Indiana Daily Student

Indiana baseball to face first Big Ten opponent of the year in Northwestern

<p>Sophomore outfielder Bobby Whalen attempts to return to the bag on a pick-off throw against Purdue University Fort Wayne on March 9, 2022, at Bart Kaufman Field. Indiana will play Northwestern in its first Big Ten matchup of the season this weekend.</p>

Sophomore outfielder Bobby Whalen attempts to return to the bag on a pick-off throw against Purdue University Fort Wayne on March 9, 2022, at Bart Kaufman Field. Indiana will play Northwestern in its first Big Ten matchup of the season this weekend.

Indiana is coming off of its second series win of the year and now heads into its conference-opening matchup of the season. Indiana will play Northwestern in a three-game weekend series for the first Big Ten Conference games of the year for both teams. 

The Hoosiers are currently riding a two-game winning streak after winning two of three games against the University of Evansville last weekend. Indiana currently sits at a 10-13 record. 

Indiana’s series against Northwestern also marks the final games in Indiana’s 11-game home stand. There is some pressure to continue the win streak, but Indiana’s head coach Jeff Mercer said he expects his team to get ready for the Northwestern series just as they would any other series. 

“The same as you do with everybody, right?” Mercer said. “You have to execute the fastball on both sides of the play, hold the run game and then be able to execute with two strikes and be competitive in that way.”

Northwestern is currently 9-11 on the season. Although the Wildcats are two games under .500, they have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games. 

The Wildcats also share one common opponent with the Hoosiers this year, as both have played Evansville. The Wildcats played two games against the Purple Aces and won both games by a combined score of 18-5. 

The two teams met last season in a three-game series in Evanston from April 16-18. The Hoosiers were able to rally in the first game and shut out Northwestern in the final game to win the series. Indiana also leads Northwestern in all time meetings with a record of 114-74-3.

“Now you have an opportunity to learn so much from those at bats and those experiences and those learnings and how to apply that information and grow from there,” Mercer said of entering conference play. “So as you go into conference play, you do get a chance to kind of restart a little bit and make adjustments that you want to be able to make with a fresh start.”

Friday’s game will start at 5 p.m. and will be followed up by a 2 p.m. and a 1 p.m. start on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The games will be broadcast on BTN+. 

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