Note: Friday's game has been postponed. Two games will be played Saturday as part of a day-night doubleheader with the first game starting at 1:05.
Here's everything you need to know about this matchup of two clubs who both enter the weekend on a roll:
WHO: Cal State Fullerton, one of the most successful programs in the history of Division-I baseball (four College World Series Championships, T-5 most of all-time), parades into Bloomington this weekend after overcoming a few early season struggles having won eight of their last 10, highlighted by a weekend sweep of then-No. 5 Texas Tech. The Titans started the season 2-5, which included dropping two of three to Stanford, Indiana and Fullerton's only common opponent to this point.
But their bats have come alive in their last 11 games, as the Titans are averaging nearly 6.3 runs per game. They have five hitters seeing regular at-bats who are hitting over .300. But in 15 games, Fullerton only has two home runs, meaning they are producing their runs through tons of hits and walks.
And two of Fullerton's three regular starters have kept them in every game. Thomas Eshelman (1.23 ERA) and Justin Garza (2.57 ERA) are also giving Manager Rick Vanderhook a lot of innings (43.1 combined IP in 7 starts), allowing the skipper to save his bullpen for his other starters who have been shelled all season.
The Titan defense has been tremendous behind the pitchers, as well. The total nine errors they have committed in 15 games are dwarfed by the 25 errors Indiana committed through its first 14 games. The efficiency of each defense will be interesting to watch this weekend in the battle of these two, otherwise evenly matched clubs.
WHEN: Saturday, 1:05 PM, first game of doubleheader. Sunday, 1:05 PM. Watch on btn2go.com or listen at iuhoosiers.com. Or just go to the game and enjoy America's favorite pastime in America's best college town.
WHERE: Bart Kaufman Field.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The aforementioned defensive disparity will need to be narrowed if Indiana is going to compete. Giving teams like Eastern Michigan extras baserunners won't kill you, but giving them to a powerhouse will.
Scott Effross will miss his 2nd straight start. Last weekend, Lemonis said Effross was resting as a precautionary measure due to general soreness he was experiencing, but him sitting out during this big series raises a few questions. He'll be replaced in the rotation by Caleb Baragar, making his second career start. Last weekend, he struck out nine batters in a 5.0 inning no decision against St. Joseph's. Baragar will start on Saturday.
Christian Morris, who was pounded by Dartmouth last weekend, (6 runs in 5.0 IP; he did pick up the win thanks to a huge 2nd inning for the Hoosier offense) will matchup with the Titans on Friday. And Jake Kelzer will assume his regular role as the last starter of the weekend.
We should expect Morris to bounce back from the rough outing against Dartmouth. The veteran has had very few outings like his one last week, so there's no reason to anticipate that he'll have another this weekend. And Kelzer is coming off his one-hit, 7.0 inning performance against Ball State, so the Hoosiers will be confident with him facing the Fullerton No. 3 starter. Baragar will be the question mark as he takes a huge step up in class for his second start, from St. Joe's to the Titans. Don't be surprised if the Saturday game becomes a pitcher by committee effort.
Lastly, you might also watch for a rainout on Friday and a doubleheader on Saturday.