Series Preview: Indiana Hoosiers

Maryland (24-27, 9-11 Big Ten) swept Rutgers last weekend in College Park to move into eighth place in the conference, the last spot that qualifies for the tournament. The Terps now control their own destiny, knowing they’ll clinch a postseason opportunity if it wins all three games on the road against Indiana.

Anything short of a second straight sweep will require help to get in. MBN’s Justin Gallanty and Connor Newcomb broke down every scenario going into the final week of the regular season in the latest podcast. But simply put, Maryland likely needs to mirror whatever Michigan State does against Ohio State. Because Maryland took two of three against the Spartans, it owns a tiebreakers right now despite having the same exact conference record.

Nebraska is the only other team that has a realistic chance of catching the Terps. If Maryland only wins one game and Nebraska sweeps Illinois, then the Cornhuskers jump the Terps by half of a game. Rutgers, technically, isn’t out, but the Terps pretty much ended the Scarlet Knights’ season last weekend.

Scenarios can be described over and over but at the end of the day, Maryland doesn’t need to worry about them as long as it continues to win in Bloomington. The series will begin on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. and end Saturday, instead of the typical Friday-Sunday.

Maryland is riding a four-game winning streak, its longest in over a month. The offense took full advantage of a weak Rutgers pitching staff, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 30-10 in the three games. Nick Dunn continues to lead the Terps with a .335 average, but it was Maryland’s senior bats that stood out last weekend. Will Watson hit two home runs in one inning, Kevin Biondic’s batting average inches closer to .300, Zach Jancarski made two more highlight-reel catches and Justin Morris provided a much-needed boost at first base and at the bottom of the order.

While the Terps might be playing their best baseball at the right time, the Hoosiers have lost five of their last eight games. Indiana was the only Big Ten team ranked to begin the season, tabbed as the favorite to win the conference. However, the Hoosiers head into the final weekend ranked sixth in the Big Ten, and no longer included in the national top-25 polls.

Indiana (34-15, 11-9) has been average on the road with a 10-9 record, but 18-5 in Bloomington. The Hoosiers are 6-0 against Maryland during the regular season since the Terps joined the Big Ten, but 0-3 in the postseason. Indiana swept Maryland in Bloomington last season.

Indiana hits .287 as a team — third in the conference — with four starters batting above .300 and seven players with at least six home runs. Sophomore infielder Matt Gorski leads the team with 68 hits, 13 doubles and 19 stolen bases. Senior outfielder Logan Sowers — a 2017 Big Ten All Second Team selection — is hitting over .300 with seven home runs in the middle of Indiana’s lineup.

Juniors Matt Lloyd and Luke Miller are both hitting below .300, but each lead the team with eight home runs this season. Indiana’s 54 team home runs lead the Big Ten, but the Hoosiers also strike out the second-most times. Only Maryland has more strikeouts as a team.

Indiana’s 2.88 team ERA is the lowest in the conference. All of its most-used starters have an ERA below 4.00 and every player who has started in at least one game has an ERA below 5.00. Sophomore right-handed reliever Cal Krueger has a 3.13 ERA in a team-leading 37.1 innings out of the bullpen, while senior lefty B.J. Sabol has a 1.05 ERA and a .198 batting average against in 25 innings this season.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Thursday, 7:05 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Hunter Parsons (5-2, 3.47 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Jonathan Stiever (5-4, 2.98 ERA)

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Parsons made his first-career Friday night start last weekend and will take the ball for Game 1 against the Hoosiers. The right-hander allowed just one earned run over seven innings, walking three and striking out seven in the win against Rutgers. The late-season injuries have shifted the weekend rotation, and Parsons rose to the occasion last weekend and he’ll need a similar appearance Thursday against the Hoosiers. He’s allowed just three homers all season — the fewest among Maryland’s starters — which will come into play against a power-heavy Indiana team.

Stiever has by far pitched the most innings for the Hoosiers this season, tossing 84.2 innings in 13 starts this season. No other Hoosier has pitched more than 61 innings this year. The right-hander holds hitters to a .244 average, striking out more than one batter per inning and walking only 25. In his last start against Nebraska, he allowed five runs (three earned) in six innings. He’s conceded at least three runs in each of his last three starts, receiving a loss in all of them.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 6:05 p.m. EST

Sr. RHP Taylor Bloom (3-7, 4.92) vs. Jr. RHP Pauly Milto (6-2, 2.04 ERA)

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Bloom pitched last Saturday as he continues to work back from his concussion last month. He matched the performance of Parsons, allowing just one earned run over seven innings. He didn’t walk anyone, hit just one batter and struck out six. Bloom hasn’t had the season many expected him to have, but as someone who has pitched in big games since his freshman year, Friday’s could certainly be up there as one of the biggest and definitely one of, if not the last opportunity for the senior.

Milto has the best ERA of any Indiana starting, also holding opposing hitter’s to the lowest batting average. The junior has also only allowed one home run the entire season. His best performance came early in the season against Boston College, throwing a complete-game shutout. In his last start against Nebraska, he earned the win by allowing two runs over 6.2 innings. He walked one and struck out five.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 2:05 p.m. EST

Fr. RHP Mark DiLuia (3-4, 5.17 ERA) vs. Jr. LHP Tim Herrin (4-0, 3.00 ERA)

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After starting on several straight Fridays, DiLuia’s permanent role for the rest of the season appears to be on Sundays. With Tyler Blohm’s status looking improbable, the freshman will remain in the weekend starting rotation. He started for the first Sunday last weekend against Rutgers, tossing six solid innings. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked one and struck out four. His start may very well end up deciding whether or not the Terps will make the Big Ten Tournament.

Herrin has made a lot his early-season appearances out of the bullpen, but has transitioned into a weekend starter. He’s now made eight stands and, on the season, has an 3.00 ERA in 51.0 innings. He’s not an overpowering thrower, striking out just 29 batters this year. He earned a win in his last start against Nebraska, allowing one run on five hits while striking out three. He has yet to allow more than three runs in an appearance the entire season.

 

 

 

Series Preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Maryland baseball showed in Wednesday’s extra-inning victory over Towson that it will be fighting until the very end of the season. The Terps played from behind the entire contest, tying the game in both the eighth and ninth innings before Nick Dunn delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 10th — the first walk-off in his Maryland career.

Now, the Terps will host Rutgers this weekend in another pivotal conference series with postseason implications.

After Wednesday’s game, head coach Rob Vaughn said everyone in his dugout still believes they’re not finished just yet. With six games left in Big Ten play, the Terps are still mathematically in contention despite three teams separating them and the No. 8 seed in the tournament. The current Big Ten standings:

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Losing two of three on the road last weekend against Nebraska hurt, as it put the Cornhuskers one spot ahead of Maryland. But looking ahead to Rutgers, the Terps have a great opportunity to jump up a couple positions with a possible sweep. A positive week can keep Maryland’s hopes alive heading into the final three games of the season next week on the road against Indiana.

The Terps have won four of six games against Rutgers since joining the Big Ten, including a three-game sweep on the road last season. It was a very successful series for Maryland, which held the Scarlet Knights to just one run in each of the three games. Two seasons ago, Rutgers took two of three against the Terps in College Park.

Rutgers is trending downward as the Big Ten season progresses, and has an even more difficult road to the tournament than Maryland. The Scarlet Knights are 1-5 in conference games over the last two weeks, losing two of three to Michigan and being swept against Purdue. Like the Terps, Rutgers will be giving its all with three games on the road this weekend before hosting first-place Minnesota to end the regular season.

The Scarlet Knights are a good offensive team that is often held back by its pitching. They hit .276 as a team with three different players hitting above .301, but their two primary weekend starters haven’t been too successful, and neither have the carousel of Sunday starters they’ve employed.

Senior infielder Kyle Walker leads the team with a .310 average and a .438 on base percentage. He’s walked 23 times with just 16 strikeouts. He was one of Rutgers’ hottest hitters in the beginning of the season, hitting over .400 until April. He’s used primarily as a designated hitter, but only started once last weekend.

Junior third basemen Carmen Sclafani spent the last two games in the four-hole for Rutgers, second on the team with a .305 batting average. He’s third on the team with three home runs and has four multi-hit performances in his last 10 games. Junior Nick Matera is on the 2018 Johnny Bench Award Watch List, awarded to the best catcher in college baseball. He started in 42 of 44 games this season, leading the team with five home runs.

Rutgers’ weekend starting pitching has been suspect for much of the season, with none of their current three players with an ERA below 4.82. Senior right-hander John O’Reilly and freshman left-hander Harry Rutkowski have started every weekend for the Scarlet Knights, while right-hander Karl Blum has turned into the most recent Sunday starter as a graduate student.

The bullpen for Rutgers isn’t the strongest, but they’ve had seven different players make at least 10 appearances out of the pen. Ryan Wares and Serafino Brito have each had over 20 outings in relief duty.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 6:30 p.m. EST

Sr. RHP John O’Reilly (5-2, 5.28) vs. TBD

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Rutgers plays well with their Friday night guy on the mound, winning in nine of his 12 starts. In the middle of the season, the Scarlet Knights won six consecutive games the right-hander started in. He has a winning record this season, but it’s been more because of run support than his perforance. O’Reilly’s 5.28 ERA isn’t great, and he has allowed 87 hits and 27 walks in 73.1 innings this season. O’Reilly is a workhorse that’ll preserve the bullpen for Saturday and Sunday. He averages six innings per start and has one complete game this year. In his last start, he allowed seven earned runs in 6.1 innings against Michigan.

Maryland’s starter is TBD. Freshman right-hander Mark DiLuia has started the last three Friday nights, though.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 2:00 p.m. EST

Fr. LHP Harry Rutkowski (4-5, 4.82) vs. TBD

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In just his freshman season, Rutkowski has filled the Saturday starting role for Rutgers this season. A 28th round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school, the left-hander has had ups and downs this year. He’s conceded at least three earned runs in seven of his 12 starts and each of the last three. He had a stretch of five straight starts of at least six innings, including a season-high 8.1 innings of one-run ball against La Salle. In his last start, Rutkowski gave up five earned runs on six hits in 4.2 innings against Michigan.

Maryland’s starter is TBD. Junior right-hander Hunter Parsons, though, has started the last three Saturdays.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

TBD vs. TBD

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Both starters for Sunday are to bet determined. For the Terps, senior right-hander Taylor Bloom and sophomore left-hander Tyler Blohm have alternated Sunday starts over the last two weekends.

 

Game Preview: Towson Tigers

Maryland baseball’s chances at making the Big Ten Tournament took a big hit after losing two of three on the road against Nebraska this past weekend. Mathematically, though, there’s still a chance to sneak into the last spot with little room for error against Rutgers and Indiana.

Before then, the Terps will host Towson on Wednesday for their last midweek game of the season. Maryland has won its last seven games against the Tigers dating back to 2012, including a thrilling 6-5 victory last season at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen.

Maryland used seven different pitchers, with no one player throwing more than two innings. Ryan Hill tossed the first two scoreless frames, but then the Terps employed six more arms en route to the victory. Of those relievers, though, on John Murphy is still on the roster.

The Terps and Tigers were tied going into the bottom of the eighth, but then AJ Lee launched a solo homer to give Maryland the lead. Will Watson provided an essential insurance run with an RBI single later that inning. Towson cut its deficit to one in the top of the ninth and then loaded the bases, but former right-handed pitcher Ryan Selmer struck out a batter to end the game.

Towson (13-35, 6-12 CAA) has not been great this year, and if the Terps stay focused, it could be an opportunity to get the bats hot and keep the arms fresh before Rutgers comes to College Park this weekend. The Tigers are ranked 266th out of 297 teams in the RPI.

Towson snapped a nine-game losing streak Sunday against the College of Charleston, fending off a two-run ninth inning to win 5-3. During their last 10 games, the Tigers have been outscored 114-35. Towson is 4-8 in midweek games this season.

The Tigers have struggled to match the offense of their opponents. They score 4.7 runs per game with a .233 team batting average, while their opponents average 7.9 runs per game with a .301 average. Towson has conceded double-digit runs 16 times, and three of those occurrences have yielded over 20 runs.

Despite all the troubles, two players have been consistently good for the Towson offense: junior infielder Richie Palacios and senior infielder Billy Lennox. Nobody on the team is hitting above .259 except Palacios and Lennox, who are hitting .322 and .292, respectively.

Palacios became the first Tiger to win the CAA Rookie of the Year back in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. He hit .329 in his freshman season, .338 last year and .322 through 48 games as a junior. He has 16-multi hit games this season, leading the Tigers in runs (50), hits (57), doubles (16), home runs (8), RBIs (30), among other categories. He has 44 walks to only 15 strikeouts and is 22-for-23 on stolen bases.

Lennox played two seasons at Frederick Community College before transferring to Towson, where he hit .256 last season. He’s increased that average to .292 this season, with nine doubles and a triple. He’s one of three players on the team with at least 40 starts this season.

Towson’s pitching is a major weakness, as it has a 7.05 ERA. As a team, the Tigers have given up 493 hits and 288 walks in 407 innings pitched this season. Not one pitcher has found any success; of players with at least 10 innings this season, the lowest ERA is a 4.12.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Dean Stramara (2-1, 4.12) vs. RFr. LHP Billy Phillips (1-1, 8.47)

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 Stramara has been the best regular pitching for the Tigers, posting a 4.12 ERA in 43.2 innings this season. This will be only his third start of the season, though, and he isn’t accostumed to pitching deep into games. His season-high for innings is five, and that was back on March 14. Since then, he hasn’t pitched more than 3.2 innings and an outing, so this will likely be a bullpen-heavy game for Towson. Stramara does get into trouble, as opponents are hitting .330 against him. He conceded five runs in 3.1 innings on Saturday.

Phillips will be making his third consecutive midweek start of the season against the Tigers. He had a very successful first-career start two weeks ago, but struggled against West Virginia in his last outing. Phillips allowed eight runs in 1.1 innings, but only five were earned. In the 13 batters he faced, he allowed five hits and walked two to get knocked out early. Phillips is still working his way back in his first season pitching for the Terps, and Towson and its .233 average poses a good opportunity for him to record another successful start.

 

 

Series Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

The Maryland Terrapins will look to rebound from a tough 9-5 midweek loss to West Virginia — and continue their Big Ten momentum — when they travel to Lincoln, Nebraska to battle the Cornhuskers.

It’s a crucial series, as both teams are toward the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Maryland enters with a 5-9 conference record and Nebraska enters with a 4-9 conference record, 10th and 11th place respectively. The top eight teams in the conference earn a berth in the Big Ten tournament.

While the Cornhuskers have gone nearly two weeks without Big Ten play (they hosted Nevada in a three-game set late last week), Maryland had arguably it’s most impressive conference weekend just days ago. After losing 4-2 on Friday despite starting freshman Mark DiLuia on the mound, Maryland bounced back with a pair of convincing wins — 8-2 on Saturday and 5-3 on Sunday.

Maryland got major contributions from various offensive weapons, and will need that to continue this upcoming weekend. Nick Dunn hit a pair of homers in the Spartan series, increasing his total to a team-high 10, and a slumping Marty Costes hit a crucial go-ahead grand slam on Sunday.

It’s unsurprising that the Terps utilized the long ball to win the series, as the Terps enter the weekend tied for the third-most homers in the conference.

Although Maryland has a powerful lineup, from Nick Dunn to Randy Bednar, Nebraska boasts arguably the best power hitter in the league: Scott Schreiber. The 6-foot-3 senior outfielder is tied for first in the conference with 16 home runs. He has performed even better in Nebraska’s 13 conference games, during which he ranked first in home runs, hits, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and batting average.

With his home run in the series finale against Nevada, Schreiber moved into a tie for fifth on Nebraska’s all-time home run list.

Aside from Schreiber, the Cornhuskers’ next-biggest threat is Jesse Wilkening, the junior catcher who leads the club with 46 RBI.

Both teams will have opportunities to use the long ball weekend, as the two teams enter the weekend tied for last in the conference in earned runs (219) and home runs allowed (33).

The last time the Cornhuskers faced a Big Ten foe was the weekend of April 20, when they lost two-of-three games to Rutgers. The Saturday game in that three-game set was a dominant offensive performance for Nebraska, which racked up 12 runs and 19 hits in one of its best performances of the year. Aside from that, the offense slumped against a decent Rutgers team, scoring six runs in the other two games combined.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 7:35 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Matt Waldron (5-2, 3.88 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Mark DiLuia (1-4, 5.68 ERA)

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Waldron got off to a rough start in his last appearance, a Friday start against Nevada last week, but responded to adversity well. After back-to-back homers in the second, Waldron settled down, allowed just one more run, and struck out seven batters in six innings. He has also thrown some of his best games in Big Ten play, as he earned wins against Iowa (seven innings, three earned runs) and Rutgers (six innings, two earned runs) in his last two conference starts.

Since DiLuia took over the Friday starting role two weeks ago, the freshman has thrown two of his better games. The Illinois native still has struggled with his control, as he walked eight batters in 12.2 innings over those two starts, but he has worked into through six innings in both starts. Last weekend against the Michigan State Spartans, he threw 6.2 innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs. His 5.16 ERA in his two weekend starts has lowered his ERA from 5.92 to 5.68.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 3:05 p.m. EST

Sr. RHP Luis Alvarado (3-5, 3.19 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Hunter Parsons (4-2, 3.01 ERA)  

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Nebraska’s best starter is coming off one of his best starts last Saturday against Nevada. In the series finale against the Wolf Pack, the senior took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, and progressed through eight innings. He struck out three batters and only allowed two hits. A 13th round pick by the Seattle Mariners in the 2017 MLB Draft, Alvarado has made the most of his final season in Lincoln. The outfielder-converted-reliever-converted-starter is in the top 10 of Big Ten pitchers’ batting average against and strikeouts.

Since his rough first two starts, during which he allowed 11 earned runs in 5.2 innings, Parsons has reliably been Maryland’s best starter. Last week, he threw seven innings against the Spartans, allowing just two earned runs on five hits, and picking up his fourth win of the season. Since those first two starts, Parsons has allowed 13 earned runs in 64.2 innings, while allowing just 46 hits over that span. The junior right-hander has returned to his freshman year form and responded from a shaky sophomore campaign. With the Big Ten tournament just around the corner, it would seem that Maryland’s best chance to make the dance is to ensure it wins every one of Parsons’ outings.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 2:05 p.m. EST

TBD vs. Sr. RHP Taylor Bloom (2-6, 5.34 ERA)

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Game Preview: West Virginia Mountaineers

Maryland baseball (19-24, 5-9) kept its Big Ten Tournament hopes alive over the weekend, taking two of three games from Michigan State on the road. The Terps sit in 10th place in the conference, with Rutgers and Michigan State still in between them and an opportunity in the postseason. Now, before their next conference challenge, they’ll travel to Morgantown, West Virginia to take on the Mountaineers on Tuesday evening.

The Terps began their weekend at Michigan State poorly at the plate, recording just three hits in a 4-2 series-opening loss to the Spartans. Freshman Mark DiLuia made his second consecutive Friday night start, allowing four runs (three earned) in 6.2 innings, but the offense struggled to back him up.

Maryland responded to the tough result on Friday with two big wins to finish the weekend. Hunter Parsons and Kevin Biondic held the Spartans to just two runs on seven hits en route to an 8-2 win on Saturday. Second baseman Nick Dunn went 3-for-4 with four runs, including his ninth and tenth homers of the year. Biondic and shortstop AJ Lee also recorded multi-hit games to help even the series.

In what was perhaps a must-win game on Saturday, left-hander Tyler Blohm and left fielder Marty Costes rose to the occasion. The southpaw allowed just one earned run over six innings, while Costes hit a go-ahead grand slam and later made a diving catch to preserve the lead.

The Terps will turn their attention to West Virginia for a midweek road content. Maryland and the Mountaineers met three times last season, with the Terps taking the regular season matchup at home, while West Virginia returned the favor twice in the NCAA Winston-Salem Regional to eliminate Maryland from the tournament.

The Mountaineers (22-19, 6-9 Big 12) have taken a step back from last season and have struggled in conference play. West Virginia has won just two of its five conference series, but just took two of three from No. 19 Texas at home. The team is now 12-6 at home this season.

West Virginia’s biggest strength is its offense. The Mountaineers hit .273 as a team and average 5.7 runs per game, with three hitters — Marques Inman, Kyle Gray and Darius Hill — all hitting over .300 on the season.

Inman, a sophomore infielder, has been great after taking a medical redshirt season last year. He leads the team with a .349 average and 32 RBIs. Gray, a junior infielder, is arguably the biggest power threat for the Mountaineers. He’s hitting .333 with a team-leading nine home runs. Hill, a junior outfielder, is one of three players who has started in all 41 games, leading the team in hits. He’s also only struck out 10 times in 175 at-bats.

West Virginia’s pitching, though, has given up nearly six runs per game and its weekend pitching hasn’t been as effective as it could be.

Senior right-hander Shane Ennis has been the most-used reliever for the Mountaineers, pitching 37.2 innings in 22 appearances this season. Twenty-one of those outings have come out the bullpen. Ennis has a 3.11 ERA while holding hitters to a .265 average.

Sam Kessler and Jackson Wolf have nearly identical statistics this season, each with a .284 ERA in 19 innings. Kessler has 20 strikeouts to just eight walks, holding hitters to a .236 average, while Wolf has 17 strikeouts to 10 walks while holding opponents to a slim .209 average.

All three of West Virginia’s weekend starters have struggled at times this season, and all have ERAs above 4.00. Opponents have hit .273 against the trio of weekend starters, a main reason the Mountaineers have struggled in conference play.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. EST

TBD vs. TBA

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 Starters for both team have yet to be announced.

 

Series Preview: Michigan State Spartans

Two days after a morale-boosting 6-1 win to snap a six-game skid, the Maryland Terrapins hit the road to begin a seven-game trip away from College Park, facing the Michigan State Spartans in a three-game set.

Rob Vaughn’s Terps will look to use that “complete” victory to rejuvenate a team that has lost six straight conference games. A road series with the Spartans, however, is a tough opportunity to do so.

After starting off 0-5 in the Big Ten, Michigan State has won six straight games, including a two-game sweep of Nebraska and last weekend’s three-game sweep of Northwestern. Overall, the Spartans have won their last five contests, and nine of their last 11.

A major key for their recent success has been their pitching. Michigan State’s pitching staff ranks third in the Big Ten in runs per game, and is led by a pair of solid weekend starters. Ethan Landon, the Friday starter, has had back-to-back starts with at least six strikeouts, while Saturday starter Mason Erla has held opponents to a .216 clip on the year. As a staff, Michigan State has allowed the fewest homers in the conference.

What Michigan State lacks in firepower offensively — it ranks last in the Big Ten in home runs — it makes up for with discipline and small ball. As a team, the Spartans have struck out the second-fewest times in the conference, and have stolen the most bases, thanks in large part to Bryce Kelley, the sophomore two-way player who has swiped 24 bags.

The one batter that provides some pop to the Spartan lineup is senior Zack McGuire, the team leader in home runs (5) and RBI (21). The other catalysts of the offense include Justin Antoncic, who is hitting a team-best .308 and has an on-base percentage of over .400, and Chad Roskelly, a .300 hitter that leads the team in slugging percentage.

Roskelly enters the weekend series as one of the hottest hitters, as he is riding a 14-game hitting streak and an 18-game on-base streak.

Unlike Michigan State, Maryland utilized the long ball often over the past week, as three home runs propelled it to a midweek victory over James Madison. Nick Dunn, Will Watson, and Randy Bednar all homered, and Maryland has three player with at least five home runs. The Spartans have just one.

Another thing to watch for is Maryland right-handed pitcher Taylor Bloom, who could make a relief appearance after he missed his last two starts following an injury. He was struck by a line drive in the head before a game against Michigan earlier this month.

The Terps and the Spartans have met six times in the regular season since Maryland joined the Big Ten prior to the 2015 season. In 2016, the teams split their four meetings (one of which was in the Big Ten tournament), and last season, the Terps swept the Spartans in College Park.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 3:05 p.m. EST

RSr. RHP Ethan Landon (2-5, 3.25 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Mark DiLuia (1-3, 5.93 ERA)  

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Ethan Landon has had some tough luck on the hill, picking up a team-high five losses in his 10 starts, but the redshirt senior has still been a reliable starter for the Spartan staff. The strike-throwing right-hander has struck out 59 batters in 63.2 innings, and has recorded at least six strikeouts in each of his last two starts. Arguably his best outing came last Friday in the series opening win against Northwestern, where he threw seven innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out eight batters, one shy of a career-high.

DiLuia has made seven midweek starts so far this year, but will get his second crack at a Friday appearance as he looks to keep the Terps afloat while Bloom recovers. In his first weekend start of his career, the freshman threw 111 pitches in six innings, and allowed four runs (all earned). He did, however, struggle with his control, as he has shown erratic tendencies at times throughout the season. He walked five Purdue hitters in the start, but did a good job of escaping trouble, as only one of those baserunners scored.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 1:05 p.m. EST

RFr. RHP Mason Erla (5-2, 3.51 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Hunter Parsons (3-2, 3.06 ERA)

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Erla has arguably been Michigan State’s most dominant starter this season, and despite some control issues, has had a stellar first season as a main contributor for the Spartan weekend rotation. The righty is one week removed from a six inning outing against Northwestern, during which he allowed just one earned run. Opposing hitters have hit just .216 against Erla, the lowest for any Spartan hurler. One area in which Erla has struggled though is allowing extra base hits. 18 of the 45 hits he has allowed this year have gone for extra bases (14 doubles, four home runs).

Parsons will get the nod on Saturday for the second straight week, and he has earned it. The junior has bounced back from a rough start to the season with several incredible outings, most recently an eight inning, five-hit gem against Purdue last weekend. He allowed two runs and lowered his ERA to just over three. The junior has provided a consistent quality start for the past several weeks, and has given Maryland a strong chance to win in each of his last few starts.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 1:05 p.m. EST

TBA vs. So. LHP Tyler Blohm (4-2, 4.39 ERA)

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Blohm will make a Sunday start for the second straight week after Parsons took his spot as the Saturday starter. Still, the southpaw has been effective, and has battled through starts even when he doesn’t have his best stuff. A prime example of that was last weekend against Purdue, where he allowed eight hits and five earned runs, but still gave the Terps six innings of work. It was a pleasant bounce back appearance, as the left-hander was able to throw 100 pitches after he was removed from a game against Michigan the week earlier due to arm soreness.

Game Preview: James Madison Dukes

Two weeks ago, on April 10, the Maryland Terrapins traveled to Harrisonburg, Virginia, where they defeated the James Madison Dukes, 2-1, in a gritty 12-inning contest. The victory was the Terps’ second in three contests, and brought them to within a game of .500, at 16-17 on the season. It’s been all downhill for Maryland since then, however, as they haven’t won since, dropping six straight contests over the past two weeks.

Wednesday, the Terps (16-23, 3-8 Big Ten) look to right the ship when they host James Madison for the second part of their 2018 home-and-home set. They are coming off a rough weekend in which they lost all three contests against Purdue, the first time they were swept at home since losing three straight to Indiana in May 2015.

After losing Friday’s contest, Maryland had a chance to take the final two games of the series. The Terps carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth on Saturday, but surrendered homers in the ninth and 11th to lose. Leading 6-2 after six innings in Sunday’s contest, Maryland surrendered five runs in the seventh en route to Purdue’s sweep.

Even after breaking out for six runs Sunday, the Terps are still struggling at the plate, with a team batting average of .232 while averaging 4.4 runs per game. Nick Dunn leads the team in most offensive categories, including hitting (.344), on-base percentage (.433), slugging (.556), homers (7), RBIs (28) and runs scored (27). Zach Jancarski started to heat up over the weekend, notching an RBI double Saturday and a three-run homer Sunday. He and Dunn are tied for the team lead with 11 doubles. Kevin Biondic continues to rank second behind Dunn in average (.273), RBIs (21) and slugging (.473). This week, Maryland will benefit from the return of outfielder Marty Costes, who was suspended for the Purdue series.

In addition to his success at the plate, Biondic has been the Terps’ best reliever this season. Despite not throwing a collegiate pitch until February, the senior right-hander leads the team with an 0.87 ERA in 20.2 innings, while holding opponents to a .118 ERA. Other than Biondic, the bullpen has been shaky at best. John Murphy ranks second with a 4.29 ERA in a team-high 17 appearances.

After losing to Maryland two weeks ago, the Dukes (21-19, 6-9 CAA) won five straight contests, but since then have lost three of their last four. Over the weekend, they dropped the first two at Delaware before salvaging the third game with a 6-0 victory Sunday.

Infielder Fox Semones has been hot since the Terps and Dukes met, hitting three homers in the past nine games while raising his average to .304. He paces the team with seven home runs and a .514 slugging percentage, while tying for the team lead in doubles (8) and RBIs (17). Adam Sisk, who has kept pace with Semones in doubles and RBIs, also leads the team with a .397 on-base percentage and 28 runs scored. Josh Jones leads the team with a .316 batting average, but has four hits in his last six games, and did not play in one of the contests against Delaware over the weekend.

On the mound, James Madison carries a 3.59 ERA as a team. Five of the regular Dukes relievers – not including Wednesday’s starter Michael Bechtold – have ERAs under 3.00. Brett Ayer owns a minuscule 0.71 ERA despite getting tagged with the loss against the Terps two weeks ago. Nick Robertson leads the team with three saves, while posting a 1.83 ERA in 19.2 innings of work. Matt Colon, Matt Marsili and Garrett Richards have also impressed in relief.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. EST

R-Fr. RHP Michael Bechtold (1-0, 2.45 ERA) vs. R-Fr. LHP Billy Phillips (0-0, 8.49 ERA)

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The brother of former Terps infielder Andrew Bechtold, right-hander Michael Bechtold gets the ball for James Madison on Wednesday, making his fourth start of the season (and ninth overall appearance). His last time out, last week against Longwood, he threw a season-high 4.2 innings, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out three. He has pitched well in his 18.1 innings of work this year, as seen by his 2.45 ERA, but he does allow baserunners, with a .260 opponent’s average.

After sitting out two years while battling cancer, left-hander Billy Phillips finally took the mound this season. In his first career appearance against Tennessee, he struck out the first hitter he faced before inducing a double play. Now, on Wednesday, he will make his first collegiate start, after making his first nine appearances of the season out of the bullpen. In 11.2 innings this year, he’s allowed 11 runs, all earned, while walking six and striking out six.