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After taking two of three games from Minnesota over the weekend, Indiana will play its final home game of the season against Illinois State on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET at Bart Kaufman Field. 

The Hoosiers enter this game with a 24-27 overall record and a 10-11 mark in Big Ten play. Indiana has won four consecutive series and is playing its best baseball of the season. For the first time in program history, Indiana welcomes Illinois State to Bloomington, who arrives with a 19-27 overall record and a 6-12 mark in the Missouri Valley Conference. 

Indiana and Illinois State met earlier this season in Normal, Ill. in a game that Indiana won 3-1. Evan Goforth put the Hoosiers on the board first with a double down the left field line to score Tyler Doanes. Indiana scraped across two more runs on a Peter Serruto ground out and an Illinois State throwing error that allowed Doanes to come around and score.

Luke Hayden started on the mound for Indiana and tossed four innings, allowing two hits, one unearned run, zero walks and five strikeouts. Jack Walker relieved Hayden and threw three scoreless innings, giving up four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Grant Holderfield and Reese Sharp handled the final two innings, holding the Redbirds scoreless to secure the victory. 

Illinois State's lone run in the previous matchup came on a Cermak single, but the run was unearned because of an error earlier in the inning. Colin Wyman started that game on the mound and allowed three hits, two runs, three walks and four strikeouts across four innings. 

The Redbirds defeated No. 2 Arkansas in their first game of the season, but enter this matchup losing five of their last six games and an 11-20 record on the road. Illinois State avoided the sweep in their most recent series against Missouri State when Ryan Cermak and Jake McCaw hit back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to take a 4-3 lead.

This will be the eighth matchup between Indiana and Illinois state as the Hoosiers cling to a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series. Indiana has seen four Missouri Valley schools this season and has a 6-3 record in those games. 

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The pitching matchup for this game has still not been announced, but as a staff, Illinois State has a4.87 ERA and a .255 opponents’ batting average. They don't allow easy bases either, walking just 184 batters in 406 innings to go along with 360 strikeouts.

Illinois State's last midweek game was a 3-2 win at Iowa. It was a bullpen day for the Redbirds, but Justin Schubert started on the mound and allowed two runs in 2.2 innings. 

The MVC slugging percentage leader is centerfielder Ryan Cermak at .702 thanks to his team-high 18 runs. Cermak has bounced between the first three spots in the lineup, but he's produced no matter where he hits. He also leads the team with 56 hits, 43 runs, 29 walks and a .439 on-base percentage. Jake McCaw leads all Redbirds with 40 RBI, and he's second behind Cermak with 55 hits, 37 runs scored and 12 home runs. 

We won't find out who will take the mound for the Hoosiers until close to game time, but it will likely be a group effort for Indiana on Tuesday. Ty Bothwell's seven-inning, no-hit performance in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader gave rest to Indiana's bullpen, but the Hoosiers used five pitchers in the series opener and six in the series.

And like most of the season, it's been a trio of freshmen leading Indiana at the plate. Carter Mathison extended his Indiana freshman home run record to 16 against Minnesota, and Brock Tibbitts joined Mathison and Josh Pyne in the 40-RBI club to form the top freshman trio in program history. 

First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday night, and it's the last chance to see Indiana play at Bart Kaufman Field this season. Indiana is currently tied for sixth in the Big Ten, and needs to remain in the top eight in order to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, Neb. on May 25. 

Stories related to Indiana baseball:

  • BOTHWELL'S 7-INNING, NO-HIT GEM: Ty Bothwell entered the game in the third inning against Minnesota on Saturday and went the distance, striking out eight and allowing zero hits. It was his longest outing of the season, one that was a product of trusting his fastball and his teammates. CLICK HERE
  • HOOSIERS AND GOPHERS SPLIT DOUBLEHEADER: Indiana won 12-0 and lost 9-8 in its doubleheader with Minnesota on Sunday. Ty Bothwell tossed seven no-hit innings, and Carter Mathison extended his Indiana freshman home run record to 16, keeping the Hoosiers on track to make the Big Ten tournament. CLICK HERE
  • PYNE DELIVERS IN THE CLUTCH: Indiana trailed Minnesota 6-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth, but a trio of two-rbi hits from Matthew Ellis, Bobby Whalen and Josh Pyne gave the Hoosiers an 8-6 win over Minnesota in game one. CLICK HERE