Following a 43-18 record and a Missouri Valley Conference Championship win in 2019, the Indiana State University Baseball team is ready to start up the 2020 season with the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Florida. The Sycamores season came to an end last year after a 12-1 loss to College World Series Champion the Vanderbilt Commodores.
With a set of new players coming into the season, there will be a learning curve against their first three competitors: Pittsburgh, Kent State and Ohio State.
“We’ve got nine new guys,” ISU head baseball coach Mitch Hannahs said to Sycamore Athletics. “We talk about learning on the job. We’re still learning what these guys will look like when the lights are on.”
The first game of the season will be Friday against Pittsburgh who finished last season with a record of 21-34.
There will be some new faces on defense for ISU but they will find some consistency in their bullpen with redshirt senior pitcher Collin Liberatore and recently cleared redshirt junior pitcher Tristan Weaver, who missed last season due to injury. Pitching was their biggest reason for victory last season.
“With the veterans, we have on the staff we feel good about the guys we can run out on the mound,” Hannahs said. “Weaver is a proven guy. He’s a quality left-handed guy.”
ISU’s second game on Saturday will be against Kent State. KSU had a more successful 2019 season finishing 30-24. KSU is a heavy-hitting team that has the potential to cause some problems for ISU. The Sycamores will have to rely on new coming players and some offseason improvements since the last year. Therefore, Coach Hannahs wanted their schedule to start in a warmer climate.
“We wanted the extra practice time in warmer weather,” Hannah said. “We are asking new guys to learn a couple of positions.”
The Sycamores will finish the weekend by playing the Ohio State University Buckeyes on Sunday. The last time these two teams went head to head ended in a 10-5 victory for ISU in the regional tournament semifinal.
OSU finished their season with a 36-27 record that took them three games away from making the college world series. OSU has an even mix of veterans and newcomers with a group of returning pitchers that coach Hannahs and the Sycamores will have to look out for.
“Play through the first weekend,” Hannahs said. “There’s a lot of work to be done all season long to keep it moving.”
ISU will conclude the Snowbird Classic with four more games next weekend. They will play against Omaha, Dartmouth, Chicago State. Those games will be played Feb. 20 and will finish up Sunday Feb. 16.