Returning to Indiana for another season, Jake Kelzer is expected to be key to IU’s NCAA Tournament hopes.
The four relievers named first-team All-Big Ten since 2012 have anchored bullpens for clubs finishing either first or second in the conference standings. Over the last two seasons, 2014 NCAA Tournament national seed Indiana and 2015 NCAA Tournament national seed Illinois both placed a relief pitcher on the all-conference first team. Be it Trace Dempsey or Tyler Jay, it would appear having an elite stopper goes a long way to winnings games, and ultimately hardware.
To Indiana head coach Chris Lemonis there is no coincidence.
“I don’t think you can win without a great bullpen,” the second-year head coach said. “You’ve seen teams play in Omaha the last couple of years without great starting pitching but they all had great bullpens.”
As Indiana seeks a return to the College World Series, they’ll head into the 2016 with the pieces to have a great bullpen, buoyed by the return of right-hander Jake Kelzer.