Midweek Preview: James Madison

Despite dropping the last game of its series against Minnesota on Sunday, Maryland won its series against the Golden Gophers and now head to James Madison to take on the Dukes for a midweek game Wednesday. The Terps have been on a roll of late, having won seven of their last nine, including each of their last four midweek games.

Maryland defeated George Mason, 8-5, on April 5 in its last midweek game. The bats carried, as starter Logan Ott couldn’t complete five innings on the mound. Maxwell Costes crushed a two-run homer – his 11th of the season – to put the Terps back out in front in the sixth. Nick Larusso and Chris “Bubba” Alleyne both had great days at the plate – the two of them got on base five and four times, respectively. Maryland’s bullpen pitched well in relief of Ott, allowing only one run in 4 1/3 innings to secure the victory for the Terps.

James Madison (17-14)

Last season: James Madison was one of the bottom tier teams in the CAA last season, as the Dukes were in the bottom half of the conference in both conference and overall win percentage. The Dukes’ pitching staff was the big weakness last season, as they ranked second-to-last in the CAA with a 6.38 ERA. The only Duke that threw double-digit innings with a sub-4.00 ERA last season was Donovan Burke, with a 3.00. Burke was arguably the best and most consistent Duke arm last season, as he led James Madison in appearances, strikeouts, and WHIP, and was top-three in batting average against.

This season: 31 games into the 2022 campaign, the Dukes’ pitching staff has been without a doubt better than last season with a 4.91 ERA – over a full run better than last season. Hitting wise, James Madison is near the top of the conference in nearly every major statistical category – average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, home runs, walks, and runs.

Hitters to watch: Redshirt sophomore outfielder Chase DeLauter has been a monster at the plate for James Madison. DeLauter leads both James Madison and the CAA in average (.437), slugging percentage (.828), on-base percentage (.576), and home runs (8). Another Duke with an OPS over 1.000 is leadoff man Trevon Dabney. Dabney ranks only behind DeLauter on James Madison in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and home runs.

Pitchers to watch: James Madison has started different arms in each of its past three midweek games – Ryan Murphy, Todd Mozoki, and CJ Czerwinski. Right-hander Eli Ottinger has been James Madison’s best arm out of relief, with a 2.41 ERA and sub-one WHIP in 11 appearances, all out of the bullpen.

Probable pitching matchup

Logan Ott vs. TBD

Ott has been Maryland’s primary midweek starter this season, and the sophomore has been a mixed bag in that role. Ott has fired scoreless outings in two of his starts, but in the other five, has an 8.05 ERA.

As previously mentioned, James Madison has used different starters in each of its past three midweek games this season. In its last midweek contest against VMI, Czerwinski started but lasted less than three innings, as the Dukes went with a bullpen game to pick up the 12-2 win.