Earlier today the Indiana Baseball program released their schedule for the 2018 season, making this announcement via Twitter:
The Hoosiers’ schedule appears to be pretty loaded this season with nonconference matchups against some of the top programs in the country, including a pair of regional hosts from last season.
Indiana will open their season by heading down to Myrtle Beach for a series of games against Oklahoma, Kansas State, and South Alabama. Then they head to Conway, SC to take on Coastal Carolina. They close out the month in Port Charlotte, FL by playing rutger, Boston College, and Chicago State.
Oklahoma, South Alabama, and Coastal Carolina will be the games to watch here, as both were top-60 RPI teams last season. The Hoosiers didn’t get a series against rutger in their Big Ten schedule, so for some reason they added them to the nonconference schedule. All in all, this should be a good way to start the season, getting a good mix of good tests and warm-up games.
March starts off with a four game series on the road against San Diego University, who were ranked 53rd in RPI last season. Following that series, the Hoosiers return to Bloomington for a 10-game homestand, which is their longest of the season. In that homestand, they’ll take on Cincinnati, Pacific, Western Illinois, Northern Illinois, and Wright State. Following those games, Indiana will head out to Iowa for a weekend series, travels to Terre Haute for a midweek game against the Sycamores, and hosts the Butler Bulldogs for three games.
The stretch of games against Pacific, Western Illinois, and Northern Illinois appears to be the easiest the Hoosiers will get all season, as those teams were all in the mid-200’s in RPI last year. The Hoosiers will also get their first (non-rutger) taste of Big Ten action against an Iowa team that won the Big Ten Tournament in 2017.
Chris Lemonis & Co. will kick off April by traveling to Muncie for a midweek game against Ball State. Following that game they return to Bart Kaufman Field for matchups against Purdue, Indiana State, and Northwestern. After that they play a game in Indianapolis against Notre Dame and host Ball State for another midweek game. They close out the month with a road trip to Ohio State, a midweek road trip to Purdue, and a three-game homestand against Illinois.
This will be a pretty telling block of games for the Hoosiers, as they need to do well in this month in order to have a successful season. They need to take care of business against lesser opponents like Purdue, Northwestern, and Ohio State if they want to have any hope of winning the conference or having a high seed come the conference tournament at the end of May. Speaking of May…
This will easily be the hardest month of the season. The Hoosiers will square of with three of the top five teams in the Big Ten as well as the two best teams on their schedule, Louisville and Kentucky, all while ping-ponging from Minneapolis to Bloomington to Lincoln, to Louisville, and back to Bloomington. Nobody did the Hoosiers a favor here, but if they get hot and pick up a pair of series W’s and a win against either Kentucky or Louisville that should bolster their NCAA tournament resume significantly.
All in all, it appears like it could be a crazy season of Hoosier baseball, and the murderer’s row of opponents at the end of the season won’t do anything to calm it down. As we near the season, we’ll have more updates here at CQ.