Game Preview: James Madison Dukes

UPDATE: Due to inclement weather in the forecast, this game has been postponed to May 10th, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. 

Over the weekend, Maryland lost three straight against LSU, suffering their first weekend sweep since May 1-3, 2015 against Indiana. Now back in College Park, the Terrapins (1-5) will look to rebound in their first home game of the season Wednesday afternoon against the James Madison Dukes.

Maryland struck out 16 times Friday and nearly got no-hit Saturday, but returned to form in Sunday’s 9-5 loss, tallying 11 hits, including home runs by Zach Jancarski and Will Watson. After surrendering 14 runs Saturday, the pitching staff looked sharper, too, on Sunday. Despite allowing nine runs, only four were earned, and the bullpen closed out the game with 4.2 scoreless frames and six strikeouts. Nonetheless, at 1-5, Maryland is off to its worst six game start since 2010.

maryland-vs-jmu-homeMeanwhile, the Dukes (6-1) have opened the season on a hot streak. They’ve won five in a row, including an 11-3 victory over reigning national champion Coastal Carolina and a 25-9 whopping of UNC Asheville. Mike Sciorra (.429, HR, 3 RBIs) has hit safely in every game to open the season, while Brett Johnson (.316, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 1.053 SLG) is in the midst of an early-season power surge.

But despite hitting .300 as a team and putting up double digit runs twice in four games, the Dukes have been a tale of two offenses. Outside of the two aforementioned blowout victories, they’ve scored just 17 runs across five games. Instead, they have relied on their pitching staff, which has surrendered three or fewer runs in five of their seven games, while holding opponents to a .232 batting average.

This is the first of two meetings this season between the Terps and Dukes in their annual home-and-home series. Last year, Maryland swept the series, winning 5-2 in College Park behind Hunter Parsons’ gem on the mound, before outslugging the Dukes, 19-12, in Harrisonburg, Va.

STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

WED 3:00 pm EST

  1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo parsons  vs. jamesmadisondukesmichael-bechtold

So. RHP Hunter Parsons (0-0, 7.11 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Michael Bechtold (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Sophomore Hunter Parsons will get the ball for the Terps Wednesday, making his first start of the season. The right-hander has appeared in two games this season, and has pitched better than his 7.11 ERA would suggest, finishing his outing against Louisville with three scoreless frames, and giving up one run over 2.2 innings against LSU. He made five starts a year ago, including a seven-inning, one-run effort against JMU that earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

JMU will counter with freshman right-hander Michael Bechtold, who will be making his second collegiate start. He picked up the win in his first start last Tuesday against Longwood, in which he tossed 5.1 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and walking four. The Chadds Ford, Pa., native is the younger brother of former Maryland third baseman Andrew Bechtold.