After dropping three of their last four, the Michigan Wolverines baseball team looks to find some fire just weeks before the postseason. They come into the series with a 23-18 overall record, 9-5 in Big Ten play, good enough for fifth in the Big Ten standings. The Indiana Hoosiers enter the series with a 20-24 overall record, 6-9 in conference, placing them at 10th in the Big Ten standings.
Indiana has won seven of their last nine contests, including two Big Ten series wins against Illinois and Nebraska. Since the 2022 Big Ten Conference Tournament is an eight-team double elimination format, expect the Hoosiers to play with a chip on their shoulder this weekend, in a decisive weekend for their postseason hopes.
Hoosiers to Watch
Indiana’s offense is difficult to summarize. They have hitters of each archetype – contact guys who get on base at high clips, power guys who either strike out or hit a ball out of the yard, and several in between.
One to highlight is Bobby Whalen, who has started each of the 44 games that the Hoosiers have played. He leads the team in hits, with 61, earning him a .330 batting average. A major part of Whalen’s game is stolen bases. He has stolen 21 bases and has only been caught stealing twice. If he is able to consistently swipe bases against the Wolverines, the big bats in the middle of the lineup will surely take advantage of it.
The two power bats in the Hoosier lineup are Matthew Ellis and Carter Mathison. They have near identical stats this year, and both pose an issue to Wolverine pitching. Ellis has racked up 14 home runs, 47 runs batted in along with a .400 on base percentage. Mathison has 13 home runs, 40 runs batted in, and an identical .400 on base percentage. Further, they are tied for the team lead in walks, both with 29. The good news for the Michigan pitching staff about this dreaded duo is their combined 97 strikeouts.
Keys to Win for Wolverines
In order for Michigan to win this weekends series, they must take advantage of the lack of depth in the Indiana pithing staff. The Hoosiers only have three pitchers with earned run averages below five, and no pitchers with an earned run average under four. This series should feature multiple games dictated by heavy offense, and for Michigan to come out victorious they must take advantage of lesser pitching and work into Indiana’s bullpen. Indiana has had 10 pitchers start at least one game this year, so it is unclear who exactly Michigan will face.
The series kicks off Friday, May 6th at 6pm, followed by a game Saturday, May 7th at 2pm, with the series finale on Sunday, May 8th at 1pm.