Indiana made history by hosting a regional for the first time. The Hoosiers made history again on Monday.
The Hoosiers are the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA baseball Tournament and will host Youngstown State (16-36) at 7 p.m. Friday night. The full tournament field was announced Monday.
"I'm very happy just from a program standpoint," manager Tracy Smith said. "I think it's a nice statement that we can get Indiana to a national seed in college baseball."
Indiana struggled in its first regional last year, needing a late home run to get past Valparaiso out of the Horizon League.
Youngstown State is 20 games under .500, but rallied to win the Horizon League tournament with four straight wins.
"There will be no looking past them,"Smith said. "It's very important to win that first game, and anything can happen. I thought we were very lucky to win that first game last year."
The Hoosiers eventually won that regional last year and advanced to the College World Series in Omaha. They struggled more in the regional than they did at any other point in the tournament, likely due to the pressure of hosting for the first time.
"We probably weren't ready for all the emotions, all the expectations for us," catcher Kyle Schwarber said. "We were hosting a regional for the first time, and we might have been pressing a little bit. Now, we know what to expect and we know how to play on that stage."
Indiana will likely go with left-handed ace Joey DeNato in the opener against Youngstown State on Friday, and he said he's ready for the challenge.
"I'm gonna do whatever Skip tells me to do," DeNato said. "I'll pitch the first game, the second game, third game. I don't really care."
There are a lot of expectations on Indiana this year after its run to Omaha last year and the Hoosiers' impressive season this year. Indiana started 13-10 but finished 30-3 and won the Big Ten title outright.
Now, the Hoosiers are focused on a return to Omaha, one game at a time.
"I've already heard it. IU fans and people, ‘Hey, we'll see you in Omaha,'" Smith said. "I'm excited about the enthusiasm but people need to realize it's very, very difficult to get there.
"We've got one shot at it. Let's make the most of it."