After losing their first two games of the season in the LeClair Classic last weekend, No. 21 Maryland looks to get back on track as they face the VCU Rams in a brief home and home series. The Terps will host the Rams at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium on Tuesday and will play in Richmond, Virginia on Wednesday.
Luke Shliger had a dynamic weekend as he recorded eight hits and swiped a couple bags. The sophomore slugger raised his stat line to .295/.421/.523 on the season and continues to shine in the leadoff spot to a potent Maryland batting order.
“I think it’s back to the drawing board having good at-bats, playing as a team. I think we got a little individual [last] weekend,” Shliger said about the team’s rough last few games. “We had chances to cash in and I think it’s just being selfless today against VCU.”
Jacob Orr had an impressive weekend, as well. Though he has not served as an everyday player, he has five hits in five games and played a key role in the bottom of the order in Greenville, North Carolina.
“I think we faced a little bit of adversity [last] weekend,” Orr said. They didn’t go the way we wanted [them] to, but we got some good experience from it facing adversity and I think it’ll help us in the long run.”
Maryland’s three aces — Nick Dean, Ryan Ramsey, and Jason Savacool — had a tougher time last weekend than they did against Baylor and Campbell, but were still able to keep their team in each ballgame. Logan Ott has started Maryland’s two midweek games this season, so he is expected to get the ball against Virginia Commonwealth. Reliever Will Glock saw plenty of action over the weekend and maintains a 2.45 ERA on the year.
Virginia Commonwealth Rams (3-7)
The Rams concluded last season at the very top of the Atlantic 10 standings with a 38-16 overall record. They went 13-3 in their conference and defeated Saint Joseph’s, Rhode Island, and Dayton to win the Atlantic 10 Tournament. In the NCAA Regional, the Rams beat the Campbell Fighting Campbells in the first game, a ballclub that Maryland swept earlier this season. However, the Rams got blown out by Campbell afterward as well as Mississippi State to end their season. The Rams had a combined slash line of .290/.414/.474 and had a plethora of hitters that swung the bat well all season.
The Rams are having a rough go of it to start their 2022 campaign, as they have lost five of their last six games and are yet to win back-to-back affairs. The only teams they have beaten so far include Lafayette, Longwood, and Princeton – all of whom are severely struggling. The team has incredibly poor offensive statistics so far, while the pitching has been somewhat serviceable. Virginia Commonwealth has only scored six runs in their last five games and they have been shut out twice in the process.
Hitters to Watch
Virginia Commonwealth has a few players that are playing exceptional baseball, despite the lack of support around them. Logan Amiss has 11 hits in 34 at-bats and has reached base in every game. Tyler Locklear provides more of a power threat as he has four long shots to his name. The two have played in every game for the Rams and are leading the team in almost every offensive statistic.
Pitchers to Watch
Chase Hungate has been the best Rams pitcher by far, boasting a 0.75 ERA through 12 innings pitched. Campbell Ellis put up zeros through seven frames against Rider and Longwood, but later struggled against Ole Miss and Lafayette. He has not seen the mound since March 4, so there is a strong chance the Terps will face him at some point in the series. The Rams do not have the best depth compared to other teams the Terps have faced – especially when matched up against teams like Michigan, Indiana State, and East Carolina – the three teams Maryland played in the LeClair Classic.
Starting pitching matchups are to be decided for Tuesday and Wednesday, but Logan Ott has taken the hill against UMBC and Delaware this season. Against the Golden Retrievers, he threw four innings of two-run ball. He gave up three runs through 4 2/3 innings against the Blue Hens the following week. His numbers have been consistent throughout, allowing six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts in both games. The Terps are yet to play two midweek games in the same week this season, so no other starting pitcher on the team has gotten a chance to toe the rubber in these types of matchups.