Game Preview: George Mason Patriots

Maryland’s postseason hopes took a hit over the weekend after losing all three games at home against Purdue, extending a current six-game losing streak. The Terps (16-23, 3-8 Big Ten) fell to 11th place of 13 teams in the Big Ten with three teams in between them and the last spot in the conference tournament. Now, Maryland hosts George Mason and James Madison in back-to-back midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

In right-hander Mark DiLuia’s first Friday night start of his career against Purdue, he pitched well enough to give his team the opportunity to win. Despite recording 12 hits, though, the Terps only generated one run before the Boilermakers pulled away late.

Another great start from Hunter Parsons on Saturday appeared to be enough to even the series but with a one-run lead in the ninth inning, Purdue hit a game-tying homer to force extras. In the 11th, another solo homer proved to be the difference as the Boilermakers clinched the series victory.

The Terps were well on their way to salvage a game in the series Sunday before a five-run seventh inning for Purdue earned the weekend sweep. Center fielder Zach Jancarski put Maryland up 4-0 early after a three-run homer, and a two-run double from second baseman Nick Dunn gave Maryland a 6-2 lead through six innings.

With an opportunity for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament now minimal, as well, Maryland’s two midweek contests this week will serve as chances to boost confidence before getting back into conference play next weekend at Michigan State.

Tuesday, Maryland hosts George Mason (16-22, 7-5 A10) at 4 p.m. in the first and only meeting this season between the two local foes. The Patriots are 7-5 in conference games this season, but are losers of five of their last seven games. While they’re 11-5 at home, they’ve struggled with a 4-11 record on the road.

Maryland and George Mason met once last season in Fairfax, Virginia, where the Patriots beat the Terps, 8-5. George Mason jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but Maryland fought back within three heading into the final frame. After loading the bases with one out in the ninth, Nick Dunn grounded into a controversial double play to end the game.

George Mason witnessed right-hander Jared DiCesare pitch a game for the ages on Sunday despite a 1-0 loss in 12 innings. The sophomore pitched 10 scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking nobody and striking out seven hitters. He only threw 99 pitches. The Patriots went on to lose, 1-0, on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th to VCU.

The Patriots don’t have the most impressive pitching arsenal, though, having a 5.11 team ERA so far this season. Only two pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched have an ERA below 4.00. Four of the team’s five starting pitchers this season have ERAs above 4.31.

Senior right-hander Ryan Ricci has been the main reliable pitcher out of the bullpen for the Patriots, throwing 25.1 innings in a team-high 19 relief appearances this season. His 2.49 ERA is easily the best out of the bullpen. Basically every other primary reliever for George Mason has been suspect this season, carrying ERAs north of five runs.

George Mason is led offensively by sophomore Logan Driscoll and senior Trevor Kelly, who both thrived against the Terps last season. The duo went a combined 5-for-8 with four runs and four RBIs. Driscoll was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team last season, while Kelly led the conference with 56 RBIs.

This season, Driscoll and Kelly are the only Patriots who have played and started in all 38 games this season. Driscoll is batting an incredible .377, atop the team lead in hits (57), on-base percentage (.430) and slugging (.523). Kelly is the only other Patriots hitting over .300, batting .322 with team-highs in doubles (14) and home runs (4), and is tied with Driscoll with a team-best 29 runs scored and 30 RBIs.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. EST


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Neither team has announced a starter for Tuesday’s contest.