After taking a pair of games against Nebraska over the weekend, the IU baseball team (33-15, 11-9) will continue its road trip with a midweek matchup against Louisville (37-15, 15-12) on Tuesday night.
The game is IU's final road contest of the regular season.
This nonconference matchup served as a big resume booster for IU last season. Then-freshman Andrew Saalfrank got the start and the win at Bart Kaufman Field over the second-ranked Cardinals.
However, this year’s edition has the two teams coming in on a more level ground. Each team was a projected regional host at one point this season and have now slid down to being projected as a second or third seed. The Cardinals are currently 26th in RPI and the Hoosiers are 27th.
Here are the three things to keep in mind as these two teams square off in the Derby City.
The Cardinals are red hot
Louisville comes into this game on a bit of a tear. The Cardinals have won their last five games and eight of their last nine, including a big win over Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.
In each of those wins, the Cardinals have scored at least six runs, including a 24-run outburst against a Cincinnati team that beat IU in Bloomington earlier this season.
The Cardinals have also won five of their last six at home.
Last season, Louisville featured several sluggers, including Drew Ellis and Brendan McKay, who hit 20 and 18 home runs in 2017. This season, the story is a bit different.
The Cardinals have hit just 29 home runs in 2018 as a team. Junior outfielder Josh Showers leads Louisville with five longballs on the season, and just four other Cardinals have homered more than twice.
If the Hoosiers can put a couple of balls over the fence, it could give them an advantage in this game, as Louisville might not be able to match them in that department.
The Cardinals haven't shown much power at the plate this season, but they've compensated for it by constantly stealing bases. They lead the ACC in stolen bases with 107, a mark that sits as the fifth-best in the country.
Despite their aggressive baserunning, they've been caught stealing just 20 times, leaving them with a stolen base percentage of 84 percent.
This will be a major weapon for the Cardinals, and something IU will have to worry about in Tuesday's game.
This matchup is huge for both teams, as it represents an opportunity to add a big win to their NCAA Tournament resumes as the regular season winds down.
First pitch is set for 5 p.m. on Tuesday night at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville.
According to the IU game notes, the probable starting pitching matchup is IU sophomore Cam Beauchamp against Louisville freshman Reid Detmers. Both players are left-handed pitchers.
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