Game Preview: James Madison Dukes

After a weekend sweep of Michigan State, the Maryland Terrapins have now won seven in a row to climb to the top of the Big Ten standings and back into the Top-25 rankings. Before resuming conference play this weekend at Indiana, the Terps (28-11, 12-3 Big Ten) will take a trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to take on the James Madison Dukes.

Maryland’s pitching staff has been key during the current winning streak, as the Terps have surrendered more than two runs just once in the past seven contests, which includes a midweek shutout last Wednesday against William & Mary. In addition to strong weekend starting pitching, the bullpen has continued to keep opponents off the board. Southpaw Andrew Miller (1.02 ERA, .127 opponents’ average) has been dominant on the mound, while Ryan Hill (2.51) and Ryan Selmer (1.54) have been just as dominant in mid- and late-inning situations. The team’s season ERA now sits at 3.45, the third-best in the Big Ten.

Zach Jancarski has led the Terps offense lately, as the junior center fielder has hit safely in 14 straight games, including five straight multi-hit efforts, to raise his season average to .340. Second baseman Nick Dunn also enjoyed a nice weekend at the plate, going 3-for-11 with 4 RBIs in the sweep of Michigan State.

While the Terps have trended upward, the Dukes will look to reverse their recent struggles. James Madison has won just twice in its last 18 contests and is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. The Dukes’ pitching has struggled mightily over that stretch, surrendering at least seven runs in 13 of those 18 games, including a 26-1 beating at the hands of the Liberty Flames. Their team ERA has climbed to 5.98, with opponents hitting .284 off them. Only three James Madison pitchers (Christian Leckert, Fox Semones, and Michael Evans) own ERAs below 4, but Semones and Leckert have seen very limited action, combining to pitch just five innings. Evans has been the Dukes’ best reliever, making 15 appearances out of the bullpen spanning 25 innings. He has pitched to an 3.60 ERA with 35 strikeouts against nine walks.

Despite their pitching struggles, the Dukes have excelled at the dish, plating at least six runs in each of their last three contests, all losses to William & Mary over the weekend. As a team, they are hitting .282 with 50 homers and scored 269 runs scored, marks that best the Terps in each category. Five Dukes are over the .300 mark for the season, including Semones, who paces the team with a .333 average. Outfielder Adam Sisk (.322, 10 2B, 27 RBIs, 14 SB) and first baseman Brett Johnson (.295, 9 HR, 34 RBIs) have enjoyed fine seasons at the plate as well.

This is the first of two meetings between the Dukes and Terps this season, as James Madison was scheduled to travel to College Park on March 1 but the contest was rescheduled due to weather. Maryland won both contests with James Madison a year ago, defeating the Dukes 5-0 in College Park before winning 19-12 in 10 innings in Harrisonburg.

Starting Pitching Matchup

TUE 6:00 p.m. EST


1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.

Maryland and James Madison have not yet announced starters for Tuesday’s game.