Indiana will face Iowa in its final regular season series of the year beginning on Thursday in Iowa City, Iowa. As the Hoosiers approach the final three games of the season, they look to secure a top-eight spot in the Big Ten in order to play in the conference tournament May 25-29 in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Hoosiers are coming off four straight series wins against Big Ten opponents. Indiana is currently 10-11 in Big Ten play. In the current Big Ten standings, the Hoosiers are tied for sixth place in the conference with Michigan.
Both Indiana and Iowa found themselves in similar positions this past weekend, winning their first two games of the series but then dropping the final game in disappointing fashion. Indiana won its first two games against Minnesota, but lost the final game despite holding the lead in the ninth. Iowa won its first two games against Michigan State, but gave up a nine-run second inning that led to its defeat in the series final.
The Hawkeyes have already secured their trip to Omaha and are currently in third place of the Big Ten standings, behind Rutgers and Maryland. Indiana, on the other hand, is battling against the likes of Purdue, Northwestern and Nebraska for a spot in the tournament.
Pitching will play a large role heading into the final three games. Iowa has been led all season by sophomore Adam Mazur, who leads the Big Ten with a 2.18 ERA and 86.2 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting just .155 against Mazur.
With a mixed schedule due to rain, Indiana’s pitching staff has seen many innings in recent games. Head coach Jeff Mercer knows that he will need to come up with a plan to use his recently-busy pitching staff.
“We'll do some things a little bit differently to make sure guys are on full rest, just to make sure those guys are as strong as they can be and be able to give us the most pitches they can this weekend,” Mercer said
Thursday and Friday’s games both have a 7 p.m. start time, and the final game will be played on Saturday at 9 p.m.