Series Preview: Dallas Baptist Patriots

No. 22 Maryland has certainly picked up its stride once again over the last week, now on a four-game winning streak going back to a series sweep of Siena last weekend. Now, the Terps return to the Lone Star State nearly a month after their first trip as they begin a weekend series against Dallas Baptist.

The Terps’ first trip to Texas couldn’t have ended better, as they swept the Baylor Bears to set the tone for the dominant season (thus far) to come. Despite being unranked, Dallas Baptist presents arguably the biggest test to Maryland’s strong season, as the Patriots rank No. 1 in RPI heading into the weekend.

However, the Patriots are catching the Terps at a time when the Maryland bats couldn’t be much hotter. Between last weekend’s series against Siena and a midweek game against UMBC, the Terps put up double-digits in the score column three times. Overall, they outscored their opponents 53-18, crushing nine home runs between the four wins.

Dallas Baptist Patriots (13-7)

Last season:

The Patriots cruised their way to a Missouri Valley Conference title last season, going 41-18 in the regular season and outscoring opponents 44-9 en route to winning the MVC tournament. They had a great NCAA tournament run as well, making it to the Columbia Super Regional but ultimately falling short to the Virginia Cavaliers.

This season:

The unranked Patriots’ 13-7 record is a little deceiving, as they’ve gone consecutive weeks being ranked No. 1 in NCAA’s RPI rating. Six of those losses have been one-run losses, while their overall run differential sits at +24. Like Maryland, Dallas Baptist is enjoying a four-game winning streak, including a sweep over Oral Roberts last weekend.

Hitters to watch:

As a team, Dallas Baptist’s OPS sits at an impressive .798, and that’s held up by five hitters boasting an .800+ OPS. Three of them — Luke Heefner, Blayne Jones, and Cole Moore — also own a batting average over .300.

Their home run leader, George Specht, has launched six long balls this season and while he’s hitting .221 on the season, he has slugged an impressive .515. Just one player — Moore — slugs better than him, sitting at .539 himself.

Pitchers to watch:

Maryland will certainly have its hands full up against a Patriots rotation that’s as well-rounded as the Terps’. Their three-headed monster of Jacob Meador, Luke Eldred and Ryan Johnson has combined for a 2.07 ERA in 73 2/3 innings. Individually, they all come in at a 2.79 ERA or lower, making for a scary obstacle to the Terps lineup.

Probable Starting Pitcher Matchups

Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Nick Dean (2-0, 3.09 ERA) vs. So. RHP Jacob Meador (4-0, 1.35 ERA) 

Saturday, 3:00 p.m. ET

Jr. LHP Ryan Ramsey (5-0, 2.30 ERA) vs. R-Sr. RHP Luke Eldred (3-0, 2.28 ERA)

Sunday, 2:00 p.m. ET

So. RHP Jason Savacool (4-1, 2.19 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Ryan Johnson (2-0, 2.79 ERA)