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Indiana baseball releases 2019 schedule

And it does not impress.

Indiana has released its first baseball schedule under new head coach Jeff Mercer. The Hoosiers will start their season with a three-game road trip to Memphis to take on the Tigers, beginning on February 15.

2019 Indiana Baseball Schedule

Opponent Date(s) Opp. 2018 Record Opp. 2018 RPI
Opponent Date(s) Opp. 2018 Record Opp. 2018 RPI
at Memphis February 15-17 20-36 188
at Tennessee February 22-24 29-27 76
at Butler February 27 31-20 120
Coastal Carolina Tournament March 1-3
Indiana State March 5 31-24 72
Safeco Field Tournament March 8-10
at Cincinnati March 13 28-28 92
Canisius March 15-17 35-20 133
at Indiana State March 19 31-24 72
Iowa* March 22-24 29-20 77
Kent State March 27 38-16 61
at Maryland* March 29-31 24-30 102
at Ball State April 2 32-26 148
Penn State* April 5-7 15-34 240
Purdue April 13 37-19 31
at Evansville April 12-14 11-37 268
Ball State April 16 32-26 148
at Michigan State* April 19-21 20-32 192
Minnesota* April 26-28 40-13 13
at Illinois May 3-5 32-20 47
at Kentucky May 7 34-22 30
at Michigan* May 10-12 33-20 58
Louisville May 14 43-17 24
Rutger May 16-18 25-25 165

A few things about this schedule jump out:

  • An . . . interesting start. The Hoosiers will start the season with back-to-back series at Memphis and at Tennessee. Over the past few seasons, Indiana has played a number of true road series in the first month or so of the season, but they typically found either very warm weather or very good competition. Sometimes both. See College of Charleston, Hawaii, Florida Atlantic. But in Memphis and Tennessee, there’s no guarantee for either. They were 188th and 76th in final RPI (from D1baseball.com), respectively, last season. And Tennessee in February doesn’t exactly offer temperatures in the low 80s. To make these trips worth it at all, Indiana will need to take five or six total games and get off to a rocket-fast start.
  • An easy path to a Big Ten championship? Well, easy might be a stretch, but there’s certainly a clear one. There are two series on the Big Ten slate that the Hoosiers should only be satisfied after if they’ve swept the three games — home series with Penn State and Rutger. But two more come against foes that finished sub-100 in the RPI last year — at Maryland and at Michigan State. If Indiana can take 10 or 11 games in those four series, they’d be well on their way to the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament. And getting Iowa and Minnesota at home should give the Hoosiers a leg up in the race for the regular season crown. Don’t be surprised if they’re tabbed as the preseason favorite.
  • A non-conference schedule that leaves something to be desired. Like Memphis and Tennessee, the Hoosiers’ other non-conference series opponents could be described as weak at best. Canisius, who will visit for one of just five series to be played at Bart Kaufman Field in 2019, did make the NCAA Tournament last season, but only thanks to the automatic bid from the Metro Atlantic. They were quickly sent back home by Minnesota and Gonzaga. Evansville, who finished with a final RPI of 268 last season, is the only other non-conference opponent that Indiana will face for a full series. Then they’ll split home-and-homes with Ball State and Indiana State. In all (until the fields of the Coastal Carolina and Safeco Field events are named), the Hoosiers have just three non-conference games on the calendar against clubs that finished with Top-50 RPIs last season — Purdue, Louisville, and Kentucky.

There seems to be very little room for error given the pitiful non-conference schedule, though that could change if they get to play Coastal Carolina or if their slate in the Safeco Field event features some quality opponents from the Pacific Northwest, such as Washington, Gonzaga, or the defending national champions, Oregon State.

And as a final note, there is one glaring omission from the calendar: a game at Victory Field against Notre Dame. Though, the weeks between the series against Michigan State and Minnesota and between Minnesota and Illinois do not include any midweek contests as of now, so there is potential to add that matchup. Another game could also potentially be added as the Hoosiers have just 54 on the schedule as of its release.