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It's a clash of styles this weekend between the hot-hitting Hoosiers and the Big Ten's top pitching team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. 

Indiana is one of six teams battling for the final four spots in the Big Ten tournament beginning on May 25 in Omaha, Neb. The Hoosiers begin this road trip with a 25-27 overall record and a 10-11 mark in the Big Ten. In this make-or-break series, Indiana will meet an Iowa team with a 30-17 overall record and a 14-7 mark in conference play.

The series will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday at Duane Banks Field, followed by a 7 p.m. ET first pitch on Friday with a series finale at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday. The first two games of the series will be broadcast on BTN+, and Saturday's game can be seen on ESPNU. It's Indiana's final regular season series of the season, as they look to win five consecutive series to close out the year. 

Indiana has fared well against Iowa in recent years. The Hoosiers are 3-0-1 in the last four series versus Iowa, and have won 26 of the last 45 games, including eight-game win streaks from 2009 to 2011 and again from 2012 to 2014. 

Here are the weekend's pitching matchups and hitters to watch.

Thursday, May 19: IU RHP Braydon Tucker versus Iowa RHP Adam Mazur

Senior Braydon Tucker will make his fourth start of the season on Thursday at Iowa. Tucker has appeared in 15 games out of the bullpen and has pitched to a 6.25 ERA across 40.1 innings. He has struck out 46 batters compared to 27 walks, and opposing hitters are batting against him.

Perhaps Tucker's most effective role for Indiana this season has been as a closer. Tucker is tied for the team lead with four saves, all of which came in the month of April. Tucker tossed a scoreless inning in Indiana's loss to Minnesota, and his two previous outings he pitched a combined five innings, allowing 10 runs. He played a key role in Indiana's midweek win over Butler on April 26, throwing four shutout innings with seven strikeouts. 

Taking the mound opposite Tucker is Iowa's ace Adam Mazur. The frontrunner to win Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Mazur boasts a 2.18 ERA in 86.2 innings. He has struck out 89 batters compared to 25 walks, and he's tied for third in the Big Ten with seven wins. 

Mazur tossed a complete game shutout against Nebraska on April 29, allowing two hits, two walks and six strikeouts. He almost threw another complete game the following start, but Mazur was pulled with two outs in the ninth inning against Purdue after allowing two runs. The Hoosiers have a tall task ahead of them on Thursday against Mazur, who has pitched at least eight innings in five of his last six starts since April 15. 

Friday, May 20: IU RHP Jack Perkins versus Iowa RHP Dylan Nedved

Jack Perkins will again take the mound for the Hoosiers on a Friday, but this time it's in the second game of the series. Perkins has been a mainstay in the Indiana rotation throughout the season, leading the team with 72 innings pitched. He enters the game with a 4.75 ERA and 3-2 record in 13 starts.

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Perkins was roughed up a bit in his most recent start against Minnesota last weekend. Across five innings, Perkins allowed five hits, six runs, four walks, two batters hit-by-pitch and four strikeouts. While Perkins ERA has risen a bit over the last few starts, he's still by far Indiana's most reliable starter. Opposing batters hit for a .217 average against Perkins, who has a team-high 77 strikeouts this year. 

The talent on the mound for Iowa continues with Dylan Nedved, who is 10th in the Big Ten with a 3.90 ERA. Nedved enters the game with a 5-2 record across 57.2 innings to go along with 62 strikeouts and 24 walks. He's mainly been used out of the bullpen for Iowa this season, but will make his fifth start of the year and first since April 9 on Friday.

Nedved's versatility has allowed Iowa to use him as a long reliever, pitching at least 3.1 innings out of the bullpen in his last four appearances. On May 15, Nedved struck out six batters in 4.1 innings of work, allowing two hits and one run. 

Saturday, May 21: TBA versus RHP Ty Langenberg

As expected, Indiana didn't name a starter for Sunday. Indiana head coach Jeff Mercer will likely let the first two games play out and decide his Sunday starter based on bullpen usage. Luke Hayden has started in Sunday games in the past, and Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Ty Bothwell gave Indiana seven no-hit innings against Minnesota on Sunday. And no matter who starts on Sunday, it will likely be a full bullpen effort for Indiana in the series finale.

Rounding out an elite pitching staff for Iowa is Ty Langenberg, who enters the series with a 3.96 ERA that ranks 12th in the Big Ten. He has started 10 games for Iowa after making bullpen appearances in his first two outings of the season, and he enters the game with a 5-2 record in 52.1 innings. 

Langenberg is a big-time strikeout threat and doesn't allow easy bases, seen through 65 strikeouts and 16 walks. He had his worst start of the season last weekend against Michigan State and was pulled after allowing five earned runs in one inning. But before that, Langenberg shut down Purdue in a 9-1 win, giving up just one run in seven innings with five hits, one walk and seven strikeouts. 

Hitters to Watch

Iowa is led by Peyton Williams in nearly every offensive category. At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, the big lefty slugger is batting .367 on the season with 12 home runs. He boasts a team-high 1.178 OPS, which ranks third in the Big Ten and a .689 slugging percentage that ranks fourth. Williams has homered twice in the last two games, driving in four runs.

Alongside Williams is redshirt freshman Keaton Anthony, who enters the series with a .360 batting average and 1.110 OPS. Anthony trails Williams by one in the home run category, but he has a team-high 48 RBI. Anthony has won Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors a conference-high five times this season.

Aside from Williams and Anthony, Iowa doesn't have a player with more than four home runs, and Izaya Fullard is the only other Hawkeye batting above .270. Fullard has only played 26 games this season, but he has posted a .316 batting average with 13 RBI. 

Indiana is currently tied for sixth in the Big Ten with Michigan at 10-11, and needs to finish in the top eight to qualify for the Big Ten tournament. Purdue is behind Indiana at 9-10 and hosts first-place Maryland this weekend. Also in contention are Northwestern and Nebraska at 8-13, as well as Ohio State at 8-14. 

Stories related to Indiana baseball:

  • FOLLOWING WHALEN'S LEAD: Leadoff hitter and center fielder Bobby Whalen has started every game for Indiana this season, leading the Hoosiers with toughness and a "win at any cost" mentality. They'll continue to follow his lead into the final regular season series at Iowa beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday.
  • ELLIS' GRAND SLAM DEFEATS ILLINOIS STATE: The Hoosiers rallied for a seven-run eighth inning, defeating Illinois State on Tuesday in their final game at Bart Kaufman Field this season. Matthew Ellis' monstrous grand slam put Indiana on top, and Ryan Kraft struck out the side in the ninth. CLICK HERE
  • 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