Less than a year after the conclusion of a season in which IU baseball finished two games out of first place in the Big Ten, Perfect Game USA ranked the Hoosiers at No. 17 in its preseason top 25. Of the teams that made the cut in those rankings, Indiana was the only representative from the Big Ten.
One reason the Hoosiers were given this ranking can be accredited to last season's success of their returning players. In 2017, IU had seven players receive All-Big Ten honors, and six of those players will be returning this year.
One stand-out from last season that will look to lead Indiana to a successful 2018 campaign is utility player and junior infielder Matt Lloyd. Lloyd was second among starters on the team last season with a .301 batting average while also posting a team-leading 2.23 earned run average in 20 appearances.
IU will also look to fill the gaps that will be left behind by former infielder Tony Butler— who led all starters last season with a .314 batting average— and former outfielder Alex Krupa, who was best among starters with 27 strikeouts in 181 at-bats.
No. 18 Oklahoma, No. 8 Kentucky and No. 14 Louisville will be the three teams from the rankings the Hoosiers will face this season. The Hoosiers ranked at No. 16 nationally last season in strength of non-conference schedule.
First pitch of the regular season for the Hoosiers will be Feb. 16 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, against the aforementioned Sooners.