In what is becoming an annual tradition (both in Columbia and on RMN), it is time to preview the Columbia Regional, which will start up at 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. It is a standard, four-team, double-elimination format, so the #1 seeded Tigers will take on the #4 seeded Redbirds of Illinois State while the #2 seeded Indiana Hoosiers will take on the #3 seeded Depaul Blue Demons. Missed any? Find them here
Today, we will take a look at the team slated to face Mizzou on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. if the seeding holds. Indiana is pretty new to the NCAA tournament party, with their first trip since 2006. How do they stack up? Let's dive right in.
Overall, the Hoosiers finished the season at 37-16 with a 17-3 record in the Big 10+2 Conference. They went 17-1 at home, 8-6 on the road and 12-9 at neutral site games. Their RPI is 28th per the NCAA site (linked here). They run-ruled two opponents, were run-ruled themselves just one time and went 4-2 in extra inning games.
Another pretty impressive list of common opponents:
- South Florida (IU won 5-1, Mizzou won 4-1)
- San Diego State (IU won 3-2 in 8 innings, Mizzou won 9-1 in 5 innings)
- Illinois (IU won 8-0 in 6 innings and 3-1, Mizzou won 4-3 and 8-0 in 6 innings)
- SMS (IU lost 3-2 in 8 innings, Mizzou won 11-0 in 6 innings)
- Cal (IU lost 3-0 and 4-3 in 9 innings, MU lost 1-0)
- UNI (IU lost 5-1, Mizzou won 7-2)
- Oklahoma (IU lost 9-0 in 5 innings, MU won 3-2 in 9 innings and 1-0 in 11 innings
- Texas Tech (IU lost 4-1, MU won 4-1 and 10-1 in 6 innings)
- Minnesota (IU won 4-2 and lost 2-0, MU won 2-0)
I show IU going 20-13 in non-conference action, and they had some tough opponents along the way. IU played games against Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Cal and Oklahoma, all of whom currently reside in the top 9 in RPI. Though they did not defeat any of those teams, they were able to register solid wins against #43 San Diego State (3-2 in 8 innings), as well as #47 Chattanooga (2-0). Their worst non-con losses would be a 3-2 defeat (in 8 innings) against #81 SMS and a 5-1 loss to #108 UNI. Their "worst" wins would come against #282 Arkansas-Pine Bluff (18-0 and 4-1 wins)
Big 10+2 Action:
The 17-3 record in conference was good enough for 2nd place overall, and also saw Indiana score its signature win over #10 (RPI) Michigan at Ann Arbor 5-4 in 8 innings. Indiana also swept fellow conference-mates Illinois (#40) and Penn State (#46), while dropping games to Michigan, #64 Northwestern and #73 Minnesota.
Overall, the team hit a pretty paltry .257 for the season (MU .306) with 25 HR's (MU 58) and and a team slugging percentage of .358 (MU .497). At the plate the team was lead by senior Sara Olson, who led the team in batting average (.338), doubles (9), HR's (8), RBI's (34), total bases (78) and slugging (.586). She was followed by sophomore infielder Brenna Saucedo who was just behind her in batting average (.333) and who led the team in hits (60), runs (27) and steals (13-18). The only other player to start in each game for the Hoosiers was junior catcher Cassie Cogreve who only managed to bat .232 on the year. Senior pitcher Morgan Melloh had 48 starts and batted .322 while placing second on the team in slugging at .437 (she hit 2 HR's) Not too much team speed for the Hoosiers, as they managed only 30 steals on 47 attempts (MU 86)
IU posted a decent .964 fielding percentage (MU .972). Saucedo led the way with 12 errors, while light-hitting (.164) freshman infielder Shelby Cogreve contributed 11 errors in 51 games (45 starts)
So Indiana did not really hit well and certainly did not play in what is considered a tough conference. How did they come to be where they are? Pitching, and one in particular. Morgan Melloh (a Fresno St. transfer where she was a 2008 Frosh All-American) went 32-15 on the season (accounting for all but 5 decisions) and even registered the lone Hoosier save. She has already thrown 307.1 innings on the season, striking out a VERY impressive 477 batters with a 1.62 ERA. She has given up 180 hits and 135 walks (along with 18 wild pitches and 27 HBP's) on the year, but batters are hitting just .167 against her. She has been the workhorse, sporting 45 complete games. The other Indiana pitchers have combined to throw only 53.2 innings, but are also sporting an average ERA of around 1.50.
Indiana is going to be pretty new to this scene this weekend. Last year, the Hoosiers won just 12 games, and their pitching staff had a team ERA of 4.59. This year, they have reduced it down to a lovely 1.63. However, the bats have still not really improved too much. Last year, the Hoosiers hit .238 and averaged just over 2.5 earned runs per game (which is why they lost so many). This year, they are up to the aforementioned .257, but are only averaging just a hair over 3 earned runs per game. Needless to say, if they are to win some games, they are going to have to do so in low-scoring fashion.
As for their first opponent in Depaul, these two have already faced one another this year (game info here). It was one of the worst outings of the season for Melloh, who got chased after just over 2 innings on her way to a 7-3 loss. We will take a look at Depaul tomorrow, but Indiana certainly has a VERY tough game on their hands for a 2/3 matchup, especially considering Depaul is inside the top-32 in RPI. It would not surprise me to see Indiana fall in the first game and perhaps even bow out quickly, depending on just how much is left in the gas tank of Melloh.