#8 Indiana Baseball 2014 Preview

Indiana Hoosiers

Overall Rank: #8
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
#8 Indiana Baseball 2014 Preview
Indiana Team Page


Indiana surprised a lot of people last season by making it to the College World Series.  The Hoosiers had a 49-16 record and won the Big Ten, but what really caught people’s eye was their sweep of Florida State in the Super Regionals.  The Hoosiers return this season with extremely high expectations, as almost the entire team from last year is back.

2013: 49-16, 15-6
2013 Postseason: CWS
Coach: Tracy Smith

Field Players:
Indiana returns 12 of its top 14 hitters. Six of those hitters batted over .300 last year, led by the powerful duo of Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis. Schwarber showed his big time potential last year, hitting .366 with a team leading 18 home runs and 54 RBIs.  He slugged .647 and drew 42 walks, which equated to a .456 on base percentage.  Travis wasn’t far behind.  He hit .316 with ten home runs and 57 RBIs.  He was also second on the team to Schwarber with 39 walks.  Third baseman Dustin DeMuth and designated hitter Scott Donley will join them. DeMuth led the team with a .377 batting average to go along with five home runs and 41 RBIs, while Scott Donley led the team in RBIs with 61 and hit .358.  Will Nolden and Casey Smith, the coach’s son, are the other two who hit over .300 in 2013. They will occupy center and right field, respectively.  Smith started 52 games last year and hit five home runs to go with 34 RBIs.  In the middle infield, Chad Clark is back at second base after starting 59 games and hitting .232.  He will be joined at short by Nick Ramos, who hit .228 in 43 games last year.  Brian Wilhite will back up the infield.  He played in 31 games and hit .292.  In the outfield, Chad Sujka, Ricky Alfonso, and Tim O’Conner are all back. Sujka saw the most action last year, starting 20 games and hitting .286.  Junior college transfer Casey Rodrigue could also see some time in the outfield.

The Hoosiers lose a big time arm in Aaron Slegers, but every other key contributor returns. Joey DeNato will lead the staring rotation after going 10-2 with a 2.52 ERA. Joining him will be Kyle Hart and Will Coursen-Carr.  Hart was 8-2 with a 3.01 ERA, while Coursen-Carr came on strong at the end of the year.  Coursen-Carr was 5-0 with a 1.93 ERA in the season and should be a dominant force this season.  The bullpen is led by closer Ryan Halstead.  Halstead was 4-5 with a 2.89 ERA and 11 saves last year.  Batters hit just .189 off of him.  Joining Halstead in the bullpen will be Scott Effross and Brian Korte.  Effross was 6-1 with a 2.44 ERA last year and Korte was 1-0 with a 1.65 ERA.  Adding depth will be Luke Harrison, Evan Bell, and Christian Morris.  Harison was 4-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 22 games, while Bell and Morris appeared in 14 and 13 games apiece last season.

Who to Watch:
Casey Rodrigue could add a new dimension to the Indiana team.  Rodrigue was a JUCO All-American last season and put up some huge numbers.  He hit .358 with five home runs and 53 RBIs and also stole 68 bases.  On a team whose leading returner on the base paths only stole 11 bases, a little speed could be useful.  Rodrigue would provide a solid option for the Hoosiers in left field and would be the ideal fit to replace Justin Cureton there.

Final Projection:
With almost all of the team back, Indiana is set to have a great year.  With the duo of Schwarber and Travis in the middle of the lineup and a solid pitching staff, Indiana should be a force to be reckoned with.  The Hoosiers have games against Oregon State and Louisville early that will be tough, but Indiana has the talent to win any time they play.  Settling for less that a return trip to Omaha would be a disappointment for this Hoosiers ball club.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Dustin DeMuth, IF, 244; Sam Travis, IF, 44
Hits: Dustin DeMuth, IF, 92
Home Runs: Klye Schwarber, C, 18
RBIs: Scott Donley, DH, 61
Runs: Kyle Schwarber, C, 65
Stolen Bases: Dustin DeMuth, IF, 11

Wins: Joey DeNato, P, 10
Innings Pitched: Joey DeNato, P, 103.2
Strikeouts: Joey DeNato, P, 87
Saves: Ryan Halstead, P, 11

Madness 2014 Baseball Draft Rankings:
#17 Kyle Schwarber
#100 Sam Travis
#134 Dustin DeMuth


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