The pressure is on at Senior Day for the Hoosiers.
Indiana knows exactly what it is up against today after Michigan split a doubleheader last night at Nebraska. The Hoosiers and Wolverines are presently tied atop the Big Ten standings at 16-7. Michigan has no more games remaining on its league schedule, and no one else can catch the two leaders at the top.
What that means is simple. If Indiana wins its regular season finale today against Rutgers it will be crowned the outright Big Ten champion. If IU loses, that honor goes to Michigan.
Fortunately for the Hoosiers, their third starter just might be their best right now.
Junior lefthander Andrew Saalfrank has been on a roll in Big Ten play. The 6-foot-3 hurler is 7-1 this year with a 2.40 earned run average.
The Hoagland, Ind. native has accumulated 90 strikeouts (and just 22 walks) in 63.2 innings of work.
In league play Saalfrank’s numbers have been even better, with a 5-0 record and a 2.21 earned run average.
Saalfrank will try to do enough to complement a red hot Hoosier squad at the plate. IU has scored seven or more runs in each of its last three games, including an 11 run outburst on Friday night that saw the Hoosiers add to their nation’s and program best home run total. IU now has 89 homers on the season.
Indiana hit four out of the park on Friday night, including two from Scotty Bradley.
Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer addressed the team after the Friday night win:
Tomorrow's gonna be fun 😏 pic.twitter.com/kO0X0i4M4r
— Indiana Baseball ⚾️ (@IndianaBase) May 18, 2019
It will no easy task for IU at the plate on Saturday, as the Scarlet Knights will send their own strong starter to the mound. Tommy Genuario is 3-4 with a 2.58 earned run average. Genuario only became a full time starter recently, and he has given up two earned runs or less in all but one of his last eight appearances of five innings or more.
The first pitch is at 12:05 p.m. eastern from Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington and can also be seen on BTN.
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