Series Preview: Princeton Tigers

Maryland will look to get back in the win column this weekend when they host Princeton for a three-game series, starting Friday at 2 p.m. in College Park.

The Terrapins will be just Princeton’s (2-6) third opponent of the season, after the Tigers played Duke and UNC-Greensboro four times apiece to open their season. Maryland (9-6) is coming off a 9-2 defeat Tuesday to No. 11 North Carolina, their first loss in over two weeks.maryland-vs-princeton

Riding an eight-game win streak into Chapel Hill, Maryland’s productive bats were held to just one hit over nine innings and starter Hunter Parsons was pulled after 1.2 innings for a second consecutive start. After Parsons allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits, he was relieved by Ryan Hill, who was tagged for four runs in 2.1 innings of work. Nick Dunn had the Terps’ only hit, a two-run single in the third.

During the win streak, which started with a weekend sweep at the USA Baseball-Irish Classic, Maryland averaged eight runs per game and had at least six different batters record a hit in seven of the eight games. Head coach John Szefc has often acknowledged Maryland’s depth this season, stating his lineup is nine batters deep no matter the configuration.

Marty Costes has been red hot, leading Maryland in hits (20), batting average (.324) and homers (2). The Terps also boast a .400 OBP on the season, ranking 41st in NCAA Division-I.

After being swept by Duke in four games to start its season, Princeton responded with two wins at UNC-Greensboro last weekend. A late start to the season has resulted in a sluggish first few games for the Tigers’ offense, which has scored more than three runs just twice and is batting .203 as a whole. Already lacking run support, Princeton pitchers have also seen their defense commit seven errors in eight games this season. It won’t get easier for Tiger batters against the Terps, who allowed three runs in three games last weekend in a sweep of Bryant.

The defending Ivy League Champions will look to counter a dangerous Maryland offense with a rotation led by reigning Ivy League Conference Pitcher of the Year Chad Powers, who is winless in two starts this season. Fellow starter Ben Gross has been a pleasant surprise for Princeton, owning a 0.82 ERA in two starts, striking out 14 over 11.0 innings pitched.

Starting Pitching Matchup

FRI 2 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Brian Shaffer (1-1, 2.19 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP Chad Powers (0-1, 4.50 ERA)

shaffer1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo   vs.Princeton_Tigers_logoChadPowers

Brian Shaffer has stepped into the Friday ace role nicely this season, leading the team with 24.2 innings pitched while posting a paltry 2.19 ERA and .207 opponents’ batting average. The junior right-hander pitched seven innings last Friday against Bryant, giving up one run on five hits and striking out eight for his first win of the season.

Princeton right-hander Chad Powers is off to a less than stellar start, lasting only four innings in his initial outing against Duke on March 3 and getting the no decision last Friday after giving up two runs over six innings to UNC Greensboro. Powers posted a 2.45 ERA in 2016 and will be looking to return to form against the Terps.

Starting Pitching Matchup

SAT 2 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Taylor Bloom (2-2, 4.74 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP James Proctor (0-1, 3.75 ERA)

bloom1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.  Princeton_Tigers_logoJamesProctor

Taylor Bloom will get a chance to earn his third win of the season, a week removed from throwing 104 pitches against Bryant in seven innings of work. The junior right-hander allowed four hits and was tagged with two unearned runs in a 9-2 Maryland win. Bloom posted nearly identical numbers in his first win against then-ranked No. 5 NC State March 4, going seven innings and giving up two runs on five hits. The right-hander has returned to last year’s dominant form after struggling early in the season

With three solid starts in hand, Freshmen James Proctor is making a good case to be Princeton’s third starter. In his last start against UNC-Greensboro, Proctor allowed only one run over six innings on four hits. His 3.75 ERA is second among Princeton starting pitchers.

Starting Pitching Matchup

SUN 1 p.m. EST

Fr. LHP Tyler Blohm (3-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. TBD

blohm 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.  

Maryland’s wins leader, freshman Tyler Blohm had the best outing of his college career against Bryant, pitching six shutout innings, allowing three hits and striking out six. The southpaw is only second on the team to Shaffer in innings pitched (18.1) and strikeouts (18).

Princeton has not yet announced their starter for Sunday.