Big Ten coaches tab Hoosiers as preseason favorite

Indiana is the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten.

League coaches tabbed the Hoosiers as the top team in the conference entering this weekend’s season-opening slate of games.

IU, which went 34-24-2 last year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in six seasons, returns 100 percent of last season’s starters, 94 percent of its winning pitchers, 91 percent of its innings and 91 percent of its strikeouts. At the plate, the Hoosiers return 62 percent of their runs from last season, 62 percent of their hits, 61 percent of their RBIs and 59 percent of their extra-base hits.

Indiana is also ranked No. 20 nationally by Baseball America, No. 17 by Perfect Game and No. 23 by

“It’s baseball season, even though it doesn’t feel like it outside,” IU coach Chris Lemonis said Wednesday. “We’re excited. It’s a great group of kids. They’ve worked extremely hard since we left (the NCAA Tournament in) Lexington last year at the end of the season. We’re fortunate. We had some guys come back. We have a really good recruiting class that came in and it’s the fourth year of us being here, so we feel like we’ve built a team and had a chance to fill some gaps. We’ve got a chance to be pretty good.”

Third baseman Luke Miller, utility man/closer Matt Lloyd and outfielder Logan Sowers were named IU’s three Big Ten preseason honorees.

Miller tied for third in the Big Ten in runs (52), tied for eighth in home runs (10), and was 11th in total bases (109) last season. Lloyd tied for fourth in the conference in saves (9), while Sowers led the Big Ten with 19 doubles, was third in total bases (127) and fourth in home runs (13).

Following the Hoosiers, league coaches voted Nebraska second, Minnesota third, Maryland fourth, Michigan fifth and Iowa sixth.

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