Midweek Preview: James Madison

Following a home weekend sweep against Michigan, No. 15 Maryland has a matchup on the horizon against James Madison, the second time the Terps and the Dukes will play this season. In their contest a month ago in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Terps downed the Dukes in a thriller. James Madison got out to a 3-0 lead and following back-and-forth play, led 7-5 entering the eighth inning. After Jacob Orr recorded a two-run single to tie the game in the eighth, Chris “Bubba” Alleyne smacked a solo home run over the wall in right in the ninth, putting Maryland ahead 8-7. David Falco shut down the Dukes in the bottom of the inning, securing the Terps’ 8-7 victory.

Against Michigan this past weekend, the Terps’ bats were on full display. Maryland outscored Michigan 43-23, including a 20-run showing on Saturday. Matt Shaw had a series to remember — the sophomore shortstop went 7-13 with seven runs scored, 12 RBI, and six home runs.

The midweek game against James Madison is the Terps’ last home game of the season, with their regular season finale set for this weekend on the road against Purdue.

James Madison (26-23, 11-9 CAA)

Last Season:

James Madison was one of the worst 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 their 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 ERA. Burke was one of the few consistent Duke arms last season, as he led James Madison in appearances, strikeouts, and WHIP, and was top-three in batting average against.

This Season:

The Dukes rank in the middle of the pack this season in the conference in both batting and pitching. James Madison relies on the home-run ball more than most of its conference, as the Dukes rank third in the CAA in slugging percentage and second in home runs.

Pitching-wise, James Madison is much improved from 2021 — a near two-run decrease from last season. The Dukes’ pitching staff is one of the best in the conference in terms of control, as James Madison ranks third-best in the CAA with 160 walks allowed.

Hitters to Watch:

Redshirt junior backstop Travis Reifsnider has been a wrecking force in the Dukes’ lineup this season. Reifsnider leads qualified Dukes in average (.299), OPS (.988), home runs (12), and slugging percentage (.628). Another redshirt junior, Trevon Dabney, has been a threat at the top of the order for James Madison. Dabney ranks first on James Madison with a .452 on-base percentage, and is a perfect 9-9 in steal attempts.

Pitchers to Watch:

James Madison has started a number of arms in each its past midweek games this season – Ryan Murphy, Todd Mozoki, and CJ Czerwinski. Right-hander Eli Ottinger has been one of James Madison’s best arms out of relief, with a 3.86 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 19 appearances, all out of the bullpen. Ottinger also has a slim batting-average-against of just .214.

Probable pitching matchup

Logan Ott vs. CJ Czerwinski

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 has struggled in the others. Ott enters with a 6.70 ERA.

In its previous midweek matchup this season, the Dukes sent out Czerwinski as the starter against the Terps. Czerwinski struggled, allowing two runs in just 2 1/3 innings pitched. The redshirt sophomore has struggled to a 9.17 ERA on the season.