Series Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

Maryland seeks its 17th straight Big Ten series win, a streak that dates back to April 2021 as they face Ohio State this weekend on the road. 

The Terps are coming off a tough midweek loss to Georgetown. In what has become a common theme this season, the pitching staff struggled, allowing 10 runs on 12 hits to the Hoyas. The Terps valiant comeback effort fell short after a five-run ninth sent the game to extras, as Maryland fell 10-9 in 10 innings.  

The Terps swept the Buckeyes in come-from-behind fashion last season as part of a 23-4 stretch which culminated in the team’s first-ever Big Ten regular season championship. 

Here’s what you should know about the Terps’ weekend opponent.  

Last season

The Buckeyes finished third-to-last in the Big Ten in 2022, due in large part to their 3-13 start in conference play. The Buckeyes’ pitching struggled last season, ranking bottom five in the conference in ERA and runs allowed. The defense suffered as well, ranking last in fielding percentage and errors committed. After season-ending series victories against Northwestern and Penn State, two teams in the middle of the Big Ten standings, there was optimism around the program heading into 2023.

This season

Ohio State had decent success playing one of the tougher, if not the toughest, non-conference schedule in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes faced four NCAA Regional teams to start the season, going 4-5 in those games. They also defeated 2021 College World Series champion Mississippi State during that early-season stretch. 

After finishing the non-conference slate with a 10-2 stretch, the Buckeyes have gotten off to another slow start in conference play, largely due to their struggles on the mound. Since Big Ten play began, no team has walked more hitters or allowed more runs than the Buckeyes, which also ranks second-to-last with a 7.63 ERA. 

Hitters to Watch

Freshman phenom Matthew Graveline paces the Buckeyes with a .354 average. The catcher has been one of the top hitters since the start of Big Ten play. Graveline has reached base in each of the team’s nine conference matchups, highlighted by a 3 for 4 day with a homer and four RBIs on Sunday.

After going 0 for 1 in the Big Ten opener, sophomore Tyler Pettorini has since reached base in every conference game. The infielder’s .400 average is top 10 in Big Ten play. Pettorini also has three consecutive multi-hit games against conference opponents.

The Buckeyes rank in the middle of the Big Ten in most offensive categories, although like the Terps, they are disciplined at the plate. Ohio State sits second in the conference in walks. Four players are hitting over .300 and grad student Marcus Ernst leads the team with six homers.

Pitchers to Watch

San Francisco grad transfer Jonah Jenkins has been excellent out of the Buckeye bullpen, pacing the team with a 2.20 ERA over 12 appearances (28 2/3 innings). The right-hander’s sparkling season-opening outing in which he threw 4 2/3 innings of one-hit ball against 2022 Super Regional qualifier UConn was a precursor of what was to come. Over Jenkins’ last nine innings pitched, which spans over three outings, he has allowed no earned runs, five hits and three walks. 

Lefty Landon Beidelschies is another key cog in the Ohio State bullpen. The freshman, who recorded three no-hitters and a perfect game last year at Ohio’s Canfield High School, has continued his dominance at the Division One level. Over the last 14 innings (nine appearances), Beidelschies has given up two earned runs and notched three saves. On the season, the left-hander possesses a 2.70 ERA and leads Buckeye relievers in strikeouts (29) and is top five in the Big Ten with four saves.

Probable Starting Pitcher Matchups

Friday, April 14: Jason Savacool and Isaiah Coupet

Saturday, April 15: Nick Dean and Gavin Bruni

Sunday, April 16: TBD and TBD