IU baseball Coach Jeff Mercer will send out his first lineup card in a Hoosier uniform Friday, opening up the 2019 baseball season in Memphis, Tennessee.
IU will kick off its season with a three game series against the University of Memphis this weekend.
“I feel really good,” senior outfielder Logan Kaletha said. “Everyone’s working hard and living in the cage. We’re ready to get after it.”
After a 40-19 season last year, IU is in search of its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. IU advanced to the Regional Final last year before falling to the University of Texas.
The Hoosiers will meet a Tigers team that struggled a season ago, going 20-36 overall and 5-19 American Athletic Conference play.
The Tigers return their leading hitter in redshirt senior infielder Cale Hennemann who hit .299 a season ago. Memphis also brings back its third leading hitter, Kyle Ouellette, who hit .264 a season ago while starting 55 of 56 games.
“It’s a great barometer as we go down,” Mercer said. “It’s going to be a test for us in a lot of ways to see how we can manage and execute. They’re going to be older and have some guys with a lot of experience."
IU will start senior ace Pauly Milto on Friday night, junior Tanner Gordon on Saturday and sophomore Tommy Sommer on Sunday. Mercer has been hesitant to stick with a pitching rotation early in the season, so the Hoosiers will likely see a host of talented arms on opening weekend.
On paper, this appears to be a series that the Hoosiers should handle with ease. With high expectations for this season, IU is looking to take care of business in Memphis and set the tone for the rest of the season.
“You can tell it’s a different vibe,” Kaletha said. “It’s a new coaching staff that brings a lot of energy. Everyone’s working hard, and we’re ready to get to Opening Day. It’ll be a good time."