Midweek Preview: James Madison Dukes

The Terps are back in College Park for some Wednesday action against the Dukes.

Maryland is home after being in Columbus for the weekend, taking two of three in a pivotal Big Ten conference matchup against Ohio State.

With two mid-week matchups against non-conference opponents, the Terps are looking to get the ball rolling before their big weekend series against Purdue.

Maryland has been riding the coattails of their superstar in Nick Lorusso, finding themselves seven games above .500. Although far from where they were at last year, the Terps have been very good in conference play, boasting a 6-3 Big Ten record, winning the series in all three matchups so far.

Let’s take a look ahead into their Wednesday game when they square off with James Madison.

James Madison Dukes (20-15)

Last Season

James Madison finished its 2022 season with a 27-26 overall record, ultimately failing to reach the Colonial Athletic Association Conference Tournament. The Dukes were not in the toughest Division I bracket, facing teams such as Charleston, Elon, and the conference champion Hofstra. Although finishing with a positive record, their 12 wins in conference play cost them playoff hopes.

Making the jump to the Sun Belt Conference this year, James Madison joined forces with top teams like Coastal Carolina and Louisiana.

This Season

The Dukes are off to a positive start in their inaugural season in the Sun Belt Conference, posting a 20-15 overall record. In their first Sun Belt matchup of the year, Coastal Carolina took two of three against James Madison and South Alabama did the same, digging their grave even deeper. They were almost able to escape after winning two against Georgia State but kept digging their hole after their most recent conference matchup against Southern Missouri. The Dukes were on the wrong side of a sweep and lost their last game due to being run-ruled 15-2.

Facing Maryland will be the start of a rough stretch for the Dukes, as they must head home after the Wednesday game to take on the 25-12 Louisiana Cajuns. They will then travel to Virginia Tech for a Tuesday night game and keep trucking to North Carolina to face Appalachian State.

Hitters to Watch

James Madison has a lot of pop in their lineup this year, headlined by Fenwick Trimble, Kyle Novak and Jack Cone. These three have kept the Dukes bats afloat, all posting an OPS above .870.

Trimble, a sophomore out of Virginia, has been spectacular. He sports a .348 batting average and a .674 slugging percentage. The left-fielder also leads his conference in doubles with 15 and is second in runs with 39. Novak, a redshirt senior and first-baseman, is slashing at an outstanding .336 batting average and has accomplished an OPS of .885 through 35 games. Completing the trifecta, Cone has been James Madison’s third-best guy at the plate. The graduate student is batting just below .300 and is a walking machine with 24 bases on balls to complement his .429 on-base percentage. All these players have a minimum of two plate appearances a game and 75% of games played.

The Duke’s batting average as a team sits at .295, enough for fourth best in the conference. They also boast 71 doubles, good for second in the Sun Belt, and 218 strikeouts, the lowest in the conference.

Pitchers to Watch

Todd Mozoki has been near dominant for James Madison this year and is their most consistent pitcher to date. Flaunting a 2.70 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, the sophomore has given them big appearances on the mound. Mozoki has also given up zero home runs on the year while holding opponents to a .247 batting average.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Having to play back-to-back midweek games puts the Terp’s arms in an interesting spot. Look for Maryland to have a bullpen day against James Madison and rest their big guns for an important Big Ten series against Purdue this weekend.