BLOOMINGTON -- Once again Indiana freshman Will Coursen-Carr finds himself on the pitching wheel of fortune. Will he play against Florida State in this weekend's Super Regional? Will he start against the nation's No. 7 seed?
Coach Tracy Smith has the answers.
Or does he?
“We'll see how it goes,” Smith said. “We'll go one game at a time anyway.”
Joey DeNato (10-2) is set to pitch in Saturday's opener in the best-of-three series. Aaron Slegers (9-1) will start Sunday's second game.
If a third game is necessary, Coursen-Carr, a former South Side standout, rises to the top of potential starters along with veteran Kyle Hart.
The Super Regional winner advances to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
“If we need a Game 3, we'll make that decision at that time,” Smith said. “(Coursen-Carr's) performance coming out of the conference tourney championship, his performance coming out of what he did in the regional, puts him in good position to be highly considered for Game 3 if that becomes necessary.”
OK, that's not exactly a guaranteed start, but with a 4-0 record and a knack for getting big outs in big situations, Coursen-Carr has proven he can handle pressure-packed moments. But then, so has Hart, who is 8-2 with a 3.01 earned run average.
“I don't want to take anything away from Kyle Hart,” Smith said. “I don't know enough about (Florida State) yet, but if we need a better (matchup) we might go with Hart.
“If one of those guys happens to go long relief in one of the first two games that would answer the question.”
Both IU (46-14) and Florida State (47-15) went 3-0 while winning their regionals. The Seminoles under Hall of Fame coach Mike Martin are a traditional baseball power. They are making their sixth straight Super Regional appearance and 13th overall. They have played in 15 College World Series and won at least 44 games in every season since 1980.
You might think Smith has been pouring over Florida State tape.
You would be wrong.
“We have some tapes, but it's not a big part of what we do,” he said. “We're just trying to take care of what we can accomplish.”
Smith did see Florida State play in the ACC Tournament. He does have access to its regional games.
“They're an impressive club. They're always an impressive club. Coach Martin does an unbelievable job building his team on a sound offensive approach. They certainly have some guys who can pitch.”
The Seminoles have outscored their opponents 420-217 this season behind left fielder D.J. Stewart (.363 average, 25 doubles, five home runs, 56 RBIs), designated hitter Marcus Davis (.300, nine homers, 61 RBIs) and catcher Stephen McGee (.292, nine homers, 51 RBIs). All-Atlantic Coast Conference pitchers Scott Sitz and Luke Weaver are a combined 17-3. Both have earned run averages less than 2.00.
Smith is impressed, but not obsessed.
“I'm not saying this egotistically, but we won't focus much on them,” he said. “We'll stay focused on what we do.”
IU is a Super Regional rookie without, Smith insisted, a just-happy-to-be-here attitude.
“I don't want to make it sound like it's a storybook ending by playing here, because our plan is to play beyond this weekend. It's been the plan all season.
“Having said that, you couldn't have scripted it any better to this point. I've had so many emails from people who have never been to a game here saying they're hooked on Indiana baseball. The excitement is huge. Long term we're excited to build a fan base to carry beyond this year.”
Short term the goal is simple: