The Maryland Terrapins (21-14) look to continue their series-winning ways this weekend as they return home to Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, to take on a struggling Purdue Boilermakers squad (11-21), giving the Terps an opportunity to further boost their chances of making the NCAA Tournament.
Coming off a series win over Illinois, the Terps have won four straight series, have eight wins in their last nine games, have won 15 of their last 20 games, and are getting hot at the right time looking to make a push at making the NCAA Touranment for the first time since 2017. D1 baseball currently has Maryland among the last five teams in the projected field of 64 leaving no room for error.
“We’re in a position to where we control our own destiny, and that starts [with] this weekend,” Coach Rob Vaughn said.
Despite being shut out 2-0 in the first game against the Fighting Illini. The Terps bats combined for 17 runs in both games of the doubleheader en route to a 5-3 and 12-4 wins to win the series.
Star shortstop Ben Cowles continues to stay hot with his 14th home run of the season leading the Big Ten and has homered at least once in each series this season. The Terps hit six home runs in game two of the doubleheader against the Fighting Illini. Catcher Justin Vought, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week, went 4-5 at the plate in the series. He accounted for three of those home runs in game two of the doubleheader. Vought is the first Terp since Tyler Bennett in 2009 to hit three home runs in a single game.
For the third time this season, pitcher Jason Savacool has been named Big Ten Freshman of the week. Savacool (6-1) went 8 1/3 innings and gave up four hits, three runs, and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts that kept the Fighting Illini the best offense in the Big Ten contained.
Purdue is coming off a 5-1 loss against Ohio State in a one-game midweek matchup Tuesday. Their previous series against Northwestern was postponed, as the Wildcats continue to pause team activities due to health and safety concerns within their program.
First pitch of game one of the series is Friday night at 6:30 P.M., followed by game two on Saturday at 2:00 P.M. and game three on Sunday to close out the series at 1:00 P.M.
Purdue Boilermakers (11-21)
Last season: (7-7)
Purdue finished the shortened 2020 season with a 7-7 record with loses to three ranked ACC teams Duke, NC State and North Carolina in the 2020 Cambria College Classic.
Infielder Evan Albrecht led the team with a .364 batting average, 14 RBI and .442 on-base percentage.
On the mound, the Boilermakers were led by Jett Jackson who finished 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in four appearances.
The Boilermakers currently sit in 12th place in the Big Ten standings. Things have not been bright for the Boilermakers on the road where they hold a 2-8 record. The Boilermakers also started off slow on the season (1-8), putting them in an early hole. The Inconsistency continued with a five-game win streak in April followed a five-game losing streak right after.
Hitters to watch:
Senior outfielder Miles Simington comes into the series with a .339 average, .955 OPS and leads the team with 21 RBI. Simington has also reached base safely in 21 straight games and during that stretch has hit .350 with more walks than strikeouts. Fifth-year catcher Zac Fascia has a .314 batting average himself with a .791 OPS and 17 RBI. Outfielder Ben Nisle has a .289 batting average, .983 OPS and 19 RBI. Outfielder Mike Bolton Jr. is also a name to watch on the base paths as he is perfect 11-11 on the season in stolen bases. Overall the Boilermakers ranked 12th in the Big Ten in batting average hitting .245.
Pitchers to watch:
Purdue has not fared well pitching-wise ranking 12th in the Big Ten with a 6.10 ERA. Overall there’s not one pitcher who’s stood out this season for the Boilermakers but Calvin Schapira, Trent Johnson and Cory Brooks are their go-to guys to start. Eric Hildebrand is the go-to guy out of the bullpen pitching in 13 games with a team leading 3.60 ERA on 15 innings pitched.
Starting pitching matchups:
Friday: RHP Nick Dean (2-1, 3.07 ERA) vs Calvin Schapira (0-5, 4.34 ERA)
Dean is coming off a great outing last week against Illinois despite taking the loss. The right-hander went 7 ⅔ innings, gave up two runs (one earned) on only five hits and one walk against the top offense in the Big Ten. Dean has now pitched four consecutive quality starts — going at least six innings and surrendering three or fewer earned runs in each outing. Dean also leads the Big Ten in fewest walks allowed only giving up seven walks on the season.
Schapira was roughed up in his last outing against Ohio State on April 30. He gave up five runs on seven hits in only three innings of work. His best outing of the season came against Michigan State where he pitched eight innings of one-run ball and recorded seven strikeouts on April 17.
Saturday: RHP Jason Savacool (6-1 5.02 ERA) vs RHP Trent Johnson (2-4 4.35)
For the third time this season, Savacool was named Big Ten Freshman of the week. Savacool went 8 1/3 innings and gave up four hits, three runs and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts against Illinois. Savacool ranks 8th in the Big Ten in innings pitched with 57 ⅓ total innings and is tied for most wins on the season.
Johnson pitched an inning of relief against Ohio State Tuesday and recorded three strikeouts. If you’re looking for a strikeout guy on the Boilermakers staff Johnson is your guy with 56 strikeouts on the season and a 1.51 WHIP.
Sunday: RHP Sean Burke (2-3 4.20 ERA) vs RHP Cory Brooks (2-2 6.31 ERA)
Burke is coming off a 2 ⅔ inning outing against Illinois where he struggled and gave up six walks and allowed one earned run. Despite that, Burke still ranks 6th in the Big Ten with 75 strikeouts and batters are only hitting a .187 batting average off Burke on the season. Of course he is also No. 44 overall in Baseball America’s latest MLB Draft rankings as of last week.
Brooks pitched three innings Tuesday against Ohio State where he gave up three runs on only three hits and took the loss. Brooks has started five games this season but has also pitched out of the bullpen in six other games. Opponents are hitting a .307 batting average off of Brooks making him hittable for the Maryland lineup. Brooks does not have a tendency to give up free bases either ranking 10th in the Big Ten in fewest walks allowed with only 13 on the season.