Heading into the season, the IU baseball team was considered one of the favorites to win the Big Ten. Now, more than half way through the season, the Hoosiers find themselves in contention for the conference title. IU is in second place at 18-8, behind only Nebraska at 20-7.
The good news for the Hoosiers is that they are starting to play their best baseball of the season at the right time. Since suffering a five-game losing streak from March 29 to April 4, IU has won seven of its last eight and is currently riding a four-game winning streak.
The latest example of IU’s dominance came this weekend in a series sweep at home against Minnesota. The Hoosiers put on both a hitting and pitching display all weekend, scoring a whopping 39 runs in three games and only allowing five. The series sweep included a 23-1 thumping from IU in the series finale on Sunday.
“We played good baseball this weekend,” Mercer said after Sunday’s blowout win. “You could see some of those things coming. [We’ve been] playing better baseball these last two or three weeks. We just have to keep going.”
This past weekend’s sweep of Minnesota was IU’s third sweep of the season. Freshman outfielder Morgan Colopy had a massive weekend at the plate with eight RBIs on seven hits. Colopy is now hitting .309 on the season with four home runs and 17 RBIs.
The month of May will be a crucial stretch of baseball for the Hoosiers, who will only be playing teams that are .500 or better from here on out. May 8 through May 22 will be a particularly important seven-game span as IU plays Nebraska four times and Michigan three times. Both teams and IU make up the current top three in the Big Ten standings.
“We’re excited,” Mercer said. “We’ve worked really hard to put ourselves in this position. There’s been some really good weekends for us and some really bad ones, which happens a lot.”
The mantra for IU this season has been to just keep improving, Mercer said. As the team heads into its final month of regular-season baseball, it hopes this attitude and the team’s gradual improvement will pay off.
“Everything that we want to do is ahead of us,” Mercer said. “Now it’s just up to us to go out and play the caliber of baseball that we know we’re capable of. I feel good about where we’re at today. We’re playing some of our best baseball and we’re getting better.”