Indiana Hoosiers (3-1 in 2018) (34-24-2, 14-9-1 in 2017)
Rutger Scarlet Knights (1-2) (19-34, 7-16 B1G)
Boston College Eagles (2-1) (11-19, 25-28 ACC)
Chicago St Cougars (2-1) (11-41, 7-17 WAC)
North Charlotte Regional Park, Port Charlotte, FL
South County Regional Park, Port Charlotte, FL
Friday, Feb 23, 3 p.m. ET vs. Rutger
Saturday, Feb 24, Noon ET vs. Boston College
Sunday, Feb 25, 10:30 a.m. ET vs Chicago St
Friday: RHP Jonathon Stiever (0-1, 10.80 ERA) vs RHP John O’Reilly (0-1, 15 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Pauly Milto (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs LHP Dan Metzdorf (0-0, 27.00 ERA)
Sunday: TBD vs TBD
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The Hoosiers will continue their 11 game road trip to kick off the 2018 campaign. Coming off a 3-1 weekend in Myrtle Beach, Indiana will travel further south to face a trio of opponents in Port Charlotte, FL as a part of the Snowbird Classic. The Hoosiers will begin the weekend of non conference play with a Friday afternoon tilt against Rutger. Both starting pitchers have an ERA over 10 in this matchup as Jonathon Stiever (6 earned runs on 8 hits and 3 home runs given up in 5 innings pitched) and John O’Reilly (7 runs—5 earned—on 5 hits and 3 walks in just 3 innings of work) each struggled severely in their first starts of the season. How Stiever pitches against the Scarlet Knights will be the most intriguing point of Indiana’s weekend in Florida. If he can pitch like the guy who went 4-4 with a 4.31 ERA in 2017 Hoosier fans can feel a little bit better at his disastrous start to the season against Oklahoma last week. As a whole Indiana’s starting pitching outside of Pauly Milto was pretty disappointing; however, if Indiana is going to be any threat in the Big Ten and on a national scale, they are going to need Stiever to be a strong Friday night starter. The Hoosier lineup should be able to give Stiever some run support against O’Reilly, and an early lead could calm Stiever’s nerves and help get him into a rhythm.
The middle game of the weekend will pin the Hoosiers against Boston College. While the Eagles were under .500 in 2017, the chance to beat an ACC team could be helpful for Indiana’s RPI. The Hoosiers will send the usually dependable Milto to the mound to face Metzdorf, who has never had an ERA under 5 in his college career. The Hoosiers will want to do their work early against the Eagles, as Boston College boasts one of the better bullpens in the ACC. Through three games, the top 5 in the BC pen (Sean Hughes, Thomas Lane, Carmen Giampetruzzi, Jack Hodgson, and Joey Walsh) combined for 9.2 innings of one run ball last weekend.
To close out the Snowbird Classic, Indiana will face Chicago St, who finished tied for dead last with UT Rio Grande Valley in the WAC in 2017. The Cougars finished 284th in the RPI last season. Whoever ends up getting the start for the Hoosiers will have to deal with a hot Cougar lineup, as Chicago St scored 27 runs as they won two of three against LIU-Brooklyn last weekend.
What to Expect
Yes baseball is a crapshoot and anything can happen in any game, but Indiana should be able to sweep the weekend. Indiana’s lineup should be able to light up the scoreboard against subpar pitching and it should be a nice confidence boost for Indiana early in the season. For it to be a successful weekend, it would be nice to see Stiever and whoever eventually ends up starting on Sunday to give quality starts, and to see if Matt Lloyd can put his 1-16 start in the batters box behind him.