Three weeks ago to the day, the IU baseball team traveled to Indiana State to try and find stability in what had been a rocky start to the 2014 season.
IU, which arrived in Terre Haute with a 12-10 record after being named preseason No. 3, fell to Indiana State, 12-8.
Tonight, after six consecutive wins and back-to-back weekend series sweeps, IU (18-10) will enter a rematch with Indiana State (21-7 as of Monday) in a much different state.
“Everyone’s playing a lot more loose, picking each other up,” junior outfielder Brad Hartong said. “We’re getting there. After (junior pitcher Kyle) Hart went down, we’re still getting quality pitching, so our offense knows that if we just have some good ABs and don’t give away at-bats, we’ll be good in the end.”
The Hoosiers are coming off consecutive road sweeps of Big Ten opponents Ohio State and Iowa, outscoring their opponents 46-16 over six games and hitting 12 home runs in the process.
While the IU lineup has found its rhythm after a start to the season that saw lower-than-expected run production, IU Coach Tracy Smith said it has been success in other facets that has allowed his team to go on its winning streak.
“Everyone wants to talk about the bats, but really, we’re playing well defensively, taking outs, cutting off the big innings,” Smith said. “There’s still room to
IU will need to continue its improvement to find victory against an Indiana State team that comes to Bloomington a winner of six of its last eight games as of Monday.
While neither squad has named its starter for Wednesday’s game, Sullivan Stadler has all but solidified himself as the Hoosiers’ mid-week starter. The sophomore left-hander started IU’s first matchup with Indiana State, allowing five runs — three earned — in 3.1 innings and taking the loss.
If tabbed to start, Stadler will look to continue a run of strong pitching performances from a Hoosier staff that has rebounded from the loss of two key members.
Senior right-hander Ryan Halstead, IU’s all-time saves leader, is out for the
remainder of the season after undergoing ACL surgery in March, and Hart will miss indefinite time with a torn ligament in his pitching arm.
“It’s sad,” junior catcher Kyle Schwaber said of the injuries.
“It’s not fun when you lose two of our better pitchers. But that’s part of the game, that’s what’s going to happen ... that’s what baseball’s all about, picking each other up. When someone’s down, not hitting the ball, we’ve got people in the lineup hitting the ball. That could be one through nine.
“It’s all about picking each other up. That’s what we do, we always believe in ourselves. That’s Indiana baseball.”