryland will go to Bloomington this weekend not only seeking to make it 20 straight but with a chance to grab first overall in the Big Ten standings.

The Terps are coming off a dominant 24-11 Tuesday win against UMBC in seven innings, and a Wednesday which saw them achieve redemption with a 16-3 seven-inning win against Georgetown after an extra innings 10-9 loss two weeks prior.

Maryland didn’t take on Indiana in the regular season last year, but kicked off the Big Ten Tournament with a 6-5 11-inning win against the No. 8 Hoosiers. Although the Hoosiers got the ultimate revenge as after a loss to Michigan, Maryland would be knocked out of the Big Ten Tournament by Indiana in a 6-4 loss.

Indiana has only gotten better since last year’s tournament, and here’s what to expect from them.

Indiana Hoosiers (31-11, 9-3 Big Ten)

Last Season

Indiana had a disappointing season last year, finishing 27-32 overall, with a 10-14 record in conference play, which was good enough for eighth overall in the conference. And although the Hoosiers season was nothing to write home about, their finish in the Big Ten gave them the last seed in the Big Ten Tournament, which they certainly took advantage of.

The Hoosiers started their tournament run with a loss to Maryland but then went on to knock out No. 4 Illinois in the next round before defeating the top-seeded Terps to make it all the way to the semifinals, where their season ended in a 14-2 loss to Rutgers. This run to end the season for the Hoosiers gave them plenty of momentum heading into 2023.

This Season

Indiana has been nothing short of phenomenal this season and has continued to build on the momentum from its Big Ten Tournament performance. Indiana currently sits at the top of the Big Ten standings with a 9-3 conference record, giving them a one-game lead over the second-place Terps.

Although Indiana hasn’t had the strongest opponents in the non-conference slate, the Hoosiers have been nothing short of dominant in conference play this year, as they’ve yet to lose a Big Ten series. They are red hot coming into the weekend as they currently ride an eight-game win streak and hold a 22-1 record at home.

It’s been Indiana’s dominant pitching that has set them apart in the Big Ten, as the team’s 4.64 ERA is good enough for fourth in the conference. Indiana also has a solid team WHIP of 1.43, and holds their opponents to a .249 batting average.

Hitters to Watch

With a slash line of .303/.404/.472, Indiana has been dominant behind the plate and a big part of that is because of 2022 All-Big Ten Freshman team member Brock Tibbitts, who has continued to build on his freshman season, leading the team with a .385 batting average and 50 RBI while also having six home runs on the year. 

Indiana’s biggest breakout star and x-factor this year has arguably been freshman outfielder Devin Taylor. Taylor, who was ranked as the 78th overall player coming out of the class of 2022, according to Perfect Game, holds a .356 batting average on the year with 41 RBI and a team-leading 11 home runs, along with a monster slash line of .356/.483/.746.

Pitchers to Watch

Junior transfer Seti Manase has been yet another giant add to the Hoosiers roster this year as he holds a 1.78 ERA after 11 starts and 30.1 IP this year. Manase pitched 4 1/3 innings of scoreless two-hit ball against Bellarmine, as well and allowed only three hits in three scoreless innings against Ohio State. Indiana’s leader in terms of innings is yet another transfer in sophomore Luke Sinnard. Sinnard has compiled a 4.00 ERA in 50.2 IP and a team-leading 74 strikeouts on the year.

The Hoosier bullpen is no less formidable as sophomore Ryan Kraft has been a dominant reliever and arguably the best one on the team with a 1.33 ERA in 40.2 IP in 2023. A standout freshman in the Hoosiers bullpen has Ethan Phillips who has a 1.74 ERA and sparking a 1.02 WHIP this year. Phillips posted a 4 2/3 inning, four-strikeout, and one-run day against Louisville.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday, April 28: Jason Savacool and Seti Manase

Saturday, April 29: Nick Dean and Luke Sinnard

Sunday, April 30: TBD and TBD