IU Coach Chris Lemonis said per NCAA rules, his team is only allowed to practice for up to four hours each day.
Wednesday’s home win against Ball State — a game that ended 9-8 after 14 innings — lasted more than 5 1/2 hours. It was IU’s longest game of the season by time and innings played, but fatigue wasn’t a factor for IU players.
“My legs got a little tired — that’s about it,” sophomore shortstop Jeremy Houston said. “Other than that, I was fine.”
Even without taking the victory against the Cardinals into account, this week has been the busiest of the season for the Hoosiers. Following last weekend’s three-game series against Northwestern, IU played consecutive midweek games for the first time in 2018.
Those games against Notre Dame and Ball State helped IU, 28-6 overall and 6-2 in conference, extend its winning streak to a season-best eight games.
The Hoosiers will look to continue their good form this weekend with a three-game road series at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes (25-10, 6-3), are fifth in the Big Ten standings, one spot below the Hoosiers.
“They’ve been playing their butt off in the Big Ten, so it’ll be a really good series,” Houston said. “I’m excited to go down there and compete with them.”
Just like IU, Ohio State enters the weekend series on a winning streak. The Buckeyes have won their last five games, including a sweep at Penn State.
The key matchup of the series will be IU’s pitching against Ohio State’s offense. The Buckeyes average nearly 7.5 runs per game and have five players batting above .300. Front and center among these players is senior utility player Noah McGowan, who has started each Ohio State game this season.
McGowan is the team leader in batting average (.396), hits (55), doubles (16), home runs (7) and RBIs (44). He plays both first and third base on defense.
The power numbers of McGowan will be pitted against an IU pitching staff who has the nation’s best team ERA (2.39). After using a cast of nine different pitchers during its midweek games, IU will return to its weekend starting rotation against Ohio State.
Junior Jonathan Stiever and sophomore Cameron Beauchamp will be IU's starting pitchers Friday and Saturday, while the Sunday starter has not yet been determined.
Ohio State will counter with juniors Connor Curlis and Ryan Feltner, as well as senior Adam Niemeyer as its weekend pitchers.
The series will begin with a 6:35 p.m. first pitch Friday at Bill Davis Stadium.