Indiana baseball will travel again this weekend for another national round-robin tournament as they participate in the Seattle Baseball Showcase.
The formerly named Safeco Field Tournament will be held at newly named T-Mobile Park and will host Washington, No. 17 Coastal Carolina, San Diego, Minnesota, and No. 4 Oregon State.
The Hoosiers will play Washington on Friday, Oregon State on Saturday, and San Diego on Sunday.
It will be another test of a weekend for Indiana, facing some tough competition and having to travel across the country. They’ll look to improve upon their 6-5 record after taking two of three games from the Coastal Carolina Tournament last weekend.
Now let’s take a deeper look at Indiana’s opponents for the weekend.
The Hoosiers will start the tournament with Washington, who’s off to a stellar start with an 8-2 record.
The game will be a great test for Indiana. Washington is an experienced and talented team who went 36-25 a season ago and made it all the way to the College World Series before getting eliminated by Oregon State.
The Huskies come into the game hot, having won seven in a row and putting up lots of runs. They’re averaging 8.4 runs per game and even beat Northern Colorado earlier in the season by a score of 25-8.
Washington has four hitters who are hitting better than .300 and are led by junior catcher Nick Kahle who was named a Collegiate Baseball Preseason Third-Team All-American.
Kahle consistently hits in the two or three-hole for the Huskies and has a .419 batting average to go along with two home runs, 14 RBIs, and 10 walks on the season.
Washington will likely go with freshman right-hander David Rhodes to start on the bump. Rhodes is a player with a lot of upside. He was drafted in the 40th round of the 2018 MLB Draft to the Mariners out of high school.
In three starts, Rhodes only has 12 innings of work but has posted a 1.50 ERA and two wins.
Saturday: No. 4 Oregon State
The weekend doesn’t get any easier for Indiana as they’ll face not only two PAC-12 and 2018 College World Series teams in a row, but the defending national champions in No. 4 Oregon State.
The Beavers are 10-1 and won their first 10 before dropping one to West Virginia, 2-0.
This could be the toughest game for Indiana all season and Oregon State’s strength against Big Ten opponents won’t make things any easier.
Oregon State swept Nebraska in a four-game series two weekends ago and on Feb. 17 when they played Minnesota, the 2018 Big Ten Champs and 2019 preseason pick to win the conference again, Oregon State won 13-1.
The Oregon State bats are strong and are led by their guys in the two through four slots: sophomore right fielder Alex McGarry, junior catcher Adley Rutschman, and junior shortstop Beau Philip, respectively.
All three are hitting at least .343 for their beating average and have 10 plus RBIs. McGarry is hitting at a .429 mark and Rutschman has hit five home runs already.
The Beavers will go with Saturday starter and senior righty Bryce Fehmel to start. Fehmel was on the 2018 All-PAC-12 First Team and has a career 3.17 ERA.
In 2019, Fehmel is 2-0 in three appearances with a 2.70 ERA, 17 strikeouts, and has only given up one home run. Opponents’ batting average stands at .160.
Sunday: San Diego
Indiana will close their time in Seattle with a solid San Diego squad with a 9-4 record.
Though San Diego is not a cakewalk by any means, this will be the most winnable game for Indiana and a great way to end the weekend with a potential win.
San Diego is a team that likes to hit for contact rather than swing for the fences. They’ve only hit three home runs on the season thus far.
They do have six players who are hitting .300 or better and four with 10 plus RBIs.
Freshman utilityman Cody Jefferis is leading the way with a .388 batting average, 14 RBIs, and has drawn 11 walks. He also has hit four doubles on the season.
The Toreros have yet to establish a consistent Sunday starter but junior lefty Josh Hendrickson, junior righty Louie Crow, and junior lefty Chris Murphy are all possibilities who have made Sunday starts this season.
Here’s a comparison of the three pitchers’ stats to the season.
Hendrickson: 2.20 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 2-0, 14 K (16.1 IP)
Crow: 4.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 0-0, 6 K (6 IP)
Murphy: 2.45 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 1-1, 27 K (18.1 IP)
If Indiana can replicate what it did in the Coastal Carolina Tournament, winning two of three games, then it will have been a successful weekend for the Hoosiers.