Indiana will travel to the East Coast to face off against Rutgers for its second road series in a row. Following a series loss against Purdue and a ninth-inning comeback win against Indiana State University on Tuesday, the Hoosiers are still looking to capture their first series win over a Big Ten opponent.
Indiana was down 5-1 against Indiana State, but it rallied with one out remaining to bring home a 6-5 win. Next, the Hoosiers will have to carry that momentum over against the best team in the Big Ten.
Rutgers is currently riding a 12-game win streak and holds a Big Ten record of 8-1 this season.
The series against the Scarlet Knights will mark nine games in a row for the Hoosiers on the road. An undefeated 9-0 record at Bainton Field in Piscataway, New Jersey, has lifted the Scarlet Knights to the top of the Big Ten.
Indiana has played 14 games away from Bloomington this season, winning only four of those games. Two of the Hoosiers’ losses most recently came against Purdue this past weekend.
Inconsistent pitching has proved costly for Indiana this season. After giving up a combined 35 runs against Purdue in three games, the Hoosiers saw improvements against Indiana State. Freshman Ryan Kraft, junior Ty Bothwell and senior Braydon Tucker all took to the mound Tuesday to secure the win and allowed just four runs.
“The big thing for me is just seeing those guys settle in and executing pitches,” head coach Jeff Mercer said. “Any time that you do have that kind of pitching performance, it does give the team a lot of confidence and excitement.”
For the upcoming weekend, Mercer said he wants to see the Hoosiers’ pitching staff continue to put up strong performances.
“Brehmer has done it,” Mercer said. “Perkins has done it at times. I just want to see the rest of the group continue to grow and develop as the expectation would be. Our team is talented enough to win. We have to go out there and we have to compete in the confines of the game.”
Game one between Indiana and Rutgers will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, while the games on Saturday and Sunday will take place at 1 p.m. and noon, respectively.