IU will head to the campus of Coastal Carolina University for a three game round-robin against Northeastern University, the University of Connecticut and the host Coastal Carolina.
“This is going to be a big weekend for us,” senior outfielder Logan Kaletha said. “I know we’re going to face some tough competition down there.”
The headline opponent of the tournament is Coastal Carolina, the 2016 National Champion and the current No. 20 team in the nation. Coastal Carolina opened up the season with seven wins before dropping two straight.
Juniors Cory Wood and Cameron Pearcey have played in all nine games for Coastal Carolina and are both batting .394.
“Obviously Coastal is a tough team, top 25,” Kaletha said. “We played them down there last year and came away with a win so hopefully we can do the same thing this time.”
Connecticut is perhaps the biggest sleeper in the tournament. Connecticut took two of three from top ten University of Louisville, and has three batters hitting .348. Freshman Joe Simeone will pitch for Connecticut in Saturday’s contest opposite IU junior Tanner Gordon.
“I expect us to play great competition,” IU Coach Jeff Mercer said. “We’re going to play great teams, and I expect us to go out there and execute and go toe to toe with some really good teams."
IU opened its season in South Carolina last year and played Coastal Carolina in the fourth game. Kaletha found success in that game and helped lead IU to a 6-5 victory.
“I love the field, the atmosphere,” Kaletha said. “My family is coming down so I’m excited to play in front of them. I just love the warm weather too, it’ll be good to get back down there.”
Mercer knows the importance of this weekend on the team's résumé . All three teams IU faces were tournament teams a year ago. However, Mercer is more concerned with IU focusing on the execution this weekend.
“I don’t talk about winning and losing,” Mercer said. “Wins and losses are the most uncontrollable aspect. I just want them to go out there and execute the plans in place and try and play good baseball.”
IU will open up the Coastal Carolina Tournament with Northeastern at 2 p.m. Friday. IU will play Connecticut on Saturday and Coastal Carolina on Sunday.