There may still be snow on the ground, but college baseball is about to be back in full swing. In the Hoosier state, Indiana University will be starting the season with a new head coach. Chris Lemonis, the former Louisville assistant coach was hired last summer and will get his first chance to prove himself when Indiana opens the 2015 season on Friday, the 13th.
The Hoosiers over the past two seasons have gone 93-31 including their first ever College World Series appearance in 2013. The team was also the number four overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Baseball Championship. Lemonis is the twenty-fourth head coach of the IU baseball program.
While at Louisville, Lemonis worked under head coach Dan McDonnell and helped lead the Cardinals to three College World Series appearances (2008, 2013, and 2014). He also helped Louisville produce fifty-four all-conference selections, fifteen All-Americans and win four BIG EAST championships four of its final five years in the conference. His record of accomplishment is high, as he has mentored thirty-three players that signed professional contracts during the last eight years.
His baseball experience dates farther back then Louisville though. Lemonis spent twelve seasons as an assistant coach at The Citadel. While working for his alma mater, he oversaw thirty-five new offensive records. Lemonis has been a part of nearly eight-hundred wins, but this will be his first time as a head coach.
It appears his team is already off to a good start, the Hoosiers were voted number four in the Big Ten Preseason poll. In addition, three IU players were selected to the Players to Watch list. One of those players was red shirt senior Scott Donley, an outfielder who was selected last season as a First Team All-Big Ten selection for the second consecutive year.
A second player on the list was junior Scott Effross. As a pitcher, his earned run average last season was 1.98, the tenth best mark in Indiana history (minimum 50 innings). Third on the list was pitcher Ryan Halstead who redshirted after season-ending surgery during the Hoosiers home opener last season. As a junior, Halstead broke the all-time school record with eleven saves and has been drafted by Major League Baseball twice before. Once by the Houston Astros in the thirty-sixth round following his senior campaign in high school and a second time during his junior year to the Minnesota Twins in the twenty-sixth round.
The Hoosiers are pretty well even when it comes to rookie players and veterans as the team has eight seniors to lead the team. The rest of the squad is made up of nine juniors, five sophomores and thirteen freshmen. Returning this season are six players that earned All-Big Ten honors in 2014.
Not only is Indiana starting the season with a new coach but against Stanford, the team that not only knocked the ball out of the park but also knocked the Hoosiers right out of a Regional win. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 pm ET/ 3 pm PT on Friday. The game will be available on the PAC-12 Network along with Saturday’s game with the first pitch scheduled for 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT.
IU plays its first home game on March 10.