Before you know it, baseball season will be upon us. Typically college teams around the country kick off their seasons in the early weeks of February, but of course this year everything is out of whack due to the ongoing pandemic. Yes, all of that did start just after the beginning of last college baseball season, why do you ask?
Althought IU hasn’t announced a proper schedule yet, we’ve already gotten our first sniff of a new campaign. On Wednesday, Perfect Game USA announced its preseason poll and the Hoosiers were included not too far behind the heavyweights like No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Louisville.
Perfect Game placed Indiana as its 14th-best team in the nation in the poll, which is one of the better, if not the best, starting points for the program in the polls in recent years. Back in 2018 the Hoosiers were ranked 17th in the nation by Perfect Game ahead of the season.
Indiana’s not only the highest-ranked Big Ten team in the poll — Michigan sits at No. 18 and Ohio State squeaked in at No. 23 — it’s also the highest-ranked team north of the Ohio River, making them (for now) The Team Of The North.
The Hoosiers have some pretty prestigious neighbors in the poll as well, as they sit just in front of former skipper Tracy Smith’s Arizona State Sun Devils, just behind the East Carolina Pirates and just two spots behind former skipper Chris Lemonis’ Mississippi State Bulldogs, a team that was considered a national title contender in 2020.
A big reason for that high ranking is the presence of outfielder Grant Richardson. The junior got hot out of the gate last season and received plenty of national recognition because of it. That’s rolled over into this preseason as he’s received multiple All-American honors including a first-team spot from Perfect Game. For context, the most recent Hoosiers to do that were Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis back in 2014. IU did have a pair of PGUSA Preseason All-Americans last season in Matt Gorski and Matt Lloyd, though they received second- and third-team honors respectively.
Last season the Hoosiers wrapped things up at 9-6 overall with solid non-conference wins over South Alabama and East Carolina. The Hoosiers also took a game off of LSU in a weekend series to open the season. They are, at this point, still defending Big Ten champions.