Series Preview: Nebraska Cornhuskers

After a very encouraging weekend, Maryland will head to the midwest to take on the first place team in the Big Ten, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Maryland went 3-1 over the weekend with wins on Friday and Saturday against Northwestern, and a thrashing of Michigan, 17-7 on Monday. It was the Terps’ first win over Michigan in nine tries.

Leading the way over the weekend was junior shortstop Benjamin Cowles, who was on base four times in the win on Monday, as well as senior second baseman Tommy Gardiner, who homered several times. Maxwell Costes also had a good weekend, as he went 4-5 with 4 RBIs on Saturday vs the Wildcats, and he finally logged his first extra base hit of the season on Monday against Michigan.

Maryland’s offensive onslaught on Monday was the second time they have scored at least 17 runs in a game this season, as they scored a season-high 19 against Penn State on March 20.

Nebraska is going to be a very big test for Maryland’s pitching staff, as they are currently at the top of almost all offensive categories. They are second in the conference in home runs and hits. They lead the Big Ten in runs, batting average, and RBI. The Cornhuskers pitching staff ranks sixth in the Big Ten with a 4.31 team earned run average. Their opposing batting average ranks eighth in the Big Ten at .255.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-6)

Last Season

Before the pandemic shut games down, Nebraska finished last season at 7-8. They hit an impressive .281 which was ranked fifth in the Big Ten. However, their pitching struggled mightily in their 15 games as they were second-to-last in the conference with a 5.94 ERA. They were very good on defense finishing tied for first in the conference with a .980 fielding percentage.

This Season

Nebraska has not lost a series in the 2021 season, as they have been carried by their potent offense all season long. The Cornhuskers are coming off of a series win in Champaign against Illinois, as they took two out of three games. They scored at least eight runs in all three games. Prior to the series against Illinois, Nebraska swept Minnesota in a four-game series at home. Even though two of the games only went seven innings, Nebraska scored at least six runs in all four of those games.

Hitters to Watch

Nebraska is led by their junior shortstop from Saginaw, Michigan, Spencer Schwellenbach. He has started every game this season, and is hitting an astounding .353, with three home runs and 14 RBI. He has also made seven appearances on the mound, and has not given up a run. The Huskers lineup also features junior infielder Cam Chick, who is hitting .298 with six homers and has driven in 21.

Pitchers to Watch

Nebraska’s staff is led by junior left-hander Cade Povich. Povich has made five starts this season with a 3.95 ERA and is 2-1 on the season. He has thrown 27 1/3 innings, given up 12 earned runs, and has 36 strikeouts. The Terps can also expect to see right-hander Shay Schanaman. Schanaman has also made five starts on the year, but he has struggled, with a 5.87 ERA. He has given up 15 earned runs in 23 innings pitched and has also struck out 25. Schanaman has gone 2 2/3 innings in two of his last three starts, but went 7 1/3 against Minnesota on March 28.

Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday- RHP Sean Burke (1-1, 4.78 ERA) vs LHP Cade Povich (2-1, 3.95 ERA)

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Burke pitched a decent game in his last time out against Northwestern. The Massachusetts native went five innings, gave up three hits, and only two runs, but he did walk five Wildcats.

Povich, in his last start, went into the sixth inning but was unable to complete it. He gave up three earned runs on six hits and only walked one. Nebraska would win the game, 8-6.

Saturday RHP Nick Dean vs RHP Chance Hroch (2-0, 5.04 ERA)

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Dean threw a decent game in his last start out against the Wildcats. He went five innings, gave up three earned runs and struck out five, the Terps would go on to win the game.

Hroch, the New Mexico State transfer, is coming off of a tough outing last time out. He went just four innings, gave up seven hits, and allowed five runs. Nebraska would end up falling to Illinois late in this game.

Sunday RHP Jason Savacool (4-0, 3.82 ERA) vs RHP Shay Schanaman

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Savacool, the freshman phenom, is coming off the first rough start of his college career. He was beaten around pretty bad by Michigan, but thanks to an offensive onslaught, Savacool was let off the hook and the Terps won big.

Like Savacool, Schanaman is also coming off of a tough start against Illinois. He threw two and two-thirds innings giving up five earned runs and four hits while throwing just 43 pitches.

Series Preview: Northwestern Wildcats and No. 25 Michigan Wolverines

The Terrapins (6-9) are back in action this weekend and will look to carry their momentum from the closing game in Columbus into the “College Park Pod.” Maryland welcomes both Northwestern (9-5) and No. 25 Michigan (11-4) to the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium for another two-game, two-team series spanning from Friday to Monday.

Maryland’s road trip to Ohio did not go according to plan, as it dropped three straight before ending on a high note Monday. The Terps lost their opening pair of games against the Hawkeyes, 6-4 and 11-2 respectively, and were bested by the hosting Buckeyes 5-4. But they found their offensive form and snapped the three-game losing streak by beating Ohio State in the rematch, 9-3, with freshman RHP Jason Savacool securing a fourth straight win to open the season. Maryland also notched nine steals, their most in a single game since 2013.

The Terrapins will play a game per day for the next four days. Their first pair will be against the Northwestern Wildcats, starting on Friday at 4 p.m. and quickly followed by game two on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Northwestern and Michigan will then square off against one another in their own two-game series before the Terps tangle with a ranked Wolverines team for games three and four. Game three is tentatively set for 3:30 p.m. Sunday, with the series concluding at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Maryland will need the bats to come alive this weekend as they’re pitted against two red-hot offensive teams. Northwestern posted a whopping 36 runs in their three-game slugfest of a series on the road against Illinois. The Wildcats’ bats have been exceptionally hot, with the team compiling a .305 batting average through 14 games. That prolific pace was on display against the Fighting Illini, as Northwestern brought in eight runs in a losing effort to open the series before they won game two, 16-14, and game three, 12-5.

Meanwhile, Michigan racked up an equally impressive 25 in their last two games versus Penn State after being shutout in game one. The Wolverines have scored 8.7 runs per game on average in their 11 wins and have made a habit of erasing deficits in a hurry. In game one against the Nittany Lions, Michigan tallied 14 unanswered runs after trailing 4-3. Later that day, they dug out of a 6-1 hole with seven unanswered runs for another comeback win. Earlier in the season, they stunned in-state rivals Michigan State with the most remarkable rally of all, knocking in eight runs in the ninth inning to win 8-7.

Maryland will be depending on Savacool and the pitching staff to contain the opposition’s offense. The Terps will look to a few different outlets for offense of its own. Benjamin Cowles has been a core part of Maryland’s slugging success, hitting .400 with 23 runs batted in, both team-highs by far. He tacked on two RBIs in the win over Ohio State Monday, going two-for-three from the plate. Randy Bednar is on a roll, getting a hit in each game last weekend and plating a pair of runners on Monday as well.

Northwestern Wildcats (9-5)

Last Season

Spencer Allen’s squad went a modest 6-7 before COVID-19 shut down the sporting world. The 2020 Wildcats managed a .239/.327/.340 slash line and a 3.63 ERA. But…

This Season

Northwestern has shown marked improvement from a year ago. The Wildcats are at just about the same point in the season in terms of games played and their slash line has jumped to .304/.387/.554. However, the pitching staff has some room for improvement with the ERA ballooning to 5.45. Northwestern enters the weekend off the back of a 2-1 series win over Illinois and has won seven of its last 10.

Hitters to Watch

There are a multitude of dangerous batters in this Northwestern lineup, with five Wildcats averaging well over .300. But two juniors stand out for their excellent efficiency when stepping into the batter’s box. Anthony Calarco is hitting .441, including five homers and and a team-high 50 total bases. On the other hand, Shawn Goosenberg clobbered two two-run homeruns and a two-RBI double in their last outing, and sits on a .364 BA for the season.

Pitchers to Watch

The Wildcat bullpen hasn’t impressed so far this season, with a 5.45 team ERA costing Northwestern in a couple back-and-forth losses. They will turn to junior Mike Doherty in game one, who boasts a 3.20 ERA. But the late-inning options are where Northwestern’s issues are really exacerbated. Sophomore RHP Reed Smith could provide assistance in that area, holding a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 IP which is a team-best among pitchers who have thrown for more than one inning.

No. 25 Michigan (11-4)

Last Season

Like Northwestern, Michigan had a middling 2020 season, accumulating a record of 8-7 before it met an untimely end. The highlight of the season came on opening day, as they upended then-No. 2 Vanderbilt, 4-3. The Wolverines’ slash line sat at .249/.355/.344 and the pitchers collectively threw for a respectable 4.05 ERA.

This Season

And like Northwestern, Michigan has been much better to this point in the season, both offensively and defensively. The slash line has risen to .260/.375/.426 with the pitching staff shaving the ERA down by nearly a run to 3.059.

Hitters to Watch

The Wolverines wield a wealth of offensive weapons, with fifth-year players Christian Molfetta and Benjamin Sems leading the way. The two upperclassmen both bat over .300 and have a combined 21 RBIs. Sophomore Jimmy Obertop leads the team with 14 RBIs, and keep an eye out for redshirt sophomore Jordon Rogers as well. In his first collegiate starts last weekend against Penn State, Rogers had four hits and plated five runs, including a game-winner.

Pitchers to Watch

Michigan has shown much improvement in their pitching game this season. Steve Hajjar, Cameron Weston and Jacob Denner have combined for a 5-1 record and ERAs of 2.66, 3.20, and 4.32, respectively. Joe Pace has also been stellar, with no earned runs allowed in 7.1 innings pitched. The Maryland offense will likely find this bullpen more difficult to go against, but have an opportunity to start strong Monday against struggling RHP Blake Beers (6.75 ERA).

Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday vs. Northwestern – RHP Sean Burke (1-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Doherty (1-0, 3.20 ERA)

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Burke pulled out one of his best starts in Columbus against Iowa. The redshirt sophomore allowed just one earned run in six innings, striking out 11, but the bullpen would let four runs in and the Terps dropped the game.

The Massachusetts native Mike Doherty will also feel aggrieved with his last performance ending in a loss. Doherty threw for six innings and had the Wildcats in pole position up 5-4 on Illinois. Just after being pulled, the Illini ripped off an eight-run seventh en route to a 12-8 loss for Northwestern.

Saturday vs. Northwestern – RHP Nick Dean (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Jack Dyke (1-0, 8.59 ERA)

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Dean had his first start come to an abrupt end, yanked from the mound in the bottom of the fourth. This happened despite only conceding one run in the first three innings, and Maryland would go on to get thumped 11-2.

Conversely, Dyke let in a run in just two-thirds of an inning. But he still ended up with his first win of the season as the sophomore from San Francisco helped close out a 16-14 slugfest in Urbana-Champaign.

Sunday vs. Michigan – RHP Connor Staine (0-2, 7.17 ERA vs. LHP Jacob Denner (1-0, 4.32 ERA)

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Connor Staine has struggled to start this season and is still seeking his first win. The sophomore out of Clinton, NJ stepped in for Nick Dean against the Hawkeyes and ran into a buzzsaw, shipping six runs in 5.1 IP.

Staine will go up against a tough customer in Jacob Denner, another sophomore and Jersey native who enters the weekend off the back of shutting down Penn State through 5 IP, allowing just one run on three hits.

Monday vs. Michigan – RHP Jason Savacool (4-0, 2.83 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Beers (0-1, 6.75 ERA)

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Freshman sensation Jason Savacool will close out the twinbill series again Monday afternoon for the Terps. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week selection kept his unbeaten streak alive with the 9-3 win over Ohio State, in which he pitched five innings and rung up five strikeouts.

Savacool will have a leg up on his counterpart on the mound, Blake Beers. Beers has languished this season, most recently posting five runs allowed in 2.2 IP.

Series Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes and Ohio State Buckeyes

Maryland’s upcoming series this weekend offers both the chance to improve their record and the chance to continue the offensive energy that emerged against Penn State this past weekend.  

The Terps are coming off an explosive offensive series against the Penn State Nittany Lions and are looking to keep that momentum going this weekend as they travel to Columbus, Ohio to take part in a unique two-team, two-game series against the Iowa Hawkeyes and Ohio State Buckeyes.  

The first two games of this weekend will be played against the Hawkeyes, game one kicks off Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and game two against Iowa will be Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Maryland will face Ohio State in the second part of Sunday’s double header at 4:00 p.m. The series will wrap up Monday with one last game against the Buckeyes at 3:00 p.m. 

The Terps put up a collective 31 runs across three games including a 19-run slug fest to take the opening game in last weekend’s successful showing at Penn State. Maryland will be looking to Benjamin Cowles to come out swinging again this series following his impressive work in the box during game one in Happy Valley. The junior raked in five runs with his early two-run RBI single and later a pitch out of the park for a three-run homer.  

The Iowa Hawkeyes are coming off a 1-2 series loss to Nebraska, both losses of the three-game series ending in double digits. Maryland’s successful offensive game will need to make a comeback this weekend against an Iowa team that has been outscored 60-44 if the Terps want to take the series.  

The second half of this weekend’s series will pit the Terps against the Buckeyes, a team that is 6-5 on the season and is coming off a 1-2 series loss to Rutgers (dropping one game to the Scarlet Nights in 11 innings and losing the other without putting a run on the board). Ohio State boasts more of a balanced team than Iowa, only being outscored 53-50 this season. Once again, Maryland’s fate will rest in the batter’s box and whether or not the same offensive energy from this past Penn State series shows up this weekend.  

Iowa Hawkeyes (4-7) 

Last Season 

The Iowa Hawkeyes finished with a 10-5 record before the season abruptly ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 team boasted a .295/.391/.408 slash line accompanied by a pitching staff finishing with a solid 3.39 ERA.  

This Season 

This year, the Hawkeyes have fallen just short of their 2020 success, putting forth a .224/.344/.356 slash line thus far. Iowa’s offense had yet to truly get the ball rolling until their last series against Nebraska, but even then the Hawkeyes dropped two of the games with final scores of 8-10 and 8-13. They will need to wake up their bats to have a chance against the offensive momentum the Terps have been building up.  

Hitters to Watch 

The Hawkeyes offense has been off to a sluggish start this season, but the energy needed to propel them can be found in a pair of redshirt seniors: Matthew Sosa and Ben Norman. Sosa has been reliable all season, and arrives in Columbus with a .324 batting average, the highest on the team. He held a career-long eight-game hitting streak through the first eight games of the season. Norman has been heating up this year and had a four-game hitting streak and a six-game on-base streak going into their Nebraska series. He had two home runs against the Cornhuskers, and boasts a .308 batting average, second on the team only to Sosa.  

Pitchers to Watch  

Iowa’s pitching staff can be described as just average, with the staff putting up a 4.26 ERA so far this year. There is one standout on Iowa that the Terps are lucky to be missing this weekend, and just this past Wednesday he was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week. Redshirt junior Trevor Wallace boasts a 1.00 ERA and 26 strikeouts on the year. Besides Wallace, redshirt junior Dylan Nedved and senior Trace Hoffman have become strong late-inning options for the Hawkeyes and have a 0.00 and 1.35 ERA respectively. 

Ohio State Buckeyes (6-5) 

Last Season 

The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming off a 6-8 campaign prior to the 2020 season’s cancellation. The 2020 Buckeyes did not get the chance to face a single Big 10 team before their season ended, making this season the first time they’ll be seeing some of their conference rivals in over a year. Last year’s team finished the short season with a .242/.347/.357 slash line, numbers they are likely hoping to improve this season.  

This Season 

The Buckeyes are coming into this weekend’s series with a 6-5 record. Thus far, Ohio State has produced a .228/.314/.361 slash line, similar numbers to last year yet with better results in terms of record. The Buckeyes are coming off of a 1-2 series loss to Rutgers, three games that resulted in little offensive action from either side as the final scores for either team never exceeded six runs.  

Hitters to Watch 

True freshman Kade Kern is the head of this Ohio State offense, boasting an impressive .390/.479/.610 slash line for the season. He had a successful showing against Rutgers, contributing three hits in the final game of the series. His two-run homer against Nebraska not only tied the game for the Buckeyes, but it marked his first career homerun in his eighth collegiate game. Other notable offensive contributors are senior Sam Wilson, junior Nick Erwin, and redshirt senior Conner Pohl, each of whom played a part in last weekend’s win against Rutgers.  

Pitchers to Watch 

Ohio State’s pitching is similar to the first of the Terp’s opponents this weekend in that they are just average. The pitching staff has secured a 4.39 ERA thus far, with two notable pitchers being juniors Bayden Root and TJ Brock, boasting a 1.23 and 1.35 ERA respectively. Maryland will dodge yet another bullet this weekend and avoid meeting either pitcher, and will instead face two players with slightly higher ERA’s but notable performances in the past few games.  

Starting Pitching Matchups  

Saturday vs Iowa – RHP Sean Burke (1-1, 6.46 ERA) vs. RHP Drew Irvine (0-2, 6.55 ERA) 

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Burke’s last game against Penn State turned into an all-out slugfest, and while Burke got the start, he was pulled after 4 2/3 innings. He allowed four runs while striking out eight batters, and the game jacked up his ERA from his previous 3.68.  

Irvine will arrive in Columbus with a bad taste in his mouth following his most recent 10-8 loss to Nebraska in which he allowed six runs on five hits during his 2 1/3 innings pitched. His previous game against Nebraska didn’t exactly go as planned either, with Irvine giving up another four runs on just six hits, a detriment that couldn’t be countered by his eight strikeouts on the day.  

Sunday vs Iowa – RHP Connor Staine (0-1, 6.19 ERA) vs. RHP Duncan Davitt (1-1, 8.18 ERA) 

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Staine is coming off a disappointing loss to Penn State last weekend, managing to hold the Lion’s off for three scoreless innings. That and his three strikeouts across his five innings pitched weren’t enough to save the Terps as he allowed eight hits, two walks and three wild pitches before being pulled from the game.  

A strong performance against Nebraska last Sunday could provide momentum for Davitt heading into Sunday’s game. Davitt held down a no-hitter through 5 1/3 innings before giving up just two hits during his time on the mound. Six strikeouts for the starter secured him a tie for his career-best performance, and the Hawkeye will be coming out of the gates strong when he faces the Terps.  

Sunday vs OSU – RHP Nick Dean (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs RHP Jack Neely (1-0, 4.26 ERA) 

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Dean will be making his season debut for the Terps in the second half of Sunday’s double header. Coming off of a shortened season and finishing with a 3.98 ERA, Dean will look to start the Terps off on the right note against Big Ten rival Ohio State. Listed as one of the top draft prospects in the class of 2022, this sophomore has a lot to prove and a lot to bring to the mound.  

Neely’s most recent game secured the Buckeyes a much-needed win over Rutgers, a game which saw the pitcher finish his time on the mound with five strikeouts and allowing just three hits over 4 1/3 innings. This is a similar story to his previous outing against Iowa, in which Neely finished with seven strikeouts, one hit and one run allowed. The Terps offense will need to wake up if the same Neely from the Rutgers and Iowa games decides to show up in Columbus.  

Monday vs OSU – RHP Jason Savacool (3-0, 2.28 ERA) vs RHP Will Pfennig (0-1, 7.71 ERA) 

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Who better to close out the Terps time in Columbus than the most recent Big Ten Freshman of the Week. Savacool will be taking the mound Monday afternoon, and if his second career complete game in just three collegiate showings against Penn State is any indication of the performance than can be expected, the Buckeyes better be ready. Savacool’s most recent performance against the Nittany Lion’s saw him throw only 92 pitches, yet still secured the win for the Terps 7-1.  

Pfennig’s last showing played a role in Ohio State’s recent win against Nebraska, a game in which the junior posted six strikeouts, five hits, and two earned runs. He will be facing off against one of the strongest freshman pitchers in the conference, and will need to pull out a similar performance against the Terps in order to help his team secure a win.  

Series Preview: Penn State Nittany Lions

Maryland hasn’t been off to the start it likely hoped for after its first two series — winning neither and entering its third with a 3-4 record — but the upcoming series against Penn State offers a great chance to right the ship early.

The Terps visit University Park, Pennsylvania, Saturday afternoon to kick off a three-game series after beginning the 2021 season with back-to-back four-game, three-day series.

Although Maryland could only split the series in its home opener against Rutgers, the offense showed great leaps and bounds from the quiet season opener at the plate. Facing the Scarlet Knights without the bat of Maxwell Costes, the Terps’ offense scored 32 runs across the four games, including a 13-run outburst in the series opener.

Junior Benjamin Cowles led the way for the explosive weekend at the plate, crushing five home runs to put himself in a tie on top the Big Ten home run leaderboards (6) with Rutgers’ standout Chris Brito. Cowles also accounted for eight RBI on six hits in the four games, including two multi-hit performances.

With the offense catching its stride against Rutgers, Maryland finds itself in a good spot this weekend, facing a 2-6 Penn State team that suffered a four-game sweep against Indiana last week.

For the majority of the Nittany Lions’ young season, the offense has remained silent, being held to two runs or less in five of their eight games. While they have posted a slash line of .228/.339/.414 thus far, the Nittany Lions have been outscored 43-29.

The pitching hasn’t been doing Penn State any favors either, posting a 5.63 team earned-run average and a .289 opposing batting average. Even on the rare occasion when the offense blew up (13-10 win vs. Northwestern, March 7) the pitching failed to suppress the opposing bats, allowing ten runs on 17 hits.

Historically, Maryland has dominated the Nittany Lions since it joined the Big Ten, owning a 7-2 record against Penn State.

Penn State Nittany Lions  (2-6)

Last Season

After finishing three straight seasons with a losing record before 2020, Penn State had gotten off to a 10-5 start before last season ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nittany Lions were clicking on both ends of the diamond, hitting for a .289/.394/.422 slash line while the pitchers — to put it bluntly — absolutely shoved, owning a 2.16 ERA.

This Season

The 2020 season did show plenty of promise for a Penn State program that had gone through great struggles in recent history, but the potential has seemingly fallen flat in the first eight games of the season. Outside of an opening day win and a slugfest win over Northwestern, Penn State’s offense has been completely stifled, scoring ten runs total in their six losses this season. One of the losses in their last series versus Indiana was close to a no-hitter for Hoosiers starter McCade Brown, who threw seven no-hit innings with 16 strikeouts.

Hitters to Watch

Penn State’s offense has struggled on a macro level, but its lineup still features a couple bats that have carried the “load.” By far, the star of the Nittany Lions is redshirt freshman Josh Spiegel, who has led the way at the plate with a .346/.414/.808 slash line in the young season. Right behind him is freshman Johnny Piacentino, who arrived at Penn State as the second-best outfield recruit of out New Jersey, per Perfect Game. Piacentino is tied for the Penn State lead in home runs with Spiegel (3) and is also the only other Nittany Lion to have an on-base plus slugging percentage above 1.000.

Pitchers to Watch   

Save for a couple of starters, Penn State’s pitching has been simply atrocious in the early going of the season. The two bright spots on that staff are Conor Larkin and Jaden Henline — who has been relegated to the bullpen for this series despite recording a 3.24 ERA in his two starts. Larkin comes in as the “Saturday” starter for this series, and owns a staff-best 3.00 ERA. He has also put up flashy strikeout numbers, punching out 15 batters opposed to two walks in his two starts.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Saturday, 1:00 P.M. EST

RHP Sean Burke (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs RHP Bailey Dees (1-1, 5.79 ERA)

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Burke’s second start of the season against Rutgers wasn’t as impressive as his 13-strikeout Opening Day performance, but an explosive Terps offense carried him to his first win of the season. The strikeouts were still there, as he racked up seven in his 5 2/3 innings, but he was also tagged for seven hits and four earned runs.

Dees is one of two familiar faces on this Nittany Lions pitching staff, as both he and Virbitsky pitched against the Terps during the teams’ last meeting in 2019. Dees was rocked in his last start, giving up six runs (four earned) and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings against Indiana.

Sunday, 1:00 P.M. EST

RHP Connor Staine ( 0-1 6.55 ERA) vs RHP Conor Larkin (0-2, 3.00 ERA)

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After seemingly just being a doubleheader starter in the Terps’ first two series, Staine moves into the “normal,” three-man rotation for the first time this season. Staine followed up an incredible starting debut against Michigan State with a less-than-spectacular start against Rutgers, giving up seven runs (three home runs). Facing a struggling Nittany Lions lineup offers a great rebound spot for the sophomore.

Larkin has been the statistical leader for the Penn State staff, and while the offense struggled to pick up more than one hit in his last start, he shined with five innings of one-run ball before the bullpen imploded. His start against Indiana also featured his only two walks of the season as he racked up seven strikeouts.

Monday, 4:00 P.M. EST

RHP Jason Savacool (2-0 3.68 ERA) vs RHP Kyle Virbitsky (0-1, 8.38 ERA)

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It would have certainly been a feat for Savacool to top the complete-game gem he tossed in his collegiate debut. The freshman earned the win in his start against Rutgers last Sunday, but struggled in doing so, surrendering five runs in 5 2/3 innings.

Virbitsky’s 8.38 ERA is the result of two very different starts, and his most recent showing against a strong Indiana team is a good indicator of what he really brings to the mound. Although Penn State fell to the Hoosiers, 1-2, in his last start, Virbitsky threw 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball with no walks.

Game Preview: James Madison

Heading into the final tilt of a five-game homestand, The Terrapins are flying high, with blowout wins in each of their last four games. After being swept at Coastal Carolina to finish February play, Maryland has righted the ship in a big way, outscoring opponents 48-18 over its last four games.

Before heading to their spring break road trip in Texas, Maryland will welcome James Madison to Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium to wrap up one of their longest homestands of the season.

While the Terps’ weekend rotation has been solidified, approaching only their third midweek it’s still uncertain whether junior Zach Thompson will get his third midweek start, or whether senior Tyler Blohm may finally make his return to the mound.

Thompson was dominant to start against Delaware, completing a perfect first trip through the order on just 27 pitches. After a long layoff prior to the fourth, Thompson struggled, finishing the afternoon after just 4 ⅓ innings with five runs charged to him. 

Coming off of his junior campaign, in which he went 1-2 in six starts and struggled with injury, Blohm has the potential to make his first start of the season. After throwing over 50 innings in each of his first two years, Blohm was limited to 15 ⅔ innings last season. If he can return to form, the southpaw would provide a big boost to the Terps’ stable of arms, which currently leans heavily on underclassmen. 

While the Terrapins have seen offensive production throughout the lineup, the top of their order has been a force to be reckoned with so far. Chris Alleyne, Randy Bednar, and Maxwell Costes are all batting over .340, with Costes boasting a .439 average and an impressive .627 on-base-percentage to go with four homers and 14 RBI.

Alleyne and Bednar are tied for team lead with eight doubles and Alleyne leads the conference with 18 runs scored, while Bednar is third in the conference with 16 RBI.

Outside of those three atop the order, the Terps’ biggest bat has been shortstop Ben Cowles, who has three home runs and has driven in 13 runs, batting mostly out of the seven-hole. Cowles is currently on a six-game hit streak and a four-game RBI streak, and has two home runs and 10 RBI on the four-game home stand.

James Madison Dukes (8-6, 0-0 CAA)

Last Season

The Dukes finished last season 31-26, but were bounced in just two games in the CAA tournament. James Madison had a 9-13 overall record away from home last season, but that did include a 14-1 win over the Terps in College Park.

This Season

James Madison started the season getting swept by then-No. 16 NC State before rattling off six straight wins. Since then, the Dukes have won two of their last five and will be heading to College Park after playing VMI at home on Tuesday. 

Hitters to Watch

The Dukes’ top run producers on the young season have been a trio of underclassmen. Freshman two-way player Chase DeLauter and sophomore Nick Zona boast identical .383 batting averages and have driven in 13 and 12 runs, respectively. The team’s RBI leader is sophomore Kyle Novak, who has 14 RBI this spring to go along with a .333 average. 

Pitchers to Watch

In two midweek games this season, the Dukes have yet to have a starter go more than five innings. In their first midweek, Justin Showalter went two innings, but has since settled into a weekend starting role. In their second midweek, the Dukes used Liam McDonnell for 4 ⅔ innings in which he fanned seven while allowing five hits and two runs.

With freshman Hunter Entsminger the announced starter for Tuesday’s matchup with VMI, it seems likely that James Madison could turn to McDonnell on Wednesday, as he has only 5 ⅔ innings on the season and has not pitched since his appearance against VMI in February. 

Series Preview: Bryant

 The Terps got back on track Wednesday with a win over the Delaware Blue Hens and are set to face the Bryant Bulldogs this weekend at “The Bob.” Last weekend Maryland was swept by Coastal Carolina, in what was an eye-opening couple of days for the Terps. 

“They just out-executed us all weekend in every phase of the game,” said Chris Alleyne on the series against the Chanticleers.

The Bulldogs also had a tough test last weekend, getting swept by Virginia Tech and posting a -22 run differential over the three-game span. Needless to say, the Tech offense was on fire just like Coastal’s offense was last weekend. 

Right now, Maryland sits at 7-4, with a 4-1 record in College Park even with a few injuries to start the season.

“I got my shot and a lot of other guys are too right now because we are so injury plagued but everybody is taking it day by day, working hard,” said freshman Matt Orlando, who stepped up in place of third baseman Tommy Gardiner, who is out with a shoulder injury. Catcher Justin Vought is another notable starter on the shelf.

Despite the injuries, the Terps put up 13 runs on Wednesday against Delaware and, besides the Coastal series, have shown they have a high-powered offense this season. They are averaging 6.7 runs a game being led by Maxwell Costes and Randy Bednar.

Costes has carried his dominance over from last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year performance. He currently has three home runs and is getting on base at a .588 clip, enough for second and third in the Big Ten, respectively. He was 2-for-4 with two RBI against Delaware on Wednesday. 

Bednar has also raked for the Terps this season. The junior currently leads the team in RBI with 12 and has an OPS of 1.057. He went 3-for-5 with two doubles on Wednesday. 

Maryland also continued to show plate discipline in its latest midweek, drawing seven walks for a season total of 63. Freshman Tucker Flint leads the on-base charge for the Terps, with a team-high 10 walks and seven hit-by-pitches.

For an up-and-coming rotation, the Terps’ pitching has been relatively solid this season. Without their three games in which they allowed 10+ runs, Maryland’s arms have only allowed more than three runs from an opponent once–against Delaware Wednesday. 

One reason for Maryland’s strength on the mound is redshirt freshman Sean Burke, who leads the Terps’ starters in most categories.

“I thought Sean Burke was tremendous again, that’s three straight starts for him that were really, really good,” said Head Coach Rob Vaughn.

Even with minimal innings, Elliot Zoellner has looked solid out of the bullpen. In 5 2/3 innings he has proven consistent, with a 0.00 ERA, and has held hitters to a .059 average. 

Bryant Bulldogs (2-8, 0-0 Northeastern)

Last Season

Bryant finished last season with a 40-20 record and went 19-5 in conference play during the regular season, finishing first in the NEC. The Bulldogs couldn’t make an NCAA big, however, losing to Central Connecticut in the NEC Tournament championship game.

This Season

The Bulldogs have struggled so far this season, starting off 2-8 Their two wins came against Georgia State two weekends ago in Atlanta. Despite their record, Bryant has been competing in tight ball games, losing only four by five runs or more. 

Hitters to Watch

As Bryant work to overcome its early slump, with a team-wide .169 average, there are two Bulldogs who are putting up solid numbers at the plate. Senior James Ciliento, whose .314 average and seven home runs are a team-high. The outfielder has also swiped eight bags so far. The Bulldogs’ other slugger is junior Shane Kelly,  who is batting .297 with a .357 on-base-percentage. He also has one home run with 11 hits.

Relievers to Watch

So far, Bryant’s most reliable arm out of the bullpen has been Matthew Stansky. The right-hander has six innings pitched in four appearances with a 3.00 ERA; he is also the only Bryant pitcher with a save so far this season. After Stansky, the next pitcher in line out of the ‘pen  would be Jack Ipsen, who has 4 1/3 innings pitched with a 4.15 ERA.

Probable Starting Pitcher Matchup

Friday, 4 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Tyler Mattison (0-2, 6.00 ERA) v. Jr. LHP Sean Fisher (2-1, 6.14 ERA)

imageimage vs. imageFisher090518_06

In Mattison’s last start, against Virginia Tech, the righty allowed six earned runs and nine hits over only four innings pitched against the powerful Hokies lineup. Prior to last weekend, surrendered only two earned runs in each of his previous two starts. Arguably one of Mattison’s biggest strengths is his ability to prevent base-on-balls, having allowed only five walks in 15 innings pitched.

Like Mattison, Fisher’s ERA is bit inflated because of his start last weekend. Again st Coastal Carolina Fisher went only three innings, allowing nine earned runs and 10 hits. Fisher looked sharp against Rhode Island and Charleston Southern earlier this season, though, allowing only three runners to cross the plate his the 11 2/3 innings pitched over those two starts.

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET

 Jr. RHP Tyler Schoff (0-3, 7.90 ERA) v. Fr. RHP Nick Dean (0-1, 5.65 ERA)

imageimage.png vs. imageDean_2020

 

Another junior right-hander, Schoff enters the weekend with an inflated 7.90 ERA over 13 2/3 innings pitched. Though he has suffered a loss in each of his starts this season, Schoff has also struck out 10 batters and given up only one home run on the year. 

The only true freshman in Maryland’s starting rotation, Dean has proven himself worthy, after a promising start against Coastal Carolina last weekend. Deal went five innings against the Chanticleers, allowing only two runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Dean has tossed around five innings in each of his three starts so far, and whiffed at least five batters in each start. 

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Will Treuel (0-2, 6.75 ERA) vs. R-Fr. RHP Sean Burke (1-0, 1.62 ERA)

 imageimage.png vs. imageBurke_2020

Treuel’s strongest appearance this year came out of the bullpen against Georgia State, when he threw 3 1/3 innings and allowed only one run, striking out an impressive six batters. In his two starts, coming against Dayton and Virginia Tech, Treuel struggled some, allowing  a combined nine earned runs in 10 innings total and letting up a homer in each.

For Maryland, Burke has showed his prowess on the mound, proving the Terps’ most consistent starter so far in this young season. Against Coastal Carolina Burke allowed only three hits and two earned runs over six innings, his longest start of the season. Though dominant on the mound, Burke has struggled some with walks, so it will be important for him to limit free bases this weekend against the Bulldogs.

Game Preview: Delaware Blue Hens

After a difficult weekend series with Coastal Carolina, Maryland will look to get back in the win column when it welcomes Delaware to Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium on Wednesday for a 4 p.m. first pitch.

Coming off two blowouts and a heartbreaking late loss to the Chanticleers in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the Terps will play their second home midweek of the season, with a 13-3 drubbing of George Mason already under their belts. 

Maryland has five key home games over the next week, starting with the game against the Blue Hens, followed by a three-game set with Bryant, and then another midweek game against James Madison.

With this five-game stretch sandwiched between tough series at Coastal Carolina and TCU, the home stand should allow time for the Terps to bounce back from their trip to South Carolina and gain momentum before heading to Texas.

On offense the Terps will look for sophomore Maxwell Costes to remain their most dangerous hitter and to continue his scorching form at the Bob, where he is six for his last seven with three home runs and a double.

Junior outfielder Randy Bednar, who leads the team with 11 RBI, also comes into the series hot. Hitting .351, Bednar had a tremendous game in Maryland’s last midweek, roughing up the Patriots to the tune of three hits and three RBI, including a mammoth home run. 

On the mound the Terrapins may turn to junior Zach Thompson, who excelled in his first appearance of the season last week. Thompson shut down George Mason, allowing one run on four hits over five innings, and was efficient, tossing 66 pitches through his five frames of work.  

With strikeouts coming at a premium, whoever starts for Maryland will need to hope for his defense to be better than it has in the season’s early-going, where the Terps have a .949 fielding percentage and have gotten through only one game error-free (Game three against Rhode Island).  

Delaware Blue Hens (4-5, 0-0 CAA)

Last Season

Delaware finished 2019 with a record of 21-33. The Blue Hens were 7-21 on the road, and went 7-3 in midweeks, including a pair of midweek losses to the Terps (both by a score of 11-6).

This Season

The Hens are 4-5 this year, as of Tuesday morning, but come in hot with wins in four of their last five games. They head to College Park as the second part of a midweek back-to-back after facing the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday. 

Hitters to Watch

Delaware brings a dangerous offense to the Bob, with 50 runs scored over nine games and five qualified hitters batting above .300, as of Tuesday morning. Sophomore first baseman Josh Carpenter enters Tuesday leading the squad with a .419 average and four doubles, while senior backstop Jack Goan is pacing the Blue Hens with 10 RBI to go along with two long balls and junior Jordan Hutchins leads the team with three home runs. 

Pitchers to Watch

While Delaware’s offense has produced well, the Blue Hens have struggled on the mound, with a team-wide 6.59 ERA. The Hens’ arms have struggled to find the plate, with 58 walks already issued this season. Opposing hitters have also had success when Delaware pitchers have thrown strikes, hitting .272 against them and knocking 28 extra-base hits.

The Blue Hens do have a trio of reliable arms out of the bullpen, with relievers Winston Allen, Bryce Greenly, and Nate Rolka combining for just two earned runs over 11 ⅔ innings. Only four pitchers have made starts for the Hens so far this season, so with five games in six days and a series with Rider beginning on Friday, head coach Jim Sherman may have to get creative with how he uses his arms. 

Series Preview: Coastal Carolina

Maryland travels down to East Coast to Conway, South Carolina, to take on Coastal Carolina in their the Terps’ first true road series this weekend, after picking up a 13-3 midweek victory over George Mason on Tuesday. Though Maryland has played on the road this season, this will be the first time it plays one team in a three-game set. 

For Coastal Carolina, they own a 4-3 record and they’ve played all seven of its games on its home field; last season the Chanticleers were dominant at home with a 24-12 record. 

After a pair of double headers last weekend, including a pair of double-digit offensive outpourings on Sunday (13-5 win over Kennesaw State and 14-2 win over West Virginia), Coastal Carolina had a bit of a break this week, as their midweek game against Charleston was cancelled due to inclement weather. 

Last season, the Terps and Chanticleers met at the start of the year for the Brittain Resorts Invitational, hosted by Coastal Carolina, where the Chanticleers came out on top, 7-2. 

While Maryland’s offense struggled against Coastal Carolina last season, this year the team has the most home runs in the Big Ten entering the third weekend of regular season play (7). Three of those long balls have come off of Maxwell Costes’ bat. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year leads the Terps with a .429 average and a .647 on-base percentage.

As a whole the Terps have succeeded in large due to their ability to draw walks; in their seven games thus far Maryland has walked 46 times to their opponents’ 27. (Coastal has drawn 28 walks to their opponents’ 17).

While, on the offensive side of the ball, Maryland has shown great discipline at the plate and the it has resulted in a lot of run scoring opportunities. But on the defensive side the Terps have worked on cleaning up their fielding, especially with regard to infield fly balls. 

“We just have to come out of the gate and be clean on defense, that’s really one thing I want to see” Vaughn said. “And with really good starters, you get them in one or two spots. You get them in the first when they’re trying to settle in or you gotta grind them out and get them in the sixth or seventh when they get tired. So that’s going to be our biggest thing.”

Though Coastal Carolina’s pitching staff will be potent, Maryland’s barrage of arms is nothing to disregard.

The Terps’ pitching staff currently holds the second-lowest team ERA in the Big Ten (2.53), while starters Sean Fisher and Sean Burke have the fourth- and eighth-lowest ERAs in the Big Ten, respectively. Plus, Maryland’s freshman arms have recorded a combined 44 strikeouts, the most by a freshman pitching staff in the Big Ten.

“I think there’s some confidence with our guys,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “I think we have a little bit more depth on the mound than we’ve had to attack them with the last couple years.”

Despite playing a tougher opponent like Coastal Carolina, Vaughn told his team that there’s no need to try to play different, though they should expect fewer offensive chances against the Chanticleers’ talented pitching staff. 

“It’s gonna take a full team effort.,” Vaughn said. “We know what they’re capable of and we’re just going to have to match energy and play clean baseball. We don’t have to do anything different, we just have to come out and take advantage of our opportunities and grind them out and create things.” 

 

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (4-3, 0-0 Sun Belt)

Last Season

Coastal Carolina finished the year with a 36-26-1 record and went 15-13 in conference play during the regular season. The Chanticleers got hot during the Sun Belt Tournament and took home the championship, but couldn’t make it out of their regional in the NCAA Tournament and was eliminated after a loss to Georgia Tech.

This Season

So far this season the Chanticleers have had a bit of a slow start as they sit at just 4-3. Coastal Carolina hasn’t suffered a blowout loss yet, as its few losses have all been single-digit run differences. But, when the Chanticleers win it is usually a result of an offensive explosion. Through just seven games, the Chanticleers are outscoring their opponents 48-26. 

Hitters to Watch

Coastal Carolina lost a few of its best bats after last season, but not its hits leader from last season, Scott McKeon. This season McKeon has continued to be one of the Chanticleers’ best bats; the senior is the only player with double-digit hits so far, as he has gone 11-for-28, posting a .393 average. 

Another offensive threat for Coastal Carolina this season has been sophomore catcher, B.T. Riopelle. The sophomore leads the team with seven RBI and has also recorded seven hits. Riopelle also leads the team in home runs with two. 

Relievers to Watch

Sophomore Alaska Abney has had the most appearances out of the bullpen for Coastal Carolina and has proven dominant on the mound. The righty has appeared in four games and tossed 7 ⅔ innings, while allowing just one hit and picking up eight strikeouts. 

Redshirt sophomore Shaddon Peavyhouse has been another reliever that has found success four the Chanticleers this season. The right-hander has thrown four innings and has not allowed an earned run, while striking out four batters. 

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Friday, 4 p.m. ET

Jr. LHP Sean Fisher (2-0, 0.77 ERA) v. Jr. RHP Zach McCambley (1-1, 2.08 ERA)

 

Fisher090518_06image vs. imageimage.png

After moving from the bullpen in 2019 to a starters’ spot in 2020, Fisher has been solid as Maryland’s Friday starter. Through his first two starts the southpaw has tossed 11 ⅔ innings and allowed just one earned run, plus nine strikeouts. In both of his starts the Terps’ offense provided a plenty of run support, so it will be interesting to see how Fisher fares when he may not have the same backing.

“Ending guys’ at-bats quicker is the biggest thing,” Fisher said of what he’s been working on heading into the weekend. “Not getting in deep counts and not walking guys.”

Last season, McCambley started 11 games on the mound, posting a 6-3 record with a 5.21 ERA. The righty showed he had strikeout stuff as he tallied 76 strikeouts in just 67 ⅓ innings pitched for the Chanticleers. This season, McCambley has allowed three runs in 13 innings, while racking up 18 strikeouts. 

“When you’re facing McCambley on Friday night from Coastal, you might not get seven innings of opportunity like we got [against George Mason],” Vaughn said. “That game could be won or lost in the first or second inning on offense or defense, just because he’s that kind of arm.”

 

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET

Fr. RHP Nick Dean (0-0, 6.75 ERA) v. R-Sr. LHP Scott Kobos (0-2, 2.45 ERA)

Dean_2020image vs. imageimage.png

After a stellar collegiate debut against Iona, Dean ran into some trouble against Rhode Island, allowing five runs through 4 ⅔ innings. Dean has thrown 9 ⅓ innings so far this season, and has allowed seven runs and picked up 11 strikeouts. The freshman will have an opportunity to bounce back this weekend against the Chanticleers.

In the 2019 season, Kobos only started five games for Coastal Carolina and recorded a 2-2 record with a 6.04 ERA. This season, the southpaw has put together some solid starts, but his offense hasn’t been able to provide run support. Through two games, Kobos has pitched 11 innings and allowed just three runs, while totaling nine strikeouts. 

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

R-Fr. RHP Sean Burke (1-0, 0.84 ERA) v. So. RHP Nick Parker (1-0, 2.70 ERA)  

Burke_2020image vs. imageimage.png

Though he missed last season due to injury, Burke has been dominant in his first collegiate season on the mound. The righty has picked up eight strikeouts in each of his two starts and has only allowed one run through 10 ⅔ innings. Maryland has come out on top in both of his starts, beating Charleston 4-2 and Rhode Island 3-0. 

Parker had 16 appearances in the 2019 season and pitched in 46 innings, while he posted a 6.07 ERA. This season, the sophomore has made two starts and has thrown 10 innings. Through his two starts, he has allowed 10 hits and three earned runs, while tallying six strikeouts. 

 

Game Preview: George Mason Patriots

After taking two-of-three from Rhode Island over the weekend, Maryland hosts George Mason for its first midweek game of the season on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The two teams met in mid-April last season in Virginia, where the Patriots came out on top 9-5. 

Now, George Mason it still looking for its first victory. The Patriots started the season 0-5 and they have struggled to limit their opponent’s offense. Through five games, George Mason has been outscored, 55-21. 

For Maryland, the Terps look to continue their great start to the season. Last season Maryland had success in its midweek matchups, posting a 9-4 record. The Terps look to duplicate that success this season, beginning with the Patriots.

Through its first six games, Maryland has impressed on both sides of the ball. Offensively the Terps have tallied 43 runs, averaging just about seven runs per contest and outscoring opponents 43-20.

Junior Randy Bednar leads the team in RBI (6) while also posting a .333 average. Fellow junior Tommy Gardiner, tied for the team-high in hits (7) with Bednar, has also been impressive at the plate. Gardiner leads the team in average (.412) and has totaled four RBI and scored three runs. 

This past weekend, reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Maxwell Costes’ bat began to heat up. Against Rhode Island, Costes went 4-for-9 with three RBI and four runs scored. Costes also belted his first home run of the season on Sunday and went on to hit his second in the same game en route to a 3-0 victory. 

On the mound Maryland has added depth, as junior Zach Thompson, who was the typical Saturday starter last season, will get the midweek nod this Tuesday. The start will be the right-hander’s first appearance for Maryland since last season, when he tossed a 5.08 ERA on his way to a 3-6 record in 14 starts, including 63 strikeouts.

The Terps’ bullpen has also been solid so far this season and a few more arms should get their opportunity in this midweek game. So far, the bullpen has allowed six earned runs in 23 ⅓ innings pitched, and the Terps’ pitching staff as a whole has the second-lowest ERA in the Big Ten (2.45, behind Penn State’s 1.68 ERA). 

George Mason Patriots (0-5, 0-0 Atlantic 10)

Last Season

George Mason finished last year 19-35 and went 5-19 in conference play, which kept the Patriots out of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. They also finished the season on an eight-game losing streak. 

This Season

With a rough start to the season the Patriots have continued their losing streak from last season and they are still on the hunt for their first victory of 2020. George Mason has lost all three of its road games so far. 

Hitters to Watch

George Mason lost one of its most powerful bats, Logan Driscoll, to the MLB draft last season. Now, it’s graduate transfer Cooper Mrowka who has been one of the players to step up offensively.

Mrowka is tied for the team-high in hits with five and is hitting .333 this season, including one RBI and four runs scored. Junior Scott Morgan has also been an offensive threat for George Mason. Morgan is batting .333 with two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored.

Pitchers to Watch

Sophomore southpaw Nate Young will get the nod on the mound for the Patriots. Young currently holds a 9.00 ERA after a three-inning relief outing, though it’s still early in the season. As a freshman Young made five starts and three relief appearances, and though he struggled on the mound does at least have some experience starting.

Out of the pen, sophomore Patrick Halligan has thrown the most innings with 4 ⅔ and has allowed three runs while freshman Lyle Miller-Green has thrown 4 ⅓ innings out of the bullpen and has also allowed three runs.

 

Series Preview: Rhode Island Rams

After a 3-0 road trip to kick off the 2020 season, the Terrapins will be opening up their home schedule when they host the Rhode Island Rams this weekend. Maryland returns to College Park after dominating a trio of Charleston Southern, Iona and College of Charleston, outscoring the three teams 23-6 on the weekend.

Rhode Island wasn’t as fortunate as Maryland in its first three games of the season, putting up a 1-2 record, including two blowout losses (7-3, 8-2) versus Lamar on the road last weekend.

The last time the Rams clashed horns with the Terps was in a similar fashion, facing off in the teams’ second series of the 2016 season. Maryland bagged two of the three games, the first of which featured an eight-inning shutout performance by former Terp and current Boston Red Sox pitcher Mike Shawaryn.

With Maryland’s pitchers showing nothing but pure dominance in its opening series, they’ll look to replicate Shawaryn’s past work against Rhode Island and keep the train rolling. Despite the Terps’ rotation not being set in stone, they’ll run out the same starters this weekend — Sean Fisher, Nick Dean and Sean Burke — according to Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn. Between the three, they only surrendered three total runs over 15 innings pitched while racking up 19 strikeouts.

As for Maryland’s offense, the plus-17 run-differential last weekend speaks for itself. But, the biggest highlight from the opening weekend was the hitting prowess displayed by freshman outfielder Tucker Flint. Flint, ranked the No. 1 recruit out of Rhode Island, paced the Terps with a .545 batting average in 11 at-bats and currently leads the Big Ten with a .667 on-base percentage.

“That’s a really competitive kid,” said Vaughn about the Rhode Island native. “He’s got a really high level of confidence and that’s what you need to be a good hitter in this league.”

Meanwhile, Rhode Island’s bats weren’t as strong, combining for a .194 batting average through their three games, although redshirt-sophomore Joe Fortin (.400 average) and freshman Alex Ramirez (.300) seem to be the early offensive leaders.

Rhode Island Rams (1-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10)

Last Season

Rhode Island finished the 2019 season with a 24-29 record but going 14-9 within the Atlantic 10, good enough to make it into the conference’s tournament. But as the No. 6 seed in the tournament the Rams suffered a first-round loss to the Dayton Flyers.

This season

Starting the season 1-2 isn’t the start that Rhode Island likely wanted, but one win is better than none. With a collective .569 on-base plus slugging percentage through three games, the Rams’ offense seems to be having some early struggles.

Hitters to watch

Rhode Island only has three hitters with an OPS greater than .750: Fortin, Ramirez, and junior Jackson Coutts. Coutts is right on the fence with a .250 OBP and .500 slugging percentage, but Fortin and Ramirez have carried the offense so far with a .971 OPS and .800 OPS, respectively, in the early season.

Pitcher to watch

“Their Friday night guy can really, really pitch,” said Vaughn of Rhode Island sophomore Justin Cherry. “He’s only a sophomore, but he’s got a really, really good feel for what he’s doing.”

Cherry threw 6 1/3 innings in his start against Lamar, striking out seven batters while giving up just one earned run.

But the Rams also have some solid arms in their bullpen; after its opening weekend Rhode Island boasts three relievers with 0.00 ERAs after throwing at least one inning, including redshirt-senior Tyler Brosius, who tossed six strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings over two relief appearances, including one save.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Friday, 4 p.m. ET

So. RHP Justin Cherry vs. Jr. LHP Sean Fisher

Image result for rhode island logoJustin Cherry vs.   imageFisher090518_06

In 2019, Cherry only spent half of his time pitching, as a two-way player he took reps in the infield as well. But what’s important is that Cherry made nine starts last season, pitching to the tune of a 2.93 ERA over 55 1/3 innings.

Fisher kicked off the 2020 season in quality fashion, pitching 5 1/3 innings with zero earned runs to go along with five strikeouts. After struggling out of the bullpen in 2019, Fisher will look to continue his success as a starter.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET

 Sr. RHP Nick Robinson vs. Fr. RHP Nick Dean

Image result for rhode island logoNick Robinson vs.   imageNicholas Dean

Robinson spent the earlier half of his college career pitching out of the pen, but he was given the opportunity to start ten games in 2019 where he went 2-7 with a 6.13 ERA. In his first start this season, he was lit up by Lamar for three runs, six hits, and a walk over just 3 1/3 innings. Robinson is also the younger brother of former Maryland left-hander Alex Robinson.

Dean’s first career start went just as well as a freshman could imagine, as he struck out six batters while limiting Iona to only two runs over 4 2/3 innings. With a foundation to build on, Dean will seek to repeat that performance versus the Rams.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Sr. RHP Vitaly Jangols vs. R-Fr. RHP Sean Burke

Image result for rhode island logoVitaly Jangols vs.   imageBurke_2020

After posting a stellar 2.23 ERA over 60 2/3 innings in his freshman year, Jangols has seen that number increase each year since, as his 2019 ERA reached 6.61. While he spent his first three years at Rhode Island pitching half of his appearances out of the bullpen, Jangols received the ball versus Lamar and pitched 4 2/3 innings, giving up just one earned run.

Vaughn perfectly described Burke’s start against Charleston as “electric,” after the redshirt freshman showed his team what they missed last year while he recovered from an injury. Burke tallied eight strikeouts over just five innings, setting a great first impression heading into the Terps’ home opener and the remainder of the season.