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Wednesday, May 22
The Indiana Daily Student

sports baseball

IU confident in at-large bid chances

Baseball vs. Ohio State

The IU baseball team has passed the midway point of the 2011 season, and coach Tracy Smith has his eyes set on playing deep into the summer.

Thanks to challenging themselves in the nonconference portion of their schedule and winning their first two Big Ten series, the Hoosiers (20-11) have put themselves in the discussion for one of the 34 at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament.

Atop the list of team goals for IU is winning the Big Ten Championship, but Smith said he knows that his team still has a chance to earn a bid even if it does not win the conference tournament as it did in 2009.

“We feel like we have a good baseball team and one of the goals we have is being in a position where we have a chance at an at-large bid before the Big Ten Tournament starts,” Smith said.

IU will take another step toward enhancing its NCAA Tournament résumé this afternoon when Indiana State (19-11) comes to Sembower Field.

Even though a win against the Sycamores would not do much in the eyes of the NCAA selection committee, a loss would definitely hurt the chance for an at-large bid.

One of the important components the committee will look at is the Ratings Percentage Index of the teams IU has beaten and lost to.

IU has beaten four teams in the top 81 of the RPI, including road wins against Tennessee and Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Indiana State comes into today’s game with an RPI of 181, compared to 96 for IU. The Hoosiers defeated the Sycamores 6-4 March 9.

Freshman Brian Korte will take the mound and is coming off a four-inning, no-hit outing against Miami (Ohio) last Tuesday.

Despite the impressive outing, the Hoosiers had a scheduled staff day against the RedHawks and the bullpen could not get the win as IU lost 6-1.

Against ISU earlier in the season, IU also had a staff day when seven different pitchers took the mound. However, that won’t be the case today as Smith said he will go with Korte for however long he feels he needs to.

After falling last week to the RedHawks, a team with an RPI of 202, Smith said no one will be looking ahead to the weekend series at Iowa until Wednesday night.

“We are going to approach it like every game is the most important game and not take anything for granted,” Smith said.

The question now remains: Will the Hoosiers be playing important games in June?

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