by: Matt Present
After a crazy final weekend of regular season play, the (6) Terps (28-25, 13-11) have clinched the six seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and will tangle with Indiana in the opening game, bright and early at 10 a.m ET on Wednesday. A season ago these two teams met in the tournament, in Minneapolis, with Maryland earning a 4-2 victory to advance to the Big Ten Finals. It was a redemption of sorts, as in the 2015 regular season, the Hoosiers swept the Terps, in College Park, and went on to win nine of their final ten games of the season.
This year however the Hoosiers enter the tournament as losers of four straight, coming off a midweek loss to #5 Louisville, and then getting swept by (2) Nebraska last weekend. The Hoosiers are strong up the middle. Shortstop Brian Willhite leads the team with eight home runs and 37 RBI, while center fielder Craig Dedelow comes in with a .315 batting average, five home runs, and 36 knocked in. Indiana is coached by Chis Lemonis, who is in his second season at the helm. Lemonis came over from Louisville where he was an assistant coach from 2007-2014, and coached Terrapin pitching coach Jimmy Belanger in the first two years of his tenure.
Starting Pitching Matchup
10 a.m ET
JR RHP Mike Shawaryn vs SR(R) LHP Kyle Hart
This matchup will be a battle of aces, as junior Mike Shawaryn will get the ball for Maryland, and will be opposed by redshirt senior Kyle Hart of Indiana. As Shawaryn has cemented himself in the Terps record books, Hart has done the same for the Hoosiers. His 31 career victories rank second all time at Indiana, and he is also second in innings pitched and fifth in strikeouts with 233. He comes in with a 10-3 record on the season and a 3.09 ERA in 14 starts. He has 75 strikeouts to just 15 free passes and is the only pitcher in the conference to have reached double-digit victories.
As for Shawaryn, the right hander is coming off his second complete game of the season in a victory over Michigan State, Thursday. Shawaryn comes in with a 5-4 record and a 3.30 ERA this season. His 81 strikeouts rank sixth in the conference, and opponents are hitting just .201 against him.