Indiana baseball will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan this weekend to take on the Wolverines in a three-game series. Winning seven of their last 10 games, the Hoosiers are in search of their third straight Big Ten series win.
Indiana and Michigan haven’t faced each other since last season, where Michigan took two of the three games to win the series. In the two teams’ all-time competition, Michigan leads 135-75.
With less than a month of the regular season left, Michigan currently sits in the middle of the Big Ten. The Wolverines are in fifth place with a 9-6 record in conference play, and they have only played Big Ten opponents since April 15.
In the three Big Ten series Michigan has played, it has won two, sweeping Michigan State and winning two games out of three against Ohio State. In their last series, the Wolverines took on Purdue, but lost the first two games and dropped the series. Purdue outscored Michigan 32-21, and Michigan allowed 30 runs in the first two games.
Indiana only has nine more games against conference opponents and is looking to move up in the Big Ten rankings as the final weeks of the season approach. The Hoosiers currently stand in 10th place, but are looking to carry on their momentum from the recent weeks to jump up to a top-eight spot in the Big Ten.
A spot in the top eight would earn Indiana a bid to the Big Ten Tournament at the end of May.
Indiana has seen a resurgence within its pitching staff in its recent series. Strong outings from juniors Jack Perkins and Ty Bothwell have put Indiana’s pitching in a much better position than it was earlier in the season, and head coach Jeff Mercer said that has been the driving factor behind Indiana’s success.
“We've gotten starting pitching that's given us a chance to get (the game) off the ground,” Mercer said. “When we've had a good start, we've had an opportunity to get the game going without giving away runs early.”
The Hoosiers have also had help from their young hitters, as freshman Carter Mathison is on the brink of breaking an all-time Indiana record. Mathison has 13 home runs on the season, the second-highest total on the team. With that number, Mathison is just one home run away from tying former Hoosier Alex Dickerson’s freshman record of 14 home runs in a season.
The first game between the Hoosiers and the Wolverines will be at 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m. and the series will close with a 1 p.m. start on Sunday.