T-Mobile Park, Seattle, Washington
Friday, March 8, 10 p.m.
Saturday, March 9, 6 p.m.
Sunday, March 10, 2 p.m.
Sunday: LHP Andrew Saalfrank (0-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. TBA
After having their scheduled midweek contest with Indiana State snowed out, the Hoosiers are back on the road to face stiff competition this weekend. Indiana will be in Seattle at T-Mobile Park (formerly Safeco Field) to take on three red-hot west coast teams.
Late on Friday night, the Hoosiers will face the Washington Huskies, winners of seven straight and eight out of 10 to start their season. While Washington’s schedule has been weak - nothing like the one Indiana has faced - they’ve made it look even easier than it might have actually been. This past week centerfielder Braiden Ward and right-hander Josh Burgmann swept the Pac-12 Player and Pitcher of the Week honors after dominating Cal Poly, outscoring them a combined 25-10 in a three-game romp.
On Sunday afternoon, Indiana will face San Diego for the second time in as many seasons. Last year, Indiana went to San Diego for a four-game set against the then-No. 13 Toreros and took three games that set the tone for the rest of a successful season. San Diego has won four of their last five, including a 31-3 win over UC Riverside on Tuesday.
Despite the quality of those two teams all eyes this weekend will be on Saturday evening’s showdown with No. 4 Oregon State. The defending champs are 10-1, highlighted by a four-game throttling of Darin Erstad’s Nebraska squad wherein the Beavers outscored the Huskers 38-9. Their lone loss was to West Virginia in their last time out.
Oregon State’s bullpen has been outstanding so far in 2019, allowing just four earned runs in 39 innings for a 0.92 ERA, meaning it will be imperative for the Hoosiers to get on the board early and often to have a chance against a club scoring just under nine runs per game.
The performance of the rotation will be interesting to see this weekend. First-year Hoosier Tanner Gordon has shown that he has the goods as a starter and it looks like he’ll hold down the Saturday job for the foreseeable future, but it’s not out of line to question whether the JUCO transfer is ready to face the No. 4 team in the land. The Hoosiers will run out Pauly Milto on Friday and Gordon on Saturday per usual, but you have to wonder if the coaching staff considered holding its ace for the marquee matchup of the weekend.