Victory Field, Indianapolis, Indiana
Tuesday, April 25, 7:00 p.m. ET
A lot has changed since these two teams last met at Bart Kaufman Field on April 4th, a game that the Hoosiers won on a Matt Lloyd 11th inning walk off home run. Since that game, Indiana has been up and down, losing a series at Purdue before winning four of their last seven against Minnesota, Butler, and Michigan to get back into the NCAA Tournament picture. Meanwhile the Cardinals have caught fire, winning 10 straight after the loss to the Hoosiers, a streak that ended in a 6-5 loss to Ohio on Sunday.
Cal Krueger will make his second career start for the Hoosiers. In his first start, he took the loss after allowing two runs in 3.0 IP. Cincinnati beat Indiana 6-1 that night.
Krueger’s start signals that Indiana will pitch by committee tonight in Indianapolis. In 15 appearances, Krueger has gone 4.0 IP twice, but never more. This past weekend was one of those occasions. He picked up his first collegiate win on Saturday after throwing four innings in relief of Brian Hobbie in Saturday’s 12-9 slobber-knocker. Krueger was the most effective pitcher of the entire day, allowing just three hits and one run.
As for the Cardinals, Fort Wayne native Colin Brockhouse could pose a midweek challenge for the Hoosiers, who have seen their fair share of tough midweek starters. Two summers ago, Brockhouse was named a Summer Collegiate All-American by Perfect Game and last year he was drafted in the 37th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This will mark just his fifth appearance of the season on the mound, but he has been impressive. In the first game of the season, Brockhouse went 4.1 IP against a tough Maryland squad and allowed just one hit while picking up the win. One week later, he went 8.0 IP and allowed two runs on just three hits against West Virginia, who now sits 9th in the RPI.
Perhaps Indiana is catching Brockhouse at the right time, though. This past weekend, against Buffalo, Brockhouse walked a man, allowed a hit, and gave up two earned runs while recording only one out.
This is the third consecutive season the Hoosiers have played at Victory Field in April, but this will mark the first time they have played Ball State. Two years ago the Hoosiers scored three runs in the Bottom of the 9th for a walk-off win over Notre Dame. Last year, the Irish shut down the Indiana offense for a 5-0 win.
What to Expect
Even though the Hoosiers and the Cardinals played a low scoring 3-2 battle in Bloomington, expect both teams to put more runs on the board in the rematch. The Indiana offense has had its below par moments, but has shown its explosiveness in recent weeks, such as hanging 13 runs on Minnesota on April 15 and 12 runs at Michigan on Saturday.
It will likely take a better performance for the Hoosier bats against the Cardinals the second time around, as Ball State’s bats have been on fire since the Indiana game, averaging nine runs per game in their last 11 matchups, scoring in double digits in six games, highlighted by a 23-run eruption against Bowling Green on April 15. Combined with Indiana’s inconsistent at best pitching, the Hoosiers and the Cardinals could have a shootout in the makings.