Last weekend's trip to the Palmetto State was overly disappointing, and enough to drop the Hoosiers out of the Top 40, as they dropped games to Presbyterian and Furman. This weekend, in a part of South Carolina where people actually go even when they aren't being forced to do so, Indiana is hoping to fix the problems that doomed them last weekend.
IU had more errors in Greenville than healthcare.gov. The club's veterans struggled immensely in the field and on the mound.
This weekend, Indiana looks to right the ship next-door to a piece of American naval history. Here's a quick look at the series:
WHO: College of Charleston Cougars (4-2). The Cougars are coming off an NCAA Regional title (but lost to Texas Tech in the Super Regional, dropping both games 1-0) and are currently ranked 32nd in the latest USA Today Coaches poll. They opened the season with a big win over in-state power South Carolina (No. 10), but dropped the next two to lose the series. Last weekend, CofC swept The Citadel in an all-Charleston series. CofC of scoring 5 runs per game and are led offensively by Morgan Phillips and Nick Pappas, hitting .435 and .360, respectively, and have combined to drive in 7 runs. The Cougar staff hasn't been outstanding by any means, however. The three starters have ERAs of 3.38, 3.60, and 3.86.
WHEN: Friday, 3PM. Saturday, 3PM. Sunday, 12PM. Only Friday's game can be viewed. You can access it here.
WHERE: Patriots Point. If you have ever been to Charleston, S.C., you probably wondered where in the hell there was room in the city for a baseball stadium. There isn't. So the College of Charleston plays in a stadium at Patriots Point in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Patriots Point is a huge tourist attraction due to its being the home of the USS Yorktown, one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during WWII. The stadium sits just a couple hundred yards off the water and from the Yorktown. (You can see the stadium in the backdrop of the photo of the Yorktown at the top of the article.)
WHAT TO WATCH: Indiana has to get their gloves in the dirt and make better throws. It's that simple. They probably would be 5-1 or 6-0 right now if they could have cut the defensive mistakes in half over the past two weekends. And CofC manager Monte Lee knows that if the Hoosiers play their game, they're one of the best. Lee told CofCsports.com, "We’ll be very fortunate if we can find a way to win this series. They have a very talented roster and a great coaching staff. As a team that played in Omaha two years ago and was a national seed a year ago, their expectations are high. We know we have a heck of a test this weekend against Indiana."
OUTLOOK: Who knows? The Stanford series was easy to predict, given the focus and emotion the Hoosiers would bring to Palo Alto. But last weekend taught me that it may be a little early to play prophet with this team. So, no prediction this weekend, other than that IU will get its act together defensively. And that will start with Nick Ramos. I expect a stellar weekend from the veteran shortstop.