Game Preview: George Mason Patriots

Following a series loss at Nebraska, Maryland got back on track Tuesday with a comeback win at home over West Virginia. The Terrapins have now won six of eight April contests, and have not lost back-to-back games since a Feb. 24-26 sweep at the hands of LSU. Before hosting Penn State in a three-game set this weekend, the Terrapins (21-10, 6-3 Big Ten) travel around the beltway Wednesday to take on George Mason.

It will be a homecoming of sorts for first baseman Brandon Gum, who hit .300 over parts of four seasons with the Patriots before receiving a medical redshirt in 2016 and transferring to Maryland for his last year of eligibility. He has continued to swing a hot bat with the Terps, hitting .338 with 17 RBIs and a Big Ten-leading .495 on-base percentage. Right fielder Marty Costes, Gum’s partner in crime in the middle of the order, is in the midst of an impressive year at the plate as well. The sophomore leads the team in most offensive statistics, including the triple crown categories (.354 average, 7 HR, 21 RBIs). He’s posted two multi-hit games in his last four contests, including a 3-for-4, three RBI performance Sunday at Nebraska.

Maryland’s weekend starters have impressed for most of the season, but the bullpen has led the way in the team’s midweek contests. Right-hander Ryan Hill leads the team with 25 innings out of the bullpen, striking out 35 while posting a 2.88 ERA. Ryan Selmer, tied with Hill with 15 appearances, owns a paltry 1.96 ERA, bested only by southpaw Andrew Miller’s 1.26 mark in 14.1 innings.

George Mason (13-20, 3-3 A10) has not enjoyed the sustained success that Maryland has this season, winning consecutive games just three times this season and posting a 7-11 record at home. The Patriots are fresh off a 19-4 drubbing of Mount St. Mary’s Wednesday, however, in which they matched their run total from their previous six contests combined. Catcher/outfielder Tyler Nelin (2-for-2, HR, 4 RBIs, 2 BB) led the offensive attack for the Patriots as he has done for much of the season. The junior leads the team with seven homers, nine doubles, 26 RBIs and a .492 slugging percentage. Along with Nelin, utility man Trevor Kelly (.280, 4 HR, 22 RBIs) and catcher Logan Driscoll (.311, 2 HR, 19 RBIs) have been key pieces in the Patriot lineup this season.

In addition to battling inconsistency at the plate, George Mason has struggled on the mound this season, posting a 4.74 team ERA and a .275 opponent’s batting average. A trio of southpaws, Tyler Kardas, Timothy Turner and Ryan Galvin, have been bright spots out of the Patriots bullpen, however, each throwing at least 12 innings of relief with a sub-3.20 ERA. Kardas is especially dominant, pitching to a 1.15 ERA, although his control can be spotty (11 walks in 15.2 innings). Right-hander Ryan Ricci is perfect so far this season, as he has not surrendered a run in eight relief appearances spanning 9.2 innings of work.

The Terps and Patriots have not faced off since April 23, 2014, a 13-4 Maryland victory in College Park. Brandon Gum went 2-for-3 with a double in the contest, driving in three of George Mason’s four runs.

Starting Pitching Matchup

WED 3 p.m. EST

So. RHP Hunter Parsons (0-1, 10.03 ERA) vs. R-Sr. LHP Brock Hunter (1-3, 5.59 ERA)

1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo   vs. 

Maryland right-hander Hunter Parsons takes the hill Wednesday, making his seventh appearance and third start this season. After an impressive freshman season (15 G, 5 GS, 3.50 ERA), Parsons has failed to make it through the second inning in either of his starts this year, midweek contests against William & Mary and UNC. He looked sharper in his last appearance out of the bullpen however, striking out two in a scoreless inning against Rutgers.

The Patriots will send Brock Hunter to the mound for his fifth start of the 2017 campaign. The southpaw returned to action this year after redshirting last season, but has not yet replicated the success he had out of the bullpen in 2015 when he led the team with a 2.27 ERA in 27 appearances. He struggled in his most recent start last week against James Madison, lasting only 3.2 innings and surrendering four runs, albeit just one earned, on five hits. The McLean, Virginia, native has lasted five innings just once this season, a five-inning, three-run performance against Radford on March 8.