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Preseason Top 25 Capsules: No. 20 Indiana

indiana_top25

2017 Record: 34-24-2 (14-9-1 in Big Ten); reached regional. Final ranking: NR Coach (Record at school): Chris Lemonis (101-72-2, 3 years). Top 200 2018 Draft Prospects: None.

The good news: Following a solid season last year that saw the Hoosiers return to the NCAA Tournament, the draft gave them a boost for 2018. Infielder/righthander Matt Lloyd and outfielder Logan Sowers went undrafted and third baseman Luke Miller, an eligible sophomore, elected to return to school after being picked in the 31st round. The Hoosiers had been prepared to lose all three, which along with the graduations of second baseman Tony Butler and outfielders Craig Dedelow and Alex Krupa, would have forced them to remake their lineup. Instead, Lloyd, Miller and Sowers project to form the heart of Indiana’s order this year and give it plenty of experience. The pitching staff also returns largely intact. Indiana’s 2016 recruiting class was full of high-upside pitchers who have had another year to develop. Lefthanders Cameron Beauchamp and Andrew Saalfrank are now poised to take a step forward.

The bad news: While the losses to the lineup were not as significant as they could have been, Butler, Dedelow and Krupa were three key pieces for the Hoosiers. Butler led the team in hitting and Dedelow’s 19 home runs were the second most in the Big Ten Conference. Junior college transfers Cade Bunnell and Logan Kaletha can fill their spots on the diamond, and the return of Scotty Bradley, who missed nearly all of 2017 due to injury, gives the Hoosiers more options on the right side of the infield.

Returner to know: Matt Gorski, OF: Gorski started at first base last season and was named Indiana’s rookie of the year in 2017 after hitting .288/.348/.400 as a freshman. He will move to the outfield this season, where his above-average speed and arm will help him make more of an impact defensively. He also has more potential to tap into at the plate, and if he can get to his power more consistently, he would give the Hoosiers another big bat in their lineup.

Path to Omaha: With a veteran, experienced team, Indiana enters the season as Big Ten favorites. To fulfill that potential and advance past regionals for the first time since they reached the College World Series in 2013, the Hoosiers will need someone to emerge at the front of their rotation. Stiever is the likeliest candidate, as he is coming off a solid showing in the Cape Cod League, but Beauchamp or Saalfrank have the stuff to break out as sophomores. Even without a true Friday starter, Indiana has the depth and experience to make a postseason push.

Logan-Sowers-2017-aw

2017 NCAA Regionals: Sowers Powers Hoosiers To Keep Season Alive

Logan Sowers' three homers kept Indiana alive.

2018 lineup:

C Ryan Fineman, Jr. .239/.291/.313 | 176 AB | 2 HR | 17 RBI
1B Scotty Bradley, R-So. Did not play – injured
2B Cade Bunnell, Jr. Transfer – Madison (Wisc.) JC
3B Luke Miller, Jr. .272/.331/.464 | 235 AB | 10 HR | 42 RBI
SS Jeremy Houston, So. .232/.333/.329 | 155 AB | 2 HR | 21 RBI
LF Matt Gorski, So. .288 /348/.400 | 170 AB | 4 HR | 22 RBI
CF Logan Kaletha, R-Jr. Transfer – John A. Logan (Ill.) JC
RF Logan Sowers, Sr. .291/.356/.536 | 237 AB | 13 HR | 43 RBI
DH Matt Lloyd, Sr. .301/.393/.554 | 193 AB | 11 HR | 46 RBI
RHP Jonathan Stiever, Jr. 4-4, 4.31 ERA | 77 IP | 57 SO | 0 SV
RHP Pauly Milto, Jr. 6-3, 3.92 ERA | 78 IP | 65 SO | 0 SV
LHP Andrew Saalfrank, So. 2-1, 5.58 ERA | 40 IP | 42 SO | 0 SV
RP Matt Lloyd, Sr. 3-2, 2.23 ERA | 32 IP | 20 SO | 9 SV
RP Cal Krueger, So. 5-2, 2.82 ERA | 61 IP | 37 SO | 1 SV

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