Preseason Countdown: Mike Vasturia, #7

Maryland Baseball Network is counting down to Opening Day! Today marks seven days until the start of the 2017 season, so here’s a look at #7, Mike Vasturia.

RHP Mike Vasturia
RHP Mike Vasturia

MIKE VASTURIA | 7

Year: Freshman

Position: Pitcher

Bats/Throws: R/R

Height/Weight: 6’5″ / 235 lbs.

Hometown: Medford, N.J.

Previous School: St. Augustine Preparatory School

2016 Spring Stats: None

About Mike: Mike Vasturia dominated as a junior at St. Augustine Prep, posting a 6-3 record with a 1.18 ERA, 5o strikeouts and 10 walks. He didn’t pitch during his senior season after undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery to “clean out the joint” in April, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite the setback, Perfect Game still rated him the No. 8 pitcher and No. 18 player overall in New Jersey in the 2016 class. A Perfect Game scout said Vasturia “pounds the strike zone with a heavy fastball with lots of sink and run” and that he “gets outstanding sink at times on his changeup.” Vasturia’s fastball reaches the high 80s. His older brother, Steve, is a senior at Notre Dame, averaging 14.1 points per game for the Fighting Irish basketball team.

2017 Season Preview: Starting Pitchers

The Maryland Baseball season is just eight days away, and with that, our team preview continues. So far, we have broken down the Big Ten Conference and looked at the Terrapins’ bullpen and outfield. Now, it’s time to take a look at the Terps’ 2017 starting pitchers.

Maryland will be without star right-hander Mike Shawaryn this season, as the team’s all time leader in innings pitched (307.1), strikeouts (307) and wins (30) was drafted last June in the fifth round by the Boston Red Sox. But despite Shawaryn’s departure, the Maryland rotation that features junior right-handers Brian Shaffer and Taylor Bloom figures to be just as strong as it was a year ago. Beyond these two, several formidable underclassmen will be in the mix for the Sunday slot, as well as midweek appearances. But first, let’s take a look at the weekend starters.

Friday:

RHP Brian Shaffer
RHP Brian Shaffer

Coming off a strong 2016 as Maryland’s primary Sunday starter, Brian Shaffer moves up to the number one slot on Friday nights this season. The promotion is well-deserved, as he finished in the top ten in the conference in innings pitched (103.2), ERA (2.60), opponents average (.209), and strikeouts (75), while leading the Terps in wins (8), WHIP (0.88) and innings pitched. The Terps were 10-5 in his starts, and he led the team to six wins in series-deciding rubber matches. Shaffer pitched three complete games last season, two of which were shutouts, including a two-hit, eight strikeout victory over Indiana in a Big Ten Tournament elimination game. He sports a low- to mid-90s fastball to go with a change-up and a slider, and relies on his pinpoint control (13 walks in 103.2 innings) for his success.

Saturday:

RHP Taylor Bloom
RHP Taylor Bloom

After excelling as the Terps’ Saturday starter a year ago, Taylor Bloom will return to that same role in 2017. He was just as dominant as Shaffer in 2016, leading Maryland with a 2.46 ERA and five complete games. With a fastball that tops out in the high-80s, Bloom uses his change-up to pitch to contact and keep hitters off balance. As with many contact pitchers, his control is his calling card, as he was the only pitcher in the nation to throw more than 100 innings while walking fewer than ten batters (9 walks in 102.1 innings). His 0.79 walks per nine innings ratio was second best in the nation, while his 6.67 strikeout to walk ratio ranked 15th. His finest appearance of the year came on April 8 against Ohio State. Filling in for Shawaryn in his first career Friday start, Bloom took a perfect game into the sixth inning before finishing with a 90-pitch complete-game shutout.

Sunday:

RHP Hunter Parsons
RHP Hunter Parsons

With Shawaryn’s departure and Shaffer’s promotion to Friday night, Sunday’s spot in the rotation is up for grabs. One candidate is sophomore right-hander Hunter Parsons, who emerged as a formidable midweek starter in his freshman season. In 15 games (five starts) a year ago, he pitched to a 3.50 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 36 innings while holding opponents to a .201 average. He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for his seven-inning, two-hit performance against James Madison on April 6, and earned a spot start on Sunday against Purdue later in April. He had an impressive summer as well, posting a 1.41 ERA for the Baltimore Redbirds en route to being named the Cal Ripken League Pitcher of the Year.

LHP Tyler Blohm
LHP Tyler Blohm

The other Sunday option is freshman left-hander Tyler Blohm. Drafted in the 17th round by the the Baltimore Orioles last June, Blohm did not sign, electing to play for Maryland instead. The Archbishop Spalding (Severn, Md.) product was a perfect 9-0 in his senior season, posting a 0.74 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 66 innings. Over the summer, he played alongside Parsons on the Redbirds, pitching to a 2.07 ERA in 26 innings. Blohm’s fastball sits in the low-90s, and he uses a mix of this, his change-up, and a plus curveball to miss bats. Either Parsons or Blohm would be a solid option on Sundays, and even just eight days before the season starts, Maryland Head Coach John Szefc still has not made a decision on who will get the nod in the opening series.

Midweek:

Between Parsons and Blohm, whoever does not get the ball as the Sunday starter will be Szefc’s primary option in midweek contests early in the year. But as the season progresses, some other young arms will could figure into the midweek rotation.

RHP Cameron Enck
RHP Cameron Enck

Sophomore right-hander Cameron Enck struggled in limited action a year ago (5 G, 6 IP, 7.50 ERA), but had a breakout summer with the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game League. In nine games (46 IP), Enck posted a 0.39 ERA, decimating the previous record of 1.02. This impressive summer performance should be enough to get him a midweek look at some point in the season.

RHP Elliot Zoellner
RHP Elliot Zoellner

Freshman righty Elliot Zoellner pitched to a 0.97 ERA in his senior year at St. Mary’s High School (Annapolis, Md.) after posting a 1.56 ERA in his junior season, and has impressed Maryland coaches this offseason. He played locally over the summer for the Gaithersburg Giants in the Cal Ripken League, going 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA in eight appearances.

Preseason Countdown: Corey Haines, #8

Maryland Baseball Network is counting down to Opening Day! Today marks 8 days until the start of the 2017 season, so here’s a look at #8, Corey Haines.

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Volunteer Asst. Coach Corey Haines
Position: Volunteer Assistant Coach

Hometown: Elkton, Md.

Alma Mater: Maryland (’11)

Experience: 5th season at Maryland

About Haines: Corey Haines is entering his fifth season as the Terps’ volunteer assistant coach, after graduating from the University of Maryland in 2011 with a degree in kinesiology.

Haines serves as Maryland’s first-base coach throughout the season, and is in charge of organizing Maryland’s offseason prospect camps at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

Prior to his graduation, the Elkton, Md. native was a volunteer and student assistant coach for three seasons, from 2009-2011. He played for two years at Cecil College as a second baseman, appearing in the regional championship in 2007 and winning the Maryland JuCo state title in 2008.

In 2012, Haines served as an assistant coach with Shippensburg University, coaching infielders and hitters, and focusing on base running. The Raiders finished with a record of 32-21, a nine-win improvement from the season before.

In the summers of 2011 and 2012, Haines was the head coach for the Alexandria Aces, a member of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. He led the Aces to the team’s first playoff appearance in franchise history in 2012.

 

2017 Season Preview: Outfield

Our countdown to the first pitch of the Maryland Baseball season is down into single-digits. Now that we’ve previewed the entire Big Ten and introduced the Terrapins’ deep bullpen, let’s review the outfield corps for the 2017 season.

After five seasons in College Park, Anthony Papio transitions from an athlete in the outfield to a student assistant coach on the bench for the Terrapins. Papio made 50 starts in the outfield in his final season in 2016 with only two errors in his time in both center and right field. At the plate he hit .261 with four home runs, 28 RBIs and was tied for a team-high with eight steals. He finished his career with 230 games played, the most in Maryland Baseball history.

Although Papio will be missed in the outfield this season, the Terps have solid players to fill the void. Let’s introduce those players, starting with the position Papio leaves behind: right field.

Right Field:

OF Marty Costes.
Right fielder Marty Costes

After making 52 starts as a freshman last season, most of which came in left field, sophomore Marty Costes will likely cross the outfield to become the starting right fielder for the Terrapins to begin the season. Costes’ emergence as a powerful bat in the lineup last season forced Coach Szefc to find him a place in the field. With Kevin Smith occupying his high school position at shortstop, Costes got his chance in left field. He went 2-for-3 with an RBI in his first start in the outfield, and his hot hitting continued, making him an everyday left fielder from that point on.

He led the Terps and all Big Ten freshmen with nine home runs and 37 RBIs to go with a .263 batting average and a .363 on-base percentage. Not only did he provide an offensive spark last season, but Costes recorded just two errors in the field, establishing himself as one of the team’s better defensive outfielders. After a strong summer with the Baltimore Redbirds of the Cal Ripken League (.314, 7 HR, 24 RBIs), he will be an essential member of the outfield this season both defensively and offensively.

Center Field:

Center fielder Zach Jancarski
Center fielder Zach Jancarski

After starting the final 20 games last year, junior Zach Jancarski will return in center field when Maryland begins its season in Clearwater, Florida. Jancarski began last season in center before being replaced by Papio just a couple of weeks later. But when Jancarski started to warm up in mid-April, he returned to the starting lineup as the everyday center fielder.

In addition to making zero errors in 46 appearances in the field, Jancarski hit .257 with four doubles, 18 runs scored and a .348 on-base percentage. The junior played in for the Sanford Mainers in the  New England Collegiate Baseball League last summer, where he hit .288 with 10 doubles and 13 RBIs. Jancarski will not only lead the outfield with his solid defense, but he is also likely to lead the offense near the top of the Maryland lineup.

Left Field:

Left fielder Madison Nickens
Left fielder Madison Nickens

While Costes and Jancarski appear to have their spots in the outfield locked up to start the year, left field still poses a bit of a mystery for Maryland and might continue to confuse us in the first weeks of the season. Although senior Madison Nickens will likely switch from right field to left field to start the season, Coach Szefc has options in the third outfield spot. As a transfer from LSU-Eunice a year ago, Nickens started 54 games primarily in right field. He led the team with 40 runs scored, tied with Papio for the team lead with eight stolen bases, and finished second behind Costes with eight home runs. When Jarcarski reclaimed his position in center field mid-way through the season, Papio moved back into right, giving Nickens some time in the DH spot to finish the season.

Left fielder Will Watson
Left fielder Will Watson

Nickens might start the opening game in left field for the Terps, but there will be plenty of opportunities early in the season on Sundays and mid-week games for others, such as Will Watson, to earn more playing time. Watson, a junior transfer from LSU-Eunice, hit .312 with 11 doubles, four homers and 21 stolen bases in 46 games last season for the Bengals. Just like Nickens a year ago, Watson will get opportunities early in the season to show if his success playing Division II baseball can translate into Division I.

Outfielder/pitcher Jamal Wade
Outfielder/ pitcher Jamal Wade

Even though Jamal Wade has been working on transitioning to the mound since last season, he could also be given opportunities in the outfield like in his freshman and sophomore seasons. In addition to his 1.58 ERA in 11.1 innings, he hit .267 with two homers for the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s Keene Swamp Bats this summer. After starting four games in 19 appearances for the Terps last season, Wade could compete for playing time in the outfield, returning to his freshman year form where hit started 26 games between DH and the outfield.

Preseason Countdown: Jared Price, #9

Maryland Baseball Network is counting down to Opening Day! Today marks 10 days until the start of the 2017 season, so here’s a look at #9, Jared Price.

RHP Jared Price

JARED PRICE | 9

Year: Redshirt Senior

Position: Pitcher

Bats/Throws: R/R

Height/Weight: 6’3″ / 240 lbs.

Hometown: Mohnton, Pa.

Previous School: Twin Valley High School

2016 Spring Stats: 2 G, 0-0, 1 IP, 1 R, 9.00 ERA

2016 Summer Stats (Silver Spring-Takoma T-Bolts, Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League): 1-1, 3.55 ERA, 12.2 IP, 12 SO, 4 SV

About Jared: An injury sidelined Price for nearly the entire 2016 season but the redshirt senior had a nice summer in the Cal Ripken League, recording four saves and appearing in 10 games. Price, who was drafted by the New York Mets out of high school, has worked on improving his velocity after shoulder surgery in the fall of 2014. In the 2015, Price made 11 appearances, pitched 8.1 innings and allowed six runs. Looking to wrap up his collegiate career with a consistent, healthy season, Price will attempt to find his spot in a bullpen that features Mike Rescigno and Ryan Selmer.

Preseason Countdown: Justin Morris, #10

Maryland Baseball Network is counting down to Opening Day! Today marks 10 days until the start of the 2017 season, so here’s a look at #10, Justin Morris.

C Justin Morris
C Justin Morris

JUSTIN MORRIS | 10

Year: Junior

Position: Catcher

Bats/Throws: L/R

Height/Weight: 6’2″ / 215 lbs.

Hometown: Edgewater, Md.

Previous School: Dematha Catholic High School

2016 Spring Stats: .194 (20-for-103), 5 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 9 R, .297 OBP, .301 SLG

2016 Summer Stats (Bethesda Big Train, Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League): .287 (35-for-122), 10 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 22 R, .414 OBP, .459 SLG

About Justin: Justin Morris established himself as one of the team’s primary catchers during the 2016 season, making 34 starts and 41 total appearances. He struggled at the plate, hitting below .200, but made up for it on the defensive side, throwing out 38 percent (12-of-32) of would-be base-stealers. Over the summer, Morris blossomed at the plate with the Cal Ripken League’s Bethesda Big Train, hitting .287 with 10 doubles and 25 RBI in 35 games, while leading the team with four triples. He showed his versatility in the field as well, making starts behind the plate, at first base, and in left and right field. This season, he figures to get a bulk of the starts behind the plate thanks to his defensive prowess and experience with the pitching staff, while looking to build on his strong offensive summer.

2017 Season Preview: Relief Pitchers

Yesterday, we broke down the Big Ten conference as a whole and spoke to head coach John Scefc and shortstop Kevin Smith at media day. Today, 10 days before Maryland’s season-opener, we’ll take a look at the Terrapin bullpen.

The Terps will be without their leader in appearances from a year ago, Robert Galligan, who graduated after a season during which he appeared in a team-high 27 games.

However, aside from Galligan, Maryland is returning the majority of its bullpen from the 2016 season.

Returning many crucial members of the bullpen will help Szefc and pitching coach Ryan Fecteau continue using a committee of arms to close games.

“I don’t think you need to designate a closer with this team; I think you have multiple options,” Fecteau said on the Maryland Baseball Network podcast. “I think these guys are capable of pitching two [or] three innings on a given day. We just have to be smart with not using them too often if we’re going to get multiple innings out of them.”

The Bullpen:

RHP Mike Rescigno
RHP Mike Rescigno

Right-hander Mike Rescigno is coming off a tremendous summer with the Baltimore Redbirds of the Cal Ripken league and has impressed everyone in the offseason. The senior from Monmouth Beach, NJ appeared in 13 games, pitched 15.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs over the summer. Last year Rescigno allowed 12 earned runs in 19.1 innings, but appeared in 23 games, the third-most of any Maryland pitcher. His efforts were rewarded this past year when the San Francisco Giants drafted him in the 36th round of the MLB Draft. However, Rescigno opted to return to College Park for his senior season. He was recently named the top player on Perfect Game’s senior draft prospect list.

RHP Ryan Selmer
RHP Ryan Selmer

Right-hander Ryan Selmer joins Rescigno in the bullpen as one of Szefc’s top relievers. Selmer, who will likely see time in critical late-game situations in 2017, spent the summer with Wareham Gatemen of the Cape Cod Baseball League, working on improving his ground ball efficiency. The redshirt junior has led the Terps in appearances the past two seasons, appearing in 27 games a year ago and throwing 37.1 innings, a mark that also led all relievers. He led the team in saves with four and held opponents to a .240 average.

RHP Andrew Green
RHP Andrew Green

Andrew Green is another reliable option in Maryland’s bullpen this season that has been working on an unconventional pitching delivery this offseason. Not only has he been practicing a submarine delivery (below), but in recent practices, Green has pitched from over-the-top and submarine against the same batter, similar to Coastal Carolina’s Andrew Beckwith. Green is looking to build on a sophomore season in which he struck out 12 batters in 13 relief appearances.

RHP Ryan Hill
RHP Ryan Hill

Ryan Hill will also see action as a late-inning option for the Terps. One of three transfers on the roster, and the only transfer pitcher, the junior right-hander comes to Maryland from after two strong seasons at Grayson College in Denison, Texas. Hill posted a 2.29 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 39.1 innings (12.13 K/9 innings) last season for the Grayson Vikings.

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LHP Andrew Miller

The Terps also have a duo of left-handers that will compete for time out of the ‘pen. Andrew Miller had a strong summer with the Baltimore Redbirds of the Cal Ripken league, as he allowed just eight earned runs in 30.1 innings. Miller’s repertoire includes a fastball that reaches the low 90s, a changeup and a slider. Tayler Stiles, who has spent time as a starter with the Terrapins, may find himself a crucial southpaw piece of the bullpen on weekends. He finished the 2016 season with a 2-3 record and a 6.23 ERA.

LHP Tayler Stiles
LHP Tayler Stiles

Head coach John Szefc, shortstop Kevin Smith discuss season expectations at media day

Despite missing the 2016 NCAA Tournament after two straight trips to the Super Regionals, Maryland head coach John Szefc built a foundation for success that has already culminated into something tangible.

Last season, Szefc led a Maryland squad that included 14 freshmen, and regularly saw six or more underclassmen in the starting lineup. The youth made expectations for a third straight Super Regional appearance lofty, but not out of the realm of possibility.

However, the Terps finished the season at 30-27, clinching a spot in the Big Ten Tournament on the final day of the season and eventually reaching the Big Ten Tournament semifinal. But, the 27 losses, including key falters against lower-tier midweek opponents, proved to be too big to overcome to get off the bubble for the NCAA Tournament.

“I think that was a fair reason for all the ups and downs we had,” Szefc said at Maryland’s spring media availability Monday.

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Head coach John Szefc and junior shortstop Kevin Smith at Maryland spring availability.

A year later, and those 14 freshmen are now sophomores, including 2016 Freshman All-Americans second baseman Nick Dunn, and outfielder Marty Costes.

Additionally, 2016 contributors and sophomores shortstop Kevin Smith, first baseman Kevin Biondic, catcher Justin Morris, outfielder Zach Jancarski, and starting pitchers Brian Shaffer and Taylor Bloom are now upperclassmen leaders.

“We have a lot more experienced guys,” Smith said. “We have a lot of guys that can be leaders when they want to and police ourselves that way.”

College baseball analysts are bullish on the Terps coming into this season, putting the Terps in the top-25 in three different preseason polls, thanks to that new mix of youth and experience.

Smith has received the most offseason recognition of anyone on the Maryland roster. The shortstop was named a First-Team Preseason All-American by Baseball America and Perfect Game, and a Third-Team Preseason All-American by D1Baseball.com, all on the heels of being ranked the No. 11 draft prospect by D1Baseball, earning Cape Cod Baseball League LCS MVP honors with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, and being named the Summer Breakout Prospect by D1Baseball.com.

Add what Szefc calls “one of the deeper pitching staffs” the program has seen, and it’s a roster that could lead the Terps back to the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s one of the deeper pitching staffs we’ve had,” Szefc said. “That’s kind of a weird thing to day having lost [Mike] Shawaryn, who is the most successful pitcher in program history but being able to bring back two pitchers that had more starts that walks last year [Taylor Bloom, Brian Shaffer] is a rare thing in college baseball. Hunter Parsons was the pitcher of the year in the Cal Ripken League this summer and the freshman left-hander we have— Tyler Blohm—he’s progressed at a faster rate than almost any other guy I’ve been around.”

As a senior at nearby Archbishop Spalding, Blohm boasted a 0.74 ERA, and flourished in the Cal Ripken League this summer to the tune of 26 strikeouts in 26 innings his first time facing collegiate competition.

The bullpen also returns key pieces as RHP Mike Rescigno, a San Fransisco Giants-draftee in the 2016 MLB Draft, returns to Maryland as Perfect Game’s No. 1 senior prospect after a head-turning summer campaign with the Baltimore Redbirds in the Cal Ripken League. He joins RHP Ryan Selmer, who, like Smith and Dunn, is coming off a strong summer in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

“If you want to have a successful year, you have to like what you have on paper before you actually go out there and play the games,” Szefc said. “I can tell you…it is one of the better teams since I’ve been here on paper.”

The start of Maryland’s season is just days away, with the Terps traveling to Clearwater, Fl. for the Clearwater Tournament. Every game this season can be heard live on the Maryland Baseball Network.

Listen to the full media day interview:

[Contributions by Jake Eisenberg]

Preseason Countdown: Danny Maynard, #11

Maryland Baseball Network is counting down to Opening Day! Today marks 11 days until the start of the 2017 season, so here’s a look at #11, Danny Maynard.

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Catcher Danny Maynard

DANNY MAYNARD | 11

Year: Sophomore

Position: Catcher

Bats/Throws: R/R

Height/Weight: 5’10″ / 195 lbs.

Hometown: Burnt Hills, N.Y.

2016 Spring Stats: .306 (11-for-36), 3 2B, 8 RBI, 3 R, .359 OBP, 389 SLG

2016 Summer Stats (Amsterdam Mohawks, Perfect Game League): .185 (20-for-108), 6 2B, 1 HR, 16 RBI, 14 R, .294 OBP, .269 SLG

About Danny: Danny Maynard provided quality at-bats coming off the bench as a freshman, hitting over .300 in 25 games. In his first of six starts last season, he went 2-for-4 with both a run scored and an RBI against George Washington University. He also hit a walk-off RBI single to beat and sweep Ohio State in College Park.

Listen to the call here:

Before Maryland, Maynard was a dual-sport athlete, playing both baseball and football. In addition to batting .436 in his senior season at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, Maynard was named MVP in the his high school’s state championship football victory after rushing for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Maynard played in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League this past summer for the Amsterdam Mohawks, where he hit six doubles and a home run, adding 16 RBI’s and 17 walks in 35 games.

2017 Season Preview: Big Ten Conference

With the college baseball season less than two weeks away, it’s time to look forward to the Big Ten season. The Minnesota Golden Gophers finished with the best regular season conference record, but it was the Ohio State Buckeyes who took home the Big Ten Tournament crown.

The Terps finished sixth in the Big Ten, clinching a spot in the Big Ten Tournament on the final day of the season. Maryland then upset No. 3-seed Indiana twice in the Big Ten Tournament, ultimately reaching the semi-finals before falling to Iowa. Despite the strong finish, the Terps missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. Now, with a wide open conference in 2017, Maryland is the consensus favorite according to both D1Baseball.com and PerfectGame.

Projected Big Ten Finish is displayed as D1 Baseball’s projection followed by Perfect Game’s projection. Teams are ordered according to their projected finish. 


1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo

Maryland

Projected Big Ten Finish: 1st/1st

2016 Record: 30-27 (13-11 B1G)

Key Players Lost: RHP Mike Shawaryn, OF Anthony Papio

Key Returning Players: SS Kevin Smith, 2B Nick Dunn

Despite the loss of Papio, the Terps’ lineup comes back for the 2017 revamped and ready to get back to the postseason. John Szefc’s team returns possibly the best middle infield in the country — Kevin Smith and Nick Dunn — to go along with 2016’s freshman sensation Marty Costes in the middle of the order. On the pitching side, Maryland will be without last year’s ace Mike Shawaryn, but a weekend rotation of Brian Shaffer, Taylor Bloom, and Hunter Parsons should be able to fill in nicely. They will also be able to hand the ball off to a nasty back end of the bullpen, which sports a good combination of power (Mike Rescigno) and finesse (Ryan Selmer).


Nebraska logo

Nebraska

Projected Big Ten Finish: 3rd/2nd

2016 Record: 37-22 (16-8 B1G)

Key Players Lost: INF Jake Placzek, INF Steven Reveles

Key Returning Players: OF/LHP Jake Meyers, OF Scott Schreiber

2016 Maryland vs. Nebraska: Did not play

2017 Maryland vs. Nebraska: April 7-9 @ Nebraska

Behind Maryland, Nebraska may be the top contender for the Big Ten title in 2017. The Huskers bring back most of a roster that finished second in the conference in 2016, including two-way star Jake Meyers, who hit .326 at the plate and posted a 1.42 ERA on the mound. Joining Meyers in the lineup again this season is Scott Schreiber, who led the conference in slugging percentage and home runs last season. If Nebraska stays healthy, they can be part of an exciting two-horse race for the top spot in the Big Ten.


Michigan

Michigan

Projected Big Ten Finish: 2nd/4th

2016 Record: 36-21 (13-10 B1G)

Key Players Lost: OF Cody Bruder, DH/LHP Carmen Benedetti

Key Returning Players: INF Jake Bivens, LHP Oliver Jaskie

2016 Maryland vs. Michigan: Did not play

2017 Maryland vs. Michigan: March 24-26 @ Maryland

Michigan finished second in batting average and first in on-base percentage in 2016, but the big bats in that powerful offense will not be back in 2017. The Wolverines will be without their entire starting outfield from last season, which included .372 hitter Cody Bruder, .326 hitter Carmen Benedetti, and .298 hitter Matt Ramsay. Along with the lineup turnover, Michigan  is also losing ace Brett Adcock, who allowed opposing hitters to bat only .190 last season. Junior Oliver Jaskie willl have to step up on the mound while junior Jake Bivens will need to pick shoulder the offensive load for the Wolverines in 2017.


Indiana_Hoosiers_Logo.svgIndiana

Projected Big Ten Finish: 4th/3rd

2016 Record: 32-24 (15-9 B1G)

Key Players Lost: LHP Caleb Baragar, LHP Kyle Hart

Key Returning Players: OF Craig Dedelow, OF Logan Sowers

2016 Maryland vs. Indiana: 2-0 in Big Ten Tournament

2017 Maryland vs. Indiana: April 28-30 @ Indiana

The 2017 Indiana Hoosiers will bring back almost their entire lineup from 2016. Freshman all-american Luke Miller returns after hitting .282 last season, and will be joined again by outfielders Craig Dedelow and Logan Sowers, who both project to be important contributors in 2017. The issue for Indiana this season will be the pitching staff, which lost its entire weekend rotation and its best reliever from last season. In 2017, the Hoosiers will have to rely on less experienced starters like sophomore Jonathan Stiever for help on the mound.


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Michigan State

Projected Big Ten Finish: 5th/5th

2016 Record: 36-20 (13-11 B1G)

Key Players Lost: IF Jordan Zimmerman, LHP Cam Vieaux

Key Returning Players: 2B Dan Durkin, RHP Ethan Landon

2016 Maryland vs. Michigan State: 2-2 (0-1 in Big Ten Tournament)

2017 Maryland vs. Michigan State: April 21-23 @ Maryland

Michigan State had the best pitching staff ERA in the Big Ten in 2016, but they will be without 2016’s best two performers on the mound in 2017. Cam Vieaux posted the second-best ERA in the conference, while his teammate Dakota Mekkes pitched to a conference-best ERA out of the bullpen. However, the Spartans will return the rest of a staff that allowed a conference-low 19 home runs last season. On offense, Michigan State will be without Jordan Zimmerman, who batted .374 in 2016, but will still bring back a good lineup that can compete in the conference.


ohio-state

Ohio State

Projected Big Ten Finish: 7th/6th

2016 Record: 44-20 (15-9 B1G)

Key Players Lost: INF Nick Sergakis, OF Ronnie Dawson

Key Returning Players: C/INF Jalen Washington, RHP Seth Kinker

2016 Maryland vs. Ohio State: 3-0

2017 Maryland vs. Ohio State: Not scheduled

Of all of the Big Ten teams, Ohio State may be taking the biggest hit this season. The Buckeyes are losing six of their regular position players from last year’s team, including Nick Sergakis and Ronnie Dawson, who both hit over .330 in 2016. As for the rotation, the Buckeyes will be without their top two starting pitchers from last season, including first-team All-Big Ten selection Tanner Tully. Ohio State does have plenty of freshman coming in who could step into starting roles, but they will be have to prove themselves before the Buckeyes can be considered a true conference contender.


Illinois_Block_I

Illinois

Projected Big Ten Finish: 8th/7th

2016 Record: 28-23 (12-12 B1G) 

Key Players Lost: RHP Cody Sedlock, C Jason Goldstein

Key Returning Players: 1B/OF Pat McInerney, RHP Cole Bellair

2016 Maryland vs. Illinois: 1-2

2017 Maryland vs. Illinois: May 5-7 @ Illinois

After a mediocre 12-12 Big Ten performance last season, Illinois is losing its two most productive players from 2016. Starting pitcher Cody Sedlock moved on to the pros after posting a 2.49 ERA and collecting the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year award last season, while catcher Jason Goldstein was also drafted after a season in which he led the Fighting Illini in batting average and on-base percentage. The Illini will, however, bring back most of the rest of their roster, including 1B/DH Pat McInerney, who slashed .301/.373/.456 last season.


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Minnesota

Projected Big Ten Finish: 6th/9th

2016 Record: 36-21 (16-7 B1G)

Key Players Lost: OF/RHP Matt Fiedler, C Austin Athmann

Key Returning Players: RHP Toby Anderson, INF Micah Coffey

2016 Maryland vs. Minnesota: 1-2

2017 Maryland vs. Minnesota: Not scheduled

After winning the Big Ten regular season title and making the NCAA Tournament in 2016, Minnesota projects to take a substantial step back in 2017. The Golden Gophers are losing four of their top five hitters from last season, including Matt Fiedler, who hit .372 with eight home runs and made 15 starts on the mound. The roster turnover for Minnesota continues into the pitching staff, where they have lost 2016 staff ace Dalton Sawyer and closer Jordan Jess. The Gophers now have seven new true freshman on the roster who may need to step up to keep Minnesota competitive in 2017.


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Iowa

Projected Big Ten Finish: 9th/8th

2016 Record: 30-26 (12-12 B1G)

Key Players Lost: OF Joel Booker, SS Nick Roscetti

Key Returning Players: RHP Nick Gallagher, INF Mason McCoy

2016 Maryland vs. Iowa: 1-3 (0-1 in Big Ten Tournament)

2017 Maryland vs. Iowa: Not scheduled

The middle of the Iowa batting order will look much different in 2017. Its top three hitters, including Big Ten hits leader Joel Booker, have all since graduated and will need to be replaced. Possible early lineup struggles will need to be picked up by a pitching rotation that returns its anchor, Nick Gallagher, in 2017. Gallagher pitched to a 2.57 ERA last season and will be the key piece this season if Iowa wants to make a run back to the Big Ten Championship Game.


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Penn State

Projected Big Ten Finish: 10th/10th

2016 Record: 28-27 (12-12 B1G)

Key Players Lost: 3B Jim Haley, RHP Jack Anderson

Key Returning Players: OF Nick Riotto, RHP Justin Hagenman

2016 Maryland vs. Penn State: 2-1

2017 Maryland vs. Penn State: April 14-16 @ Maryland

Coming off a season in which they were almost perfectly average, the Nittany Lions may be looking at a losing season in 2017. Penn State is losing its three most productive hitters from 2016, including Jim Haley, who hit .315 last season. The Nittany Lions will also feel the losses on the mound, where they will be without their top two starting pitchers last season. Penn State will also miss its 2016 closer Jack Anderson, who’s submarine delivery helped him pick up 13 saves last season. Baseball could make for a not-so-happy Valley in 2017.


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Rutgers

Projected Big Ten Finish: 11th/11th

2016 Record: 27-28 (9-15 B1G)

Key Players Lost: C R.J. Devish, LHP Howie Brey

Key Returning Players: OF Jawuan Harris, OF Tom Marcinczyk

2016 Maryland vs. Rutgers: 1-2

2017 Maryland vs. Rutgers: March 31-April 2 @ Rutgers

Rutgers struggled in 2016, and it won’t get any easier this season. The Scarlet Knights have lost R.J. Devish, who was the conference leader in batting average (.375) and on-base percentage (.524) last season, and Howie Brey, who posted a 3.50 ERA in 14 starts. Despite Rutgers’ struggles last season, they did lead the conference with 121 stolen bases, and outfielder Juwuan Harris picked up a conference-best 37 of them. The Scarlet Knights will have to continue to run if they want to improve in 2017.


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Northwestern

Projected Big Ten Finish: 12th/12th

2016 Record: 15-39 (7-17 B1G)

Key Players Lost: LHP Reed Mason, 1B/OF Zach Jones

Key Returning Players: OF/LHP Matt Hopfner, 3B Connor Lind

2016 Maryland vs. Northwestern: Did not play

2017 Maryland vs. Northwestern: May 12-14 @ Maryland

Northwestern struggled in conference play last season, but they will return most of their offense, and those hitters will have had another offseason to get better. The most important returning hitter is Matt Hopfner, who hit .355 in 2016. On the pitching side, however, things are looking bleak at Northwestern. The Wildcats finished last in the Big Ten in ERA and batting average against last season, and they have since lost their only viable starting pitcher, Reed Mason. It will be tough for Northwestern to get outs in 2017.


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Purdue

Projected Big Ten Finish: 13th/13th

2016 Record: 10-44 (2-22 B1G)

Key Players Lost: OF Kyle Johnson, RHP Matt Frawley

Key Returning Players: C Nick Dalesandro, RHP Tanner Andrews

2016 Maryland vs. Purdue: 2-1

2017 Maryland vs. Purdue: Not scheduled

Coming off of a putrid 2-22 conference record in 2016, Purdue comes into this season with a lot of roster turnover. The Boilermakers will be without last season’s top hitter, Kyle Johnson, who batted .318, and top pitcher, Matt Frawley, who posted a 2.78 ERA. Sporting the second-worst pitching staff and worst offense in the Big Ten in 2016, the Boilermakers have nowhere to go but up.