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Indiana opens B1G play against Iowa

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Jeff Mercer & Co. will try to get conference play started on the right foot against a perplexing opponent

Indiana opens Big Ten play at home this weekend with a three-game set against Iowa.

Who

Indiana Hoosiers (12-8) vs Iowa Hawkeyes (11-7)

Where

Bart Kaufman Field, Bloomington, Indiana

When

Friday, March 22, 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 23, 2:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 24, 1:05 p.m.

Probable Starters

RHP Pauly Milto (4-1, 2.57 ERA) vs RHP Cole McDonald (1-3, 5.74 ERA)

RHP Tanner Gordon (1-3, 4.74 ERA) vs LHP Cam Baumann (0-1, 5.12 ERA)

LHP Andrew Saalfrank (1-1, 2.93 ERA) vs RHP Grant Judkins (2-1, 1.52 ERA)

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Preview

After plenty of non-conference action including trips to the southeast and the pacific northwest as well as a sweep of Canisius last weekend and a 15-14 win over Indiana State in Terre Haute on Tuesday Big Ten play is finally here as IU welcomes the Iowa Hawkeyes into Bark Kaufman Field on Friday. This is the second season in a row in which these teams will open conference play against each other. Last season they played a Friday doubleheader because of the weather and split it 1-1.

The second game of the doubleheader might have been the worst start of the season for Hoosier ace Pauly Milto who gave up a trio of runs in 1.2 innings and had trouble getting a good breaking ball grip because of the inclement weather.

Now Milto will get the ball to start the series following a rough outing against Canisius in which he gave up five runs but still managed to get the win. If he can kick off the weekend with a strong performance it would be a huge lift for the Hoosiers.

The Indiana offense has been on a tear lately. Over the past five games the Hoosiers have scored 66 runs. That’s not a typo. IU has failed to score more than 10 runs just once in the last week. Unsurprisingly the Hoosiers are undefeated during this stretch. The competition that Indiana has faced hasn’t been the strongest, of course, but this run should give the Hoosiers confidence at the plate and that could be crucial this weekend.

The Hawkeyes have had an interesting season thus far. They’ve got a great series win over a ranked Oklahoma State team in Stillwater, but at the same time they have a series loss to Evansville on the road and also dropped two of four against Hawaii and their lone matchup with George Mason.