Series Preview: Penn State Nittany Lions

MD-PSU

After a promising midweek 10-5 victory over the VCU Rams on Tuesday to cap off a .500 homestand, the Terrapins resume conference play as they travel to University Park, Pennsylvania to take on the last place Penn State Nittany Lions in a weekend series.

The Terps (20-21) currently hold the eighth spot in the Big Ten standings, so taking advantage of the Nittany Lions, who are 1-13 in conference play, will be a huge indicator of Maryland’s chances at making the conference tournament with the regular season slowly reaching its end.

The Terps and the Nittany Lions previously met at two other occasions since Maryland joined the Big Ten in 2015. In those two series, the Terps went 5-1 against Penn State, including a three-game series sweep in 2017. Between those six games, Maryland has outscored Penn State 40-12.

While Maryland couldn’t make it a winning homestand, going 2-2 versus Ohio State and VCU between last weekend and Tuesday, the performances that a handful of Terrapins put together were quite promising, and a lot of that came from the top of the lineup.

Between seniors AJ Lee and Taylor Wright and sophomore Randy Bednar, the top third of the Terps lineup slashed a monstrous .538/.593/.769 while driving in 17 runs over the four-game stretch. Even if the top of the order can come close to that level of production against Penn State, keeping up in the playoff race should be a breeze.

Unfortunately, the Terrapin bats weren’t the only ones providing the fireworks during the homestand. In the weekend series versus the Buckeyes, the Terps’ starters recorded no quality starts, allowing 15 runs over 19 innings. The bullpen also struggled in the same fashion, allowing five runs over 10 innings. One pitcher did stick out as someone to watch. That pitcher is righty sophomore Mark DiLuia, who tallied three strikeouts as he cruised through 3.1 innings of work over the weekend.

Penn State Nittany Lions (17-18, 1-13 Big Ten)

Last Season

To say that the Nittany Lions’ 2018 season was full of shortcomings would be an understatement. Penn State, which has failed to reach the Big Ten tournament for the last six years, finished the 2018 season with a 15-34 overall record while finishing conference play 3-21. The offense mustered up a collective .674 on-base plus slugging percentage while just one pitcher on the roster succeeded at keeping his earned-run average under 4.60.

This Season

Penn State at this point in the season appears to be nearly replicating its 2018 performance, coming in at a 17-18 overall record, but more importantly, a 1-13 record in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are also in the middle of their worst stretch of the season, losing their last seven games after being on the brush-end of two-straight sweeps by Nebraska and Illinois. Certainly, a lot of that has to do with the team slashing .230/.338/.327.

Hitters to Watch

The Nittany Lions offense, despite its struggles, still boasts a couple of strong bats in their lineup. The two that have played major roles in their run production this season include senior Jordan Bowersox and junior Gavin Homer. Bowersox leads Penn State in both average (.346) and OPS (.880) by a wide margin as he’s in the midst of a 16-game hit streak. While Homer’s average sits at .259, he is Penn State’s only other bat with an OPS over .800 (.819) and is tied for the team lead in home runs (4).

Pitchers to Watch

The Penn State bats may have not come around yet, but their pitching surely has. Through 56.2 innings, their ace, redshirt sophomore Dante Biasi, has pitched to the tune of a remarkable 1.75 ERA while striking out 12.6 batters per nine innings. Sophomore Mason Mellott has proven to be a deadly arm out of the Penn State bullpen, logging a 2.02 ERA in 15 appearances, all 15 of those being at least two innings long.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET

Sr. RHP Hunter Parsons ( 7-2, 3.60 ERA) v. R-So. LHP Dante Biasi (3-3, 1.75 ERA)

           RMZBYNJDDYBZPMM.20150924191225 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs500px-Penn_State_Nittany_Lions_svg.Dante Biasi

Hunter Parsons came out as the winner in the midst of last Friday’s offensive explosion versus Ohio State despite allowing seven runs on 11 hits. Now at a season-worst 3.60 ERA, Parsons looks to bounce back versus a rather weak Penn State lineup.

Dante Biasi is in the midst of an amazing comeback season. Just last year, his ERA mounted to an abysmal 5.20 at season’s end, and now he’s Penn State’s clear ace with an incredible 1.75 ERA. After striking out nine Illini as he cruised through 5.1 shutout innings in Illinois, he’ll be a scary matchup for the Terrapins.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Zach Thompson (1-4, 5.28 ERA) v. R-Jr. Eric Mock (2-2, 3.55 ERA)

           Thompson082818_021Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.500px-Penn_State_Nittany_Lions_svgMock, Eric

Although it wasn’t a quality start, Zach Thompson was able to keep the Terps in the lead for the length of his start against the Buckeyes (7.0 innings). After a streak of mediocre starts (20 earned runs in 21.1 innings in last four starts), a date with Penn State should help Thompson’s season numbers.

Eric Mock was just a bullpen arm for the Nittany Lions last year, and not particularly a great one with a 5.97 ERA in 15 appearances. Like Biasi, he’s pitched much better this year, but he’s just coming off his worst start of the season, giving up six runs on eight hits and walking five batters versus Illinois.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Fr. RHP Trevor LaBonte (1-4, 5.87 ERA) v. So. RHP Bailey Dees (2-1, 4.00 ERA)

Labonte082818_021Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.500px-Penn_State_Nittany_Lions_svgDees, Bailey

Trevor LaBonte nearly mirrored Zach Thompson’s Saturday start, giving up four runs to Ohio State through six innings. LaBonte may have still been shaking off the jitters after getting blasted for eight runs against Northwestern two weeks ago, but he’ll look to level his numbers when he takes to the mound in University Park.

Just like his fellow teammate Mock, Bailey Dees was also a relief pitcher in 2018, appearing in 12 games with an ERA of 5.14. Dees has since improved, pitching his way to a 4.00 ERA in 2018 while walking the least amount of batters (15) out of Penn State’s weekend starters. Dees pitched well in his last start versus Illinois, striking out seven and limiting Illinois to a run over six innings of work.

Maryland Beats VCU In Convincing Fashion 10-5

On a day highlighted by their offense, Maryland was able to grab a convincing win at home over the VCU Rams. Ten runs on 17 hits helped the Terps put their home struggles to rest at least for now.

The Rams struck quickly with a leadoff home run on Tyler Blohm’s second pitch of the day. Brett Norwood got a fastball and didn’t miss; driving the ball to deep right-center field and over the wall next to the batters eye.

The Terps were able to strike back, however, on a single by freshman first baseman Maxwell Costes scoring Randy Bednar. This gave Blohm a clean slate in the second inning as he set then set down the Rams seven, eight, and nine hitters en route to a 1-2-3 inning. Blohm also struck out the last two batters of that inning looking. Daniel O’Connor came in to relieve Blohm to start the third inning.

Maryland began the second inning with back to back singles from Justin Vought and Michal Piniero before second baseman Ben Cowles reached on an attempted sacrifice bunt to load the bases. Junior Ben Irvine followed with a groundout to first base driving in the Terps second run and giving them the lead.

The great bottom of the second continued when Randy Bednar knocked in both Cowles and Michael Pineiro on a two-RBI single. Taylor Wright followed Bednar and promptly drove him in on an RBI double giving the Terps a convincing 5-1 lead after two innings

O’Connor allowed three earned runs and was able to retire just one batter before he was relieved by sophomore Sean Fisher in the third inning. The Rams refused to give up, getting runners on base and continuing to fight back in the game.

In the bottom of the fourth AJ Lee extended the Maryland lead to 6-4 with a two-out solo shot to left field. This gave him his third homer of the year and put him in a tie with teammate Josh Maguire for fifth on the team.

The Terps continued to put baserunners on in the inning, loading the bases for Josh Maguire and the freshman came through. A single up the middle scored both Randy Bednar and Taylor Wright and extended the Terps lead to 8-4. Ben Cowles followed up the next inning with a solo shot of his own; a towering shot to left center field extending the lead to 9-4.

This gave Sean Fisher a cushion to work with heading into his second full inning of work. Fisher shut down the Rams through the fifth before handing the ball off to freshman Drew Wilden.

Wilden would shut down the Rams in the sixth and got two quick outs in the seventh before allowing a double and a single to Paul Witt and Liam Hibbits respectively cutting the Terps lead to four. Andrew Vail, a freshman, came in to relieve Wilden, inheriting two baserunners but escaping the inning.

The Terps added one more run of their own in the bottom of the seventh inning after Ben Cowles hit the top of the batters eye, narrowly missing a home run. He was then driven in on what was ruled a single for AJ Lee. Lee hit the ball on the ground to the VCU second baseman who was playing in to cut the runner down at home; he was not able to get either out after bobbling the ball.

The Terps will look to add to this win over a good VCU team in their upcoming three-game set this weekend at Penn State. Maryland will also look to continue their success on the road, currently, at 11-8 on the road, the Terps will have a good chance to add to this against a less than spectacular Penn State squad. The Nittany Lions currently sit at 17-18 overall.

 

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Game Preview: VCU Rams

Maryland at VCU

Maryland finishes its four-game homestand with a matchup against the VCU Rams on Tuesday afternoon. The Terps are coming off a rough weekend series against Ohio State, in which they lost two of three.

The Terps and Rams have already faced off twice this season and met twice last season, as well. Last season, the two teams split their two matchups while this season Maryland has won both matchups, 5-3 and 4-3, respectively.

Last season, Maryland took the first meeting, winning 2-0 in a low-scoring pitchers’ duel. However, VCU bounced back in mid-April routing the Terps by a score of 14-3.

VCU comes into this game 5-5 in their last 10 games, struggling to put together winning streaks after a great start to the season. Like Maryland, VCU lost two out of their three games over the weekend to Richmond. However, two of those losses were by one run and its game on Sunday was lost in an 11-inning marathon.

The Terps continue to struggle at home after the weekend’s two losses, dropping their record at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium to a less than spectacular 7-12. Maryland is currently 11-8 on the road this season and this has kept their overall record close to .500 at 19-21.

The bats produced a combined 24 runs in the weekend series against Ohio State and this type of sustained offensive pressure will be key if Maryland wants to continue to win games moving forward. The Terps also allowed 23 runs, however, and the pitching staff will look to complement an offense that has been good as of late.

After the weekend, the Terps continue to get closer to having a hitter over the .300 mark as shortstop AJ Lee is now the team leader in batting average at .294. Hunter Parsons leads the team on the mound, leading the team with 70 innings pitched and is fourth on the team with a 3.60 ERA.

VCU Rams (28-12, 11-4 A10)

Last Season

Last season, VCU mustered a 34-23 record, enough for a sixth place finish and a berth in the Atlantic 10 conference tournament. VCU was good all season but were outstanding in March going on a 14-game winning streak between March 7 and March 30. The Rams were then knocked out of the Atlantic 10 tournament by No. 3 seed Fordham 3-2 to end their season.

This Season

The Rams have been solid for most of this season with an overall 28-12 record. They had an eight-game winning streak between March 2 and March 13. The Rams currently lead the Atlantic 10 conference by one game over the Dayton Flyers.

Hitters to Watch

The Rams are currently led by sophomore Liam Hibbits, who leads the team with an outstanding .399 batting average. Hibbits also has three home runs, which are third on the team and has 38 RBIs as well. Senior Zac Ching leads the team in home runs with six while junior Paul Witt leads the team with 40 RBIs.

Pitchers to Watch

The pitching attack for the Rams is led by junior Connor Gillispie who currently leads the team with 56.1 innings pitched in 14 starts. He has walked just 14 and has struck out 77 batters over those appearances with a 1.92 ERA. The Rams have mainly relied on Connor Dum out of the bullpen. In 14 appearances Dum has walked 10 and struck out 51 batters; he currently holds a solid 2.90 ERA.

Maryland drops rubber match vs. Ohio State, 5-1

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Maryland right-hander Trevor LaBonte had only given up three homers in 40 innings entering Sunday’s start against Ohio State. Buckeyes center fielder Ridge Winand quickly changed that, hitting two in the first three innings to lead the Buckeyes to victory in a rubber match in College Park.

In his first two at-bats, Winand hit a solo shot and a three-run homer to give Ohio State a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning. The senior, who went 0-for-7 in Saturday’s doubleheader, previously had only one long ball this season.

LaBonte, a freshman no stranger to series-clinching opportunities — pitching in his sixth in nine starts this season — made two costly mistakes in an overall successful outing.

Although LaBonte only allowed four runs over six innings and Ohio State only scored once more, Maryland’s offense only produced one run in a 5-1 loss to drop a fourth straight weekend series at home.

“We knew how good Ohio State is and it just tells you how much you have to finish games when you have a chance,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “We had the chance yesterday to win the series and again, they battled back and showed a lot of toughness on their end.”

Maryland was six outs away from clinching a third consecutive conference series win on Saturday — a feat the program hadn’t accomplished since 2003. It led 8-4, hours after exploding for a season-high 20 hits to take the series opener in the first half of a doubleheader.

But the Buckeyes hit timely home runs to erase a late deficit to win the game in extras. Designated hitter Brent Todys hit a two-run homer at sparked a four-run comeback in the eighth. In the 11th inning, the sophomore went deep again to provide the game-winning hit.

Despite squandering a chance to take win the series before the weekend finale, Maryland was confident it’d erase the result from its mind with LaBonte on the mound. The Terps had won the previous two Sundays with him pitching, taking a pair of road series against Northwestern and Illinois.

But Maryland’s weekend struggles at home persisted, falling to 7-12 at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium this season. Unable to come from behind and erase Winand’s homers, the Terps dropped their fourth straight three-game series at home — the last successful weekend at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium coming in late February against Maine.

“Those two pitches are obviously the two I wish I could have back,” LaBonte said. “I was a little too middle with both of them. [Winand] put two good swings on them, so I paid for it.”

By the end of his start, though, LaBonte had settled into a groove and held the Buckeyes scoreless over his final three innings. Winand’s two homers accounted for the only run production off the Terps starter in six innings.

“I tried to put those two pitches behind me and just keep attacking guys and keep running off the plan that we had,” LaBonte said.

Right-hander Mark DuLuia allowed the only other Buckeyes run of the game in the top of the eighth, when right fielder Dominic Canzone doubled with two runners on. The sophomore pitched the final three innings and only allowed the one run, which was unearned.

That provided a chance to win for Maryland’s offense, which produced 23 runs in two games on Saturday. But it couldn’t replicate similar success against Buckeyes starter Griffan Smith, who tossed a complete game and struck out a career-high 10 hitters.

“I think that’s just baseball sometimes,” catcher Justin Vought said. “You’re going to be swinging the bat well like we did yesterday and bounced back today and [Smith] was throwing three pitches for strikes in the zone and we didn’t get that one big hit.”

Second baseman Benjamin Cowles hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the third and scored two batters later when shortstop AJ Lee bunted him home. But within reach for the entirety of the contest, the Terps left two runners on in the third and fourth innings.

Maryland went 0-for-8 with runners on base. Finishing with only four hits, the Terps only had two baserunners after the third inning — a double from Vought in the fourth a a walk from Vought in the sixth.

“As much as I would like to say we should’ve done more,” Vaughn said, “I have to tip my cap to how much [Smith] competed on the mound.”

Maryland loses to Ohio State, 10-9, in 11 innings

Maryland baseball held leads over Ohio State in the eighth and ninth innings, but both times, the Terps watched those advantages disappear before Buckeyes designated hitter Brent Todys hit a game-winning home run in the 11th inning for a 10-9 win.

The Terps led 8-4 entering the top of the eighth, but relievers Elliot Zollener and Andrew Vail combined to concede the game-tying runs on a two-run homer, a sacrifice fly and a double.

Third baseman Taylor Wright used an infield single to bring in the go-ahead run for Maryland in the bottom of the eighth, but an unearned run in the top of the ninth that scored on a two-out RBI single extended the game to extra innings.

After Maryland left the bases loaded in the 10th inning, Ohio State’s extra-inning homer stole the middle game of the weekend’s three-game set, forcing a series-deciding matchup on Sunday.

It had been nearly two months since Maryland last won a game when right-hander Zach Thompson started. The Terps entered the second-half of Saturday’s doubleheader against Ohio State an abysmal 1-9 in games that junior had started — the only victory coming on Feb. 22 against Maine.

While Thompson’s 5.29 ERA isn’t an every-weekend winning formula, his offense was only providing 3.8 runs per game in his starts — the fewest among Maryland’s three weekend starters.

Maryland’s bats gave Thompson five runs in the bottom of the second, enough to backup the starter’s seven-inning, four-run performance. Instead, the Buckeyes late-inning success squandered a win for the junior.

Two of the first three Ohio State hitters homered to start the game, including one on the second pitch of the game hit by right fielder Dominic Canzone.

Maryland immediately looked as if it would retaliate in the bottom half of the frame, using three consecutive walks to load the bases with no outs. But after a Buckeyes mound visit, starter Seth Lonsway struck out the heart of Maryland’s order to escape the jam.

In the following frame, Maryland nearly blew another prime opportunity to even the score. After back-to-back singles put two runners on with one out, right fielder Michael Pineiro was picked off first base for the second out of the inning.

But rather than wasting another chance with a runner in scoring position, the Terps scored five runs with two outs in the second inning. Shortstop AJ Lee Wright hit two straight doubles, plating three runs to take a 3-2 lead.

One batter later, first baseman Maxwell Costes smashed a two-run homer over the scoreboard in left-center field to cement the five-run frame. It marked Costes’ second homer of the doubleheader, which put him in the team-lead with eight home runs this season.

Lee continued his hot afternoon when Maryland loaded the bases again in the third inning, this time using a bloop single to extend the Terps lead to 6-2. A Lonsway wild pitch handed over another run to the home team.

Left-hander Andrew Magno pitched the final four innings for the Buckeyes, striking out 11 hitters to claim the win. He ran into trouble in the bottom of the 10th when Maryland loaded the bases with only one out.

Magno dug deep, striking out Maxwell Costes and Josh Maguire to add another frame to Saturday’s doubleheader. Right-handed closer John Murphy, who pitched a season-long three innings, conceded the game-winning homer to Todys on an 0-2 count with two outs in the top of the 11th.

The Terps went down in order in the bottom of the 11th, as the series became even heading into Sunday.

 

 

Season-high 20 hits powers Maryland to 14-8 win over Ohio State

maryland-ohiostate

Before Ohio State reliever Will Pfennig recorded an out in the bottom of the seventh, Maryland had scored five runs on five hits to turn a slim two-run lead into a comfortable advantage.

Shortstop AJ Lee, center fielder Randy Bednar and third baseman Taylor Wright — the Terps’ first three batters — all picked up their fourth hits of the game in the frame. First baseman Maxwell Costes smashed a three-run homer that marked Maryland’s 20th hit of the afternoon.

Even though Maryland starter Hunter Parsons conceded seven runs for the second consecutive weekend, another offense surge in a series opener powered the Terps past a sluggish pitching performance.

Left-handed reliever Sean Fisher held the the Buckeyes to one run over the final three frames, securing the save in a 14-8 Terps victory in the front-end of Saturday’s doubleheader. Maryland is now one win away this weekend from winning its third consecutive conference series.

When Parsons takes the mound every weekend, Maryland knows it’ll likely only need four runs to win the game. More often than not, that holds true. In seven of Parsons’ 10 starts this season, the senior has held opponents to three runs or fewer.

On Saturday, for the second consecutive weekend, that wasn’t the case.

One week after conceding seven earned runs over seven innings against Northwestern, Parsons allowed another seven runs against the Buckeyes in second straight uncharacteristic performance. But the Maryland offense picked up their ace, one who has essentially single-handedly won the team games over the last two seasons.

Lee, Bednar and Wright went 12-for 15 with a combined eight runs scored and six RBI. All but one Maryland hitter picked up at least one hit, and six of the nine recorded multi-hit games.

The Terps scored twice off wild pitches in the first inning against Ohio State starter Garrett Burhenn, a freshman who entered 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA. But the right-hander conceded a season-high eight earned runs and allowed a run in five of the six inning he pitched in.

After Ohio State tallied a run on a solo homer in the top of the second, Bednar drove in a run with a two-out double to make it 3-1 Maryland only two innings in. But the Buckeyes offense had the answer for Parsons and scored five runs off him in the top of the third to take a 6-3 advantage.

A two-out rally set up a two-run Bednar triple in the bottom of the fourth. Wright then bunt singled home Bednar to tie the game at six. Catcher Justin Vought and right fielder Michael Pineiro each picked up an RBI to reclaim an 8-6 lead through five.

Both teams exchanged a run in the sixth, the final frame for both starting pitchers. As relievers entered, the tides turned in Maryland’s favor for good. The Terps scored five runs off Pfennig in the five-run seventh, while the Buckeyes only scored once off Fisher and twice in the final six innings.

Series Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

maryland-ohiostate

It’s been 16 years since Maryland baseball last won three consecutive conference series.

This weekend against Ohio State, the Terps can accomplish the feat for the second time this century. The last occurrence was in 2003 when Maryland won three straight series against former ACC foes Clemson, Duke and NC State.

That season ended at 20-33 after the Terps lost in a play-in game of the conference tournament as the No. 8 seed. But a series win against the Buckeyes this weekend would potentially help Maryland rise higher than the current fifth-place position in the conference standings with one month left in the regular season.

But the Buckeyes are hot, winning five of their last six games, including a convincing series win against Michigan last week. While Ohio State took down a perennial conference contender in the Wolverines, it was swept by a Northwestern team that Maryland just beat twice on the road.

Ohio State has played nine of its last 10 games at home in Bill Davis Stadium, but will visit a ballpark that Maryland has struggled in this season with a 6-10 record, and most recently, suffered a 14-1 beatdown at the hands of James Madison on Tuesday.

The Terps fell behind 7-0 through six inning on the road Wednesday against George Mason and eventually lost 9-5. Taylor Wright, AJ Lee and Michael Pineiro all recorded multi-hit games, but it was too little too late as Maryland has now dropped three straight midweek games.

Ohio State Buckeyes (21-17, 4-5 Big Ten)

Last season

The Buckeyes were eliminated in the Big Ten semifinals in 2018 before losing both of their NCAA tournament games against South Carolina and UNC-Wilmington. Ohio State was one of the four Big Ten representatives in the national tournament and headed to the tournament for the second time in the last three years.

This season

Ohio State is hovering just above the .500 mark after wining five of its last six games. A four and five-game losing streak stunted the Buckeyes momentum, but after a big series win against Michigan, they’re playing well headed into this weekend, despite sitting in 10th place of 13 teams in the Big Ten standings.

Hitters to watch

Only two Buckeyes have started in all 38 games this season, and they’re both the team’s best hitters. Junior outfielder Dominic Canzone ranks second in the Big Ten with a .368 batting average and leads the conference in hits and runs. Senior utility man Brady Cherry trails on Canzone in hits in the conference and is tied for fourth with 33 runs batted in.

Pitchers to watch

Junior left-hander Andrew Magno and freshman righty Bayden Root have combined for 31 appearances out of the bullpen this season. Magno leads the team with five saves, holding opponents to a .235 batting average while maintaining a 3.57 ERA. Root has struck out 37 hitters in only 25.1 innings while holding competition to a slim .217 batting average.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET

Sr. RHP Hunter Parsons ( 6-2, 2.95 ERA) v. Fr. RHP Garrett Burhenn (5-1, 3.16 ERA)

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Parsons finally had another subpar start after three incredible outings, yet Maryland still walked away with a win last weekend against Northwestern. The righty conceded seven runs over seven innings while striking out seven. The seven runs and hits he conceded were both the most he’s allowed all season.

The freshman has been dominant this season for the Buckeyes, but he’ll face a veteran counterpart in Hunter Parsons. Burhenn doesn’t hand out too many free passes; he’s walked just 19 hitters in 57 innings and has only hit two batters. He’s also only conceded two home runs thus far.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Zach Thompson (1-4, 5.29 ERA) v. R-Fr. LHP Seth Lonsway (5-3, 3.88 ERA)

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After conceding five runs last weekend against Northwestern, Thompson has now conceded more than three runs in each of his last three starts. Even when Thompson has fared well, Maryland hasn’t. The Terps have only won one of the nine games Thompson has started in, the last coming on Feb. 22 against Maine.

Also in his first season pitching for the Buckeyes, Lonsway has held opposing hitters to a slim .215 batting average in nine starts this season. He’s struck out 61 hitters in only 51 innings, but he’s also handed out 30 walks. He was the Big Ten pitcher of the week earlier this month.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Fr. RHP Trevor LaBonte (1-3, 5.85 ERA) v. So. LHP Griffan Smith (3-2, 4.25 ERA)

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LaBonte got off to a very hot start to his college career, but has now given up 18 earned runs over his last three starts. He conceded eight runs on seven hits in five innings against Northwestern last weekend, but Maryland’s offense provided enough run support to hand LaBonte a no-decision.

Technically the “veteran” of the Buckeyes weekend rotation, Smith is the only one of the three with an ERA north of 4.00. He won’t pitch as deep into ballgames as Lonsway or Burhenn, and has allowed just over one hit per inning this season.  Last year, Smith made 23 of his appearances as a reliever.