On Monday the field for this year’s NCAA Baseball Tournament was announced and once again IU will be involved.
After winning the Big Ten regular season title outright for the seventh time in program history, the Hoosiers (36-21, 17-7 B1G) were announced as the two-seed in the Louisville regional.
LOUISVILLE REGIONAL— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) May 27, 2019
3️⃣ Illinois State
4️⃣ UIC#RoadToOmaha pic.twitter.com/dTtvMawmKy
This marks the ninth time that IU will be in the tourney and just the fourth time as an at-large bid. Seven of those appearances have come in the last eleven seasons. It is also the sixth in the last seven years.
“This time of the year is always a lot of fun,” IU head coach Jeff Mercer said. “It’s exciting, but it’s also to be expected and that’s what we work every day for and we look forward to going out and putting our best foot forward.”
The selection also continues what has been an impressive first season for Mercer. He joins just Ernie Andres and Chris Lemonis as the only Hoosier skippers to reach an NCAA Regional in their first year.
The first round of the tournament will pit the Hoosiers against the Illinois State Redbirds (34-24, 14-7 MVC). The three-seed was one of the best teams in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, finishing second in the regular season standings before getting bounced by back-to-back losses to Dallas Baptist and Indiana State in its third and fourth games in the MVC tournament respectively.
“I know they can run, have some athletes, they really hit. I know their Friday guy is a lefty, has good numbers, has been more of a pitchability guy which we’ve struggled with at times in the past,” Mercer said. “We’re gonna have to go out and be good, but I know that they’re gonna be really well-coached because you don’t go out and win the Missouri Valley, it’s a terrific conference.”
First pitch between the Hoosiers and the Redbirds is set for 2 p.m. on Friday at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville.