Terps the 4-seed, will take on Michigan State in First Round of Big Ten Tournament

Maryland earned the four seed in the 2015 Big Ten Baseball Tournament and will take on ffifth-seeded Michigan State in the opening round Wednesday night at 10pm ET. The Terrapins and Spartans have not played in 2015. Maryland will then play the winner or loser of Illinois and Nebraska on Thursday.

Michigan StateThe Terps finished the regular season 36-20, and 14-10 in Big Ten play. The 14-10 conference record puts them in a three-way tie with Michigan and Michigan State. Due to head-to-head tiebreakers, Michigan earned the three seed, Maryland the four, and Michigan State the five.

Maryland will play the winner or loser of top-seeded Illinois and eighth-seeded Nebraska in the second round on Thursday. If the Terps beat Michigan State, they will play at 10 pm ET again on Thursday. If they lose, they will play an elimination game at 2pm ET.

The Big Ten Tournament is a double-elimination event. Teams will play anywhere from two to six games in a five-day span.

MBN will be live all tournament long from Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Continue to check back for all the latest.

Full Big Ten Tournament Schedule:

Wednesday, May 20

10am ET – No. 3 Michigan (14-10) vs. No. 6 Indiana (12-10)

2pm ET – No. 2 Iowa (19-5) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (13-11)

6pm ET – No. 1 Illinois (21-1) vs. No. 8 Nebraska (9-14)

10pm ET – No. 5 Maryland (14-10) vs. No. 5 Michigan State (14-10)

Thursday, May 21

10am ET – Loser of MICH/IND vs. Loser of IOWA/OSU

2pm ET – Loser of ILL/NEB vs. Loser of MD/MSU

6pm ET – Winner of MICH/IND vs. Winner of IOWA/OSU

10pm ET – Winner of ILL/NEB vs. Winner of MD/MSU

Friday, May 22

4:30pm ET – Elimination Game

8:30pm ET – Elimination Game (if 1-1, Maryland will play in this one)

Saturday, May 23

10am and 2pm ET – Semifinal games

6pm and 10pm ET – If necessary games

Sunday, May 23

2pm ET – Championship Game

Memorial Day – Monday, May 24

NCAA Tournament Selection Show – Noon, ESPNU

Series Preview: Northwestern (16-35)

At 35-18 (13-8), the Terrapins have already set a new regular season record for wins, with three games remaining, are tied for third in conference as they prepare to take on the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston, Ill.

Despite dropping a mid-week game to Liberty, the Terps find themselves in a good position to make the postseason, and have all but locked up a top-4 seed in the Big Ten tournament after taking two of three from Ohio State last weekend.

While the offense struggled for much of the game Tuesday, the Terps bats exploded over the weekend, tallying 39 runs in three games. Of the 39 runs, 20 were driven in with two outs. Each member of the starting lineup had at least one RBI.

LaMonte Wade has been on fire recently (Photo: Alexander Jonesi)
LaMonte Wade has been on fire recently
(Photo: Alexander Jonesi)

LaMonte Wade, sitting atop the lineup, is swinging the hottest bat. In his past five games, Wade is batting .524 with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

The Wildcats are almost polar opposite of the Terps. With a 16-35 (6-15) record, Northwestern lays claim to the basement of the Big Ten Conference. In their last 10 games, they are 2-8 and have been outscored by opponents 62-26.

The pitching has been the biggest weakness, as all three starters have ERAs over 4.00, with the team average at 5.72. Opponents are hitting .312 against the Wildcats.

Additionally, the team has been without their best hitter, fifth-year senior center fielder Kyle Ruchim, for a few weeks due to injury. Ruchim was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals last season but elected to return and was suspended for the first six games due to an NCAA violation.

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Northwestern’s new and improved Rocky MIller Park. (Courtesy of NU Sports)

This season, he leads the team in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored and home runs, but has yet to play this month due to an oblique injury.

Some of the Wildcats struggles can also be attributed to playing in unfamiliar places. The team unveiled a new stadium—Rocky Miller Park—this season on April 21, when they beat Milwaukee 9-5. Prior to that game, their “home opener,” the Wildcats had played 37 straight road games. They play 14 of their last 17 at home—including their series with the Terps, going 4-7 so far in their new ballpark.

The first ever meeting between these two teams will also be the last for Northwestern Head Coach Paul Stevens, as he is set to retire after leading the program for 27 years.

THURSDAY AT 4:00 ET

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (11-1, 1.71) vs. Sr. RHP Brandon Magallones (3-5, 6.21)

702981 Shawaryn HS vs.NU Headshots October 23, 2013 in Evanston, Ill. Northwestern_logo_x200

In his final regular season start of 2015, the Terps ace will attempt to break his own single-season record for wins, as he goes for number 12. Shawaryn tied his record last week in a 13-4 win over Ohio State. The sophomore pitched seven innings of one-run ball and struck out eight.

Despite having the most strikeouts on the pitching staff (60), Magallones hasn’t fared well this season. Opposing batters are hitting a whopping .335 against the senior—a big reason why his 6.21 ERA is his highest in four years of collegiate baseball. In his last outing, Magallones gave up five runs in five innings en route to a loss to Michigan.

FRIDAY AT 4:00 ET

TBD vs. Jr. LHP Matt Portland (2-6, 4.28)

702981  vs. NU Headshots Oct 10, 2012 in Evanston, Ill. Northwestern_logo_x200

Last week, it was Rob Galligan who took the mound for the Terps in the second game of the series. But, the Syosset, NY, native gave up five runs in three innings, and then gave up one run in 1.1 innings Tuesday. It looks like coaches John Szefc and Jim Belanger will give someone else a chance come Friday.

Matt Portland has been the most reliable starter for the Wildcats, despite a personal record below .500. The lefty has the most innings on the staff with 82.0, and threw a complete-game shutout against Nebraska back on May 2, striking out eight in the effort. In his last start, Portland gave up six runs in four innings to the Wolverines, recording a no-decision in the 9-8 win.

SUNDAY AT 2:00 ET

Fr. RHP Brian Shaffer (4-0, 4.97) vs. Jr. LHP Reed Mason (2-9, 5.72)

702981 Shaffer vs. NU Headshots Oct 10, 2012 in Evanston, Ill. Northwestern_logo_x200

Brian Shaffer will make his eighth start for the Terps in the regular season finale. He struggled last week against Ohio State, giving up four runs in five innings. However, in his two previous appearances, Shaffer turned in quality starts, throwing a combined 10 innings against Delaware and Towson, striking out 12 and giving up just two runs.

Mason has the most losses of any Wildcats pitcher, including last week against Michigan, when the lefty gave up five runs (three earned) in five innings. After Mason left the game, the Wolverines poured it on and went on win 19-1. Mason has given up 89 hits in 67.2 innings, good for a .316 opponent’s batting average. All three Wildcat starters have opponent’s batting averages over .300.

You can catch all three games this weekend on BTN2Go.

Series Preview: Ohio State (33-13)

This is by far the most important series of the year.

Maryland’s postseason fate relies heavily on what happens this weekend in Columbus. 33 at-large bids are available for the NCAA Tournament, and the Terps are sitting at No. 51 in RPI and No. 28 in the rankings. Excluding the Big Ten Championships, the Buckeyes are the best team left on the Terps’ schedule and are considered a likely postseason team.

IMG_1554Both teams were swept on their home fields last weekend, so you have to think motivation will be at an all-time high for both clubs. The Buckeyes lost all three games to No. 7 Illinois, while the Terps were swept by Indiana.

Ohio State has a rock solid weekend rotation and one of the best closers in the Big Ten. Like Kevin Mooney, Trace Dempsey leads his school in all-time saves, having racked up 36 in his career. This year he ranks fourth in the Big Ten in saves (7), second in wins (9) and tied for first in games finished (21). All the wins are a byproduct of Ohio State’s seven walk-off victories this season. They are 17-7 at home.

The Buckeyes rank in the top half in just about every offensive category, and lead the league in stolen bases (71). This is in large part due to Troy Montgomery, who leads the Big Ten with 29 thefts. Montgomery is having a breakout season. He’s batting .310 while slugging .497 and ranks fourth the conference with 46 runs scored.

Pat Porter and Ronnie Dawson lead the power charge for Ohio State. Both have seven home runs and over 30 RBIs this season. Porter ranks top 10 in five offensive categories.

FRIDAY AT 6:35

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (10-1, 1.74) vs. So. LHP Tanner Tully (4-3, 3.58)

702981 Shawaryn HS vs.  OSU

The Terps’ ace is making his second attempt to tie his own single-season wins record from last season. He suffered his first loss of the year last Friday against Indiana, surrendering five runs for just the second time all season.

Like Shawaryn, Tanner Tully is a reigning Freshman All-American. The southpaw finished second in the nation with a 0.68 BB/9 mark, going 6-3 with a 2.22 ERA. He is coming off his worst outing of the year, an eight run shellacking at the hands of No. 7 Illinois.

SATURDAY AT 3:05

R-Jr. LHP Rob Galligan (2-3, 2.27) vs. So. RHP Travis Lakins (3-3, 3.55)

702981 rob galligan vs.  OSU

Galligan is making his third start of his career Saturday in Columbus. The lefty has had one excellent outing and one difficult one. He gutted his way into the fifth against Indiana, but took the loss in what became a 13-2 Terrapin defeat, their largest loss of the year.

Lakins is sophomore who posted a 2.45 ERA out of the bullpen last year and is having a fine sophomore season as a full-time starter. Lakins was an outstanding two-way player in high school in Ohio, and has a good chance to lead the Buckeyes in strikeouts for the second straight year.

SUNDAY AT 1:05

Fr. RHP Brian Shaffer (4-0, 4.97) vs. Sr. LHP Ryan Riga (5-3, 2.30)

702981 Shaffer vs.  OSU

Brian Shaffer will be pitching on three days rest on Sunday after beating Towson over five innings of work on Wednesday. Shaffer has been terrific as the midweek starter, having only allowed three runs over his last 22 innings in that role. Sunday will be his third weekend start of the season, and his first since March 1.

Riga is also looking to bounce back from a tough start against Illinois, when he allowed six runs to allow the Buckeyes to get swept. The senior has the best ERA of all the Ohio State starters, and has tossed over 260 innings in his college career.

Weekend Preview: Indiana (23-19)

The Hoosiers are coming off two of their best seasons in school history, but are transitioning to a new coaching staff in 2015 – a transition that has not gone all that well. After reaching the College World Series for the first time in school history in 2013, Indiana earned a No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament last year, losing in the Regional final to Stanford. Despite returning five of their nine starters from last year, the Hoosiers are only 23-19 this year and on the verge of missing the Big Ten tournament.

Indiana logo

This year’s Hoosiers squad ranks eighth in the Big Ten hitting (.271) and sixth in pitching (3.45). Offensively, they are led by fifth year senior Scott Donley. Donley is a two-time First Team All-Big Ten performer and has been a big-time run producer over his three years with Indiana. He’s a career .342 hitter.

Outside of Donley, the Hoosiers use a balanced attack. Seven of their starters are batting at least .266. While they aren’t a power-hitting team, they are in the top half of the league in slugging (.381) and have hit a fair amount of home runs (22).

Statistically, their weakness is fielding, where they rank tenth in the league.

However, the pitching staff is solid. They recently got back long-time starter Kyle Hart from Tommy John surgery and return some experienced and effective relievers. Indiana has four reliable relief options in Ryan Halstead (3.03), Scott Effross (2.95), Evan Bell (3.02) and Thomas Belcher (2.75), any of whom could start Sunday’s game.

Pitching Matchups:

FRIDAY AT 6:30 PM

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (10-0, 1.52) vs. R-So. RHP Jake Kelzer (3-3, 3.04)

702981 Shawaryn HS vs. Kelzer Indiana logo

Shawaryn is looking to maintain his torrid streak on the mound. The righty is pitching the best baseball of his life and is making a claim to be the best pitcher in the nation. He enters Friday’s start on a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings and is running away with the strikeout crown in the Big Ten. Shawaryn is one of only two pitchers in the country with double-digit wins and looks to tie his own single-season wins record tonight.

Kezler is an interesting story because his was a rare two-sport college athlete. While redshirting from baseball in 2013, Kelzer was a key piece on Indiana’s swim team. A freestyle sprinter, Kelzer posted very competitive times in the Big Ten Championships but has since made the move to playing baseball exclusively. He was drafted by the Yankees as a draft-eligible redshirt freshman last year, when he struck out 44 batters in 31.2 innings. Kelzer also lettered in football in high school, which is less surprising than his swimming accolades, considering that Kelzer is 6-foot-8, 230 pounds.

SATURDAY AT 2 PM

R-Jr. Rob Galligan (2-2, 1.53) vs. R-Jr. LHP Kyle Hart (1-0, 2.16)

702981 rob galligan vs. Hart Indiana logo

Galligan’s first career start was a ringing success. How does a career-high 10 strikeouts over a career-high seven innings sound? He held the Boilermakers to just five hits and got the all-important win. He’ll follow up the career day against a tougher Indiana lineup Saturday.

Hart is one of the most accomplished pitchers in Indiana history but is coming back from Tommy John surgery. The redshirt junior underwent surgery after throwing 35 innings last year. Saturday will be Hart’s fourth start since returning. He’s done well so far – 13 strikeouts and one walk in eight innings, but he will likely only throw a few innings against Maryland. In his career, Hart is 17-8 with a 2.94 ERA over 211 innings.

SUNDAY AT 11 AM

Jr. LHP Jake Drossner (0-1, 3.41) vs. TBD

702981 Drossner HS vs. Indiana logo

Drossner will make his third Sunday start of the year in morning finale against Indiana. Drossner followed up a career day against Cal State Fullerton with a so-so outing at Purdue. He only allowed one earned run but failed to get through the fifth inning. Sunday’s start will be a telling test heading into the all-important Ohio State series next weekend.

Midweek Series Preview: Delaware (18-15, 7-8)

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The 20th-ranked Terps (30-13, 11-4) begin a home-and-home series with local rival Delaware on Tuesday – a series that will continue in Newark, Del. on Wednesday. The Blue Hens (18-15, 7-8), currently sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association, are coming off a weekend sweep of William & Mary after losing three out of their four prior games. Maryland, meanwhile, are also in the midst of a three-game win streak after sweeping Purdue over the weekend.

Terp fans might remember Blue Hen senior Greg Olenski, who transferred from Maryland after the 2013 season. Despite playing in just 23 games this year, the designated hitter is hitting a scorching .431 with .692 slugging and .519 on-base percentages – all marks that lead the team. Over his three years in College Park, Olenski played in 41 games, mostly as a designated hitter or pinch-hitter, with a .338 batting average.

Delaware’s other big bats are centerfielder Joe Giacchino, second baseman Zach Lopes, third baseman Diaz Nardo and right fielder Norm Donkin. Lopes and Giacchino are both hitting over .300 (.353 and .322, respectively) and are tied for the team-lead in hits (48). Nardo, meanwhile, leads the Blue Hens in RBI (28) with four homers thrown in. Donkin is tied with Lopes for the team-lead in runs scored (30) while stealing a team-high 11 bases this season.

First pitch for today’s game at Shipley Field in College Park is scheduled for 4 p.m. MBN will have the call, which you can listen to here, starting at 3:45.

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS

Tuesday, 4 p.m. in College Park, Md.

  RHP Brian Shaffer Shaffervs. TBD

Both teams have taken a committee approach to their midweek starters, trying out a variety of pitchers to see which ones strive in the role. Freshman Brian Shaffer has five starts on the year with a 5.17 ERA and a 2-0 record. The Terps’ right-hander, who threw six innings of one-run ball a week ago at VCU, will presumably get the nod from pitching coach Jim Belanger this time around.

As for the Blue Hens, they’re more unstable with their midweek starting pitching than Maryland. They’ve had five different pitchers make spot-starts outside of their weekend rotation, making their probables for this home-and-home series tough to predict. Despite compiling just 9.2 innings, freshman Colman Villa has started two games for Delaware this year, sporting a 3.72 ERA. Meanwhile left-handed sophomore Kevin Milley also has two starts on the season with a 4.84 ERA. Freshman Matt Hornich has three starts, but his ERA stands at 12.96 over just 8.1 innings.

Wednesday, 3 p.m. in Newark, Del.

RHP Taylor Bloom FYHGEGYEOQNHGHJ.20140924214857 vs. TBD

On Wednesday, we could see right-hander Taylor Bloom take the mound for the Terps. The freshman took a loss in his first career start last week against VCU, going four innings and allowing just two runs. Bloom has appeared out of the bullpen in nine other games this season with a 5.14 ERA.

Series Preview: Purdue…and how to follow

The 20th ranked Maryland Terrapins (27-13, 8-4) will look to stop their three game slide as they travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to face the Purdue Boilermakers (13-28, 1-11) who find themselves dead last in the Big Ten conference standings. While Maryland Baseball Network will not be making the trip to Purdue, here is how you can keep up with your Terps.

Watch (Games 1&2): BTN2go ($)
Listen: Purdue radio broadcast
Follow: MBN on twitter (@mdbaseballnet)

Game 1, Friday 4pm

Brett Haan (RHP) brett haan Purdue logo vs. testudo logoShawaryn HS  Mike Shawaryn (RHP) 

Mike Shawaryn looks to improve on his nation leading nine wins this season as he goes up against veteran right hander Brett Haan. With a victory, Shawaryn would become the winningest pitcher in Maryland history. The sophomore right hander has been brilliant all season. He ranks first in the Big Ten in wins, fourth in ERA (1.67), and first in strikeouts, by a margin of 20.

Haan is just 1-7 on the season with a 6.61 ERA. Like Shawaryn he is making his 11th start of the season, however he has only pitched 47 2/3 innings. His batting average against is .343, so clearly a guy who pitches to contact. Last season Haan began in the bullpen, but was moved into the Sunday starter’s spot for the final five series of the regular season.

 

Game 2, Friday, first pitch 30 minutes after the conclusion of game 1

 Matt Frawley (RHP)  matt frawley Purdue logo  vs. testudo logo rob galligan Rob Galligan (LHP)

After taking over for the injured Tayler Stiles last Saturday, Rob Galligan has earned himself another go. Galligan was thrust into the toughest mental situation the Terps have faced this season, and stepped up to the challenge, earning his first win of the season. The left hander went six strong, allowing just one earned run, and striking out six. This season he boasts an ERA of 1.27 in 14 relief appearances.

Matt Frawley makes his 11th start of the season for Purdue. He is 1-7 on the year with a 4.91 ERA. The sophomore has struck out 24 and walked 16 over 47 2/3 innings pitched. In his start last week against Michigan, he allowed three earned over five innings, giving up five extra base hits.

 

 

Game 3, Sunday at noon 

Gavin Downs (RHP) gavin downs Purdue logo    vs.  testudo logo Drossner HS Jake Drossner (LHP)

After a tumultuous season, Jake Drossner finds himself back in the weekend rotation. After experiments with Ruse, Rios, and Mooney in the Sunday slot all returned less than favorable results, Drossner seemed to discover his command at just the right time. Last Sunday against Cal State Fullerton the junior tossed eight innings of scoreless ball, striking out six. Perhaps most notably, Drossner walked just one, a sign that the lefty who had struggled to get through four innings earlier this season has returned to form.

Gavin Downs will make his ninth start of the season. He is tied for the team lead with 19 appearances this spring. In 40 innings worked, the junior right hander has allowed 47 hits and 30 earned runs, including five opponent big flies.  However, he does have four of Purdue’s 13 wins on the season, which leads the team.

 

 

Boilermakers to watch:

 Kyle Wood

The redshirt junior from Orland Park, Illinois leads Purdue in nearly offensive category. He is batting .342 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI. He is also slugging .507, over a hundred points higher than any other starter. Wood is the prototypical power hitting first baseman, batting third in the Purdue lineup, and once in a while will make an appearance out of the bullpen as well.

 

Joe Eichmann

The senior right hander has been the best reliever out of the Boilermaker pen this season. The 6’4 Eichmann has made a team high 19 appearances, striking out 17 in 25 2/3 innings. His ERA of 3.16 is second best on the Boilermaker squad to Mike Kornacker, Purdue’s more reliable mid-week starter.

Weekend Series Preview: Cal State Fullerton (19-16, 6-3)

The Cal State Fullerton Titans make the trip to College Park for the first time in program history. While the Titans are known for dominating collegiate baseball, they’ve regressed this season and have struggled, and are in danger of not making the postseason for the first time in 23 years.

The Titans lost four of their first five games, but bounced back with eight straight wins, featuring sweeps of Baylor and Texas Tech, until they were swept themselves by Indiana. In late March, the Titans split a midweek series with Nebraska, bringing thei record against the Big Ten to 1-4 on the season.

However, despite their down year, the Titans still find themselves in second place in the Big West, trailing only UC Irvine, who they play next week.

Much of the struggle for Cal St. can be attributed to the offense. As a team, they’ve hit just .259, with a strikeout to walk ratio of 282 : 147. They’re lacking power as well, as the Titans have sent only 11 balls over the fence.

David Olmero-Barrera has one bright spot in the lineup. The junior from La Canada, CA, has hit .302 with four home runs, one shy of the Josh Estill’s team lead. Omlero-Barrera leads the team in RBI’s, with 27, and has hit five triples as well.

The Terps scored three runs in the ninth inning to top Liberty 6-4 in a midweek matchup. Last weekend, the Terps came out on the short end of a 2-1 loss to Big Ten Conference leading Iowa to drop their second Big Ten series of the season.

Brandon Lowe continues to swing the hottest bat in the conference. The second baseman has started all 35 of the Terps games and leads the team in hits (50), home runs (9), slugging percentage (.674) and walks (26). He’s also tied for the team lead in batting average with LaMonte Wade (.370), who returned last weekend from a hand injury.

STARTING PITCHING MATCHUPS

FRI AT 7 PM

702981 Shawaryn HS vs.  bvm7zefdo8l634kt images

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (8-0, 1.89) vs. Jr. RHP Thomas Eshelman (3-4, 2.34)

Eight starts. Eight wins. Hard to say much more about Mike Shawaryn. The right-hander cruised to his eighth victory of the season against Iowa last Friday, throwing a season-high 128 pitches over eight innings, striking out nine. He continues to lead the Big Ten in both wins (8) and strikeouts (69). The Shawaryn’s 19 career wins are the most by any sophomore in the country, and, with a win tonight, Shawaryn would move into a tie the school record of career wins with John Rayne.

His last time out, Eshelman took a tough loss, as the Titans fell to UC Davis 3-2. The junior tossed eight innings, yielding three runs and striking out two. Eshelman, a native of Carlsbad, CA, has lasted at least six innings in each of his nine starts this season, throwing one complete game shutout against Texas Tech on March 6. He also leads the team in strikeouts, with 61.

SAT AT 2 PM

702981 Stiles HS vs. coowbhsdjqnkp4tdimages 

So. LHP Tayler Stiles (3-3, 3.23) vs. Jr. RHP Justin Garza (3-2, 3.00)

Stiles has cemented himself as the Saturday starter for John Szefc’s squad, despite losing his last start. The sophomore gave up two runs in six innings last Saturday to the Hawkeyes, striking out four. In his last two starts, the sophomore has struck out 12 and has an ERA of 2.30.

Garza was shaky in his last start, giving up five runs in five innings against UC Davis last Saturday. However, the junior got the win due to some offensive help—as the Titans went on to win 10-6. Garza, a native of Ontario, CA, is one of the shorter members of the team at 5′ 11″, and the shortest pitcher.

SUN AT 1 PM

702981  vs.6j1nms8o4qy8mymz images

TBD vs. Fr. LHP Josh Gavin (5-1, 4.53)

Coaches John Szefc and Jim Belanger have yet to find a consistent third starter for the Terps. Kevin Mooney got the ball last week in his third start of the season, but was pulled after just 1.1 IP. Willie Rios, Jake Drossner, Brian Shaffer and Bobby Ruse have had chances to cement the role as well.

Josh Gavin has been a freshman bright spot for the Titans. He was drafted 39th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers, but elected to attend college. Since then, he’s started nine games—winning 5, while striking out 32, good enough for third on the team. The southpaw has held opponents to just one run in two of his last three starts.