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Hoosiers set for home opener against Middle Tennessee State

After losing a series to Samford last weekend, Indiana looks for its first series win of the season against the Blue Raiders.

Bart Kaufman Field
Alex Robbins

Who:

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (7-6, 0-0 C-USA) at Indiana Hoosiers (4-6-1, 0-0 Big Ten)

Where:

Bart Kaufman Field, Bloomington, Indiana

When:

Friday, March 10th, 3:05 p.m. ET

Saturday, March 11th, 2:05 p.m. ET

Sunday, March 12th, 1:05 p.m. ET

Probable Starters

Friday: LHP Jake Wyrick (2-0, 1.76 ERA) at LHP Tim Herrin (1-1, 4.72 ERA)

Saturday: RHP Carson Lester (0-2, 9.82 ERA) at RHP Brian Hobbie (0-1, 5.40 ERA)

Sunday: RHP Devin Conn (1-2, 8.56 ERA) at LHP Andrew Saalfrank (0-1, 6.08 ERA)

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Preview

With a cancellation of a midweek game against Evansville, Indiana moves on in their schedule to face off against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. Last year the Blue Raiders got the best of Indiana in Murfreesboro, beating the Hoosiers in two out of three games in the season’s opening series last year. This year the teams will play at Bart Kaufman Field as Indiana returns from weeks on the road in Arizona, Florida, and Alabama.

“It’s tough going on the road three or four straight weekends because you don’t get to have the experience of your home fans,” said Indiana C Ryan Fineman. “So I think everyone’s more than ready this weekend.”

The home fans might not show up for the Hoosiers first home series in high numbers, however, as the projected highs during the series aren’t looking to break the 40 degree mark.

The Blue Raiders will be there, though, and they come to Bloomington on a hot streak. Middle Tennessee State has won four out of their last five, two in midweek games earlier this week at Memphis. The Hoosiers will look to break up this streak with the help of some powerful batting.

Indiana is currently averaging over one home run per game this season with 12 homers through only 11 games. This puts the Hoosiers at second in the Big Ten for total homers only behind Illinois.

Some of the big standouts in this powerful roster can be found in OF Craig Dedelow and INF Matt Lloyd. Dedelow is coming off of a strong series against Samford in which he went 5-for-11 at bat that included a game where he was only a double away from hitting the cycle. Meanwhile Lloyd is coming off of a five-RBI weekend at Samford.

First pitch on Friday has been moved up to 3:05 p.m. ET due to impending weather

What to Expect:

If Indiana can get through Friday with a victory, Indiana should be expected to sweep the series. While Middle Tennessee’s Friday P Jake Wyrick is coming in with a 1.76 ERA, the next two pitchers have a 9.82 ERA and a 8.56 ERA respectively.

This Middle Tennessee team is currently outperforming expectations. At the beginning of the season, the Blue Raiders where projected to finish 10th in the Conference USA Preseason Poll, to add to that not a single Blue Raider was put on the preseason All-Conference Team either. So it might not be a reach to expect them to come back down to earth.

Indiana’s pitching hasn’t been much better either as the projected starters for this weekend have a combined 1-3 record. And the Hoosiers will miss Jonathan Stiever, the club’s “ace” and Friday starter for the second straight weekend. But if Indiana can keep hitting with power, they should be just fine.