Tournament Preview: Greenville Regional

For the first time since 2017, Maryland (28-16) is in the NCAA Tournament thanks in part to a late-season 20-5 stretch from March 29 to May 21 to set the best 25-game stretch in program history. The Terps won seven straight series wins to end the season and finish second in the Big Ten standings. 

Maryland is slated as the No. 3 seed in the Greenville Regional which features the host No. 1 seed East Carolina, the No. 2 seed Charlotte and No. 4 seed Norfolk State.

Helping lead Maryland back to the NCAA Tournament was the top three guys in their lineup all earning Big Ten honors. Shortstop and Big Ten home run leader Ben Cowles was named First-team All-Big Ten. Center Fielder Chris Alleyne was named to the Second-team All-Big Ten and Second Baseman Matt Shaw was an at-large on the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.

Pitching wise, Jason Savacool was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, and Ryan Ramsey out of the bullpen was named Second-team All-Big Ten. 

Luke Shliger was also named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.

Maryland enters the postseason being ranked No. 24 in the D1 Baseball top-25. This weekend will also feature the first time all season Maryland faces a non Big Ten opponent.

Maryland owns an all-time record of 8-9 in the NCAA Tournament with its best performances being back-to-back super regional appearances in 2014 and 2015. In its last appearance in 2017, Maryland went 1-2 and did not make it out of the opening round.

Being four years since their last appearance, Maryland does not have much NCAA Tournament experience on the roster. Only two players remain from that 2017 team, pitcher Tyler Blohm, who’s battled injuries all year, and Elliot Zoellner, a key part of the Maryland bullpen. 

This is Rob Vaughn’s first NCAA Tournament as a head coach but he is not a stranger to the big stage here as he was a part of the staff under previous head coach John Szefc during the 2014, 2015 and 2017 NCAA Tournament appearances. Vaughn also made it as a player in 2009 for Kansas State and 2011 as an assistant coach. 

Maryland will face Charlotte for the first time ever in program history at 6:00 P.M. Friday from Clark-LeClair Stadium with Jason Savacool taking the mound. In a double elimination format a win would send them to the winners bracket Saturday against the winner of East Carolina/Norfolk State matchup which is at noon Friday. A loss would mean they play the loser of that matchup also on Saturday with their season being on the line. 

Charlotte 49ers (39-19)

Last Season

Charlotte’s season was cut short after 17 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the 49ers with a 9-8 record. Their biggest win was against No. 8 NC State but they were also swept by No. 22 East Carolina. 

This Season 

Charlotte won the Conference-USA regular-season championship and was ranked throughout the season and was in the host discussion for the NCAA Tournament but settled for the No. 2 seed in the Greenville Regional after being bounced from the Conference-USA tournament. 

Hitters to watch 

Charlotte’s lineup is well-balanced across the board but is led by third baseman Austin Knight and first baseman LuJames Groover III. Knight has a .351 batting average, a 1.024 OPS and a team-high 61 RBI on the season. Groover III sits just behind in batting average with a .350 average. Groover III also has a .880 OPS and 34 RBI on the season. 

Pitchers to watch  

Starting pitching-wise Charlotte is led by Andrew Lindsey who will get the start Friday against Maryland. Lindsey has a 6-1 record, a 4.64 ERA in 77 2/3 innings pitched this season. Bryce McGowan is the second guy to watch for with a 7-4 record and a 4.62 ERA in 78 innings pitched this season. Out of the bullpen, Christian Lothes has a 2.72 ERA and a 4-0 record in 20 appearances and one game started as well. 

East Carolina Pirates (41-15)

Last Season 

East Carolina’s season was cut short after 17 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the Pirates with a 13-4 record. While they did not play any ranked teams they did sweep Charlotte but did lose to Indiana and Ole Miss. 

This Season

East Carolina is one of college baseball’s biggest powerhouses getting the No. 13 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates won the regular season AAC title but lost in the semifinals of the AAC conference tournament to UCF. However, on paper this is a team capable of making a deep run into the tournament ranking among the national leaders in nine different categories such as in hits, sac bunts and K to BB ratio.

Hitters to watch 

Where do we start with a dangerous team like this? What about the AAC Conference Player of the Year and Second Team All-American Connor Norby who has a .424 batting average, a 1.173 OPS, 51 RBI on the season and at one point set the school record with a 56-game on-base streak going back to 2020 that ended on May 21. Thomas Francisco is another name to watch with a .368 batting average, a .992 OPS and 44 RBI on the season. Josh Moylan also checks in with a .321 batting average, a .887 OPS and 32 RBI. 

Pitchers to watch

AAC Pitcher of the Year and First-Team All-American Gavin Willams is the ace of the East Carolina pitching staff. Williams has a 1.32 ERA which is fourth in the NCAA, a 10-0 record, allowing 10 earned runs on the season while opponents only have a .176 batting average hitting off of him. Another starter to watch out for is Carson Whisenhunt who is 6-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Out of the bullpen, Cam Colmore is the name to watch. Colmore made 28 appearances with one start and posted a 1.74 ERA.

Norfolk State (25-26)

Last season 

Even though it was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 season was not kind to the Spartans finishing with a 3-13 record. They did get a win against Old Dominion but had losses against VCU and Kentucky.

This season 

Despite the under .500 record it has been a historic season for Norfolk State which is making its first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They did it in dramatic fashion by winning the MEAC conference tournament in extra innings, 7-6, over North Carolina Central to earn an automatic bid. 

Hitters to watch

Norfolk State is led by two-way player and MEAC Player of the Year Danny Hosley who has a .375 batting average, a .961 OPS and has 23 RBI on the season. First-team All-MEAC second baseman Aslander Womack is another name to watch with a .358 batting average, a .899 OPS and leads the team with 36 RBI. First-team All-MEAC outfielder Dionte Brown checks in with a .312 batting average, and a .790 OPS. He also leads the team in stolen bases with 19.

Pitchers to watch 

Hosley is the name to watch on the Norfolk State staff making Second-team All-MEAC as a pitcher. Hosley posted a 2.95 ERA and leads the team with 79 strikeouts. Left handed pitcher and Third-team All-MEAC James Deloatch is another name to watch. Deloatch has a 2.58 ERA and a 7-2 record but gives up a lot of walks with 41 on the season, the most on the team. Out of the bullpen, Nolan Manzer has a 0.81 ERA and a 1-1 record in 13 appearances and 22 1/3 innings pitched.

Series Preview: Indiana Hoosiers

For the first time since 2017, the Maryland Terrapins (26-15) will be entering a series as a ranked team coming into the 2021 season finale as the No. 25-ranked squad in the country, according to D1 Baseball.

Maryland’s placement amongst the top-25 in the nation is greatly due to getting hot at the right time, as the Terps have won more games than any other Power Five school in the past 19 games (16). As it stands, Maryland owns a second-place tie with Michigan in the Big Ten standings with a chance to cement its position against the Indiana Hoosiers.

Part of the Terps’ scorching-hot stretch comes from Big Ten Freshman of the Week Matt Shaw. After leading Maryland to a series win last weekend against the Wolverines, Shaw’s batting average for the second half of the season stands at over .400. Playing all but three games this season, Shaw is slashing .346/.413/.532 with five home runs and 27 RBI.

Shaw’s infield-mate Benjamin Cowles has also continued to be a powerful catalyst in the Terps’ lineup, owning a sizable lead in the Big Ten home run standings with 17 bombs on the year, four more than the three batters tied for second.

While the offense has certainly stolen the show for Maryland, the pitching has also had great contributions to the second-half success the Terps have seen. Last weekend’s series isn’t the best indicator of what the rotation has done, but ever since Head Coach Rob Vaughn shifted the weekend starters to Nick Dean-Jason Savacool-Sean Burke, the runs have come at a minimum for opponents.

That change has held opponents 3.91 runs per game against Maryland’s pitching providing a comfortable cushion for the offense, which had been scoring seven runs per game in that stretch.

It’ll take a Michigan sweep of the Nebraska for the Terps to match the first-place Cornhuskers 29-11 record, but even if that comes to fruition Nebraska owns the tie-breaker over Maryland. Either way the weekend goes, Maryland will be controlling its own fate in the second-place spot since it owns the tie-breaker against Michigan.

The season finale will begin Friday at 6:30 P.M at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, where the university is opening attendance up to full capacity for the first time this season. The following two games are Saturday at 2:00 P.M. and Sunday at noon.

Indiana Hoosiers (25-16)

Last Season

Indiana’s 2020 season was cut short at 15 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the Hoosiers with a 9-6 record in the early going. Their lone conference game was a 17-2 clobbering of Purdue in just seven innings, very representative of the strong offense they brought to the table (6.33 runs per game).

This Season

Indiana’s shortened 2020 season may have displayed a strong offense, but its 2021 has been dominated by incredible pitching. The Hoosiers’ pitching staff has compiled a strong 3.13 ERA this season, led by a dynamic one-two punch of McCade Brown and Gabe Bierman.

Hitters to Watch

The Hoosier bats don’t pack much of a powerful punch, sitting in the middle of the Big Ten when it comes to power numbers. However, it’s been two batters who have been leading the way for Indiana: Cole Barr and Grant Richardson. Barr and Richardson both own a .900+ OPS and are the first two within Indiana’s home run standings with eight and seven, respectively.

Pitchers to Watch

The aforementioned Brown and Bierman are the two biggest names to watch on this Indiana pitching staff by quite the large margin. Brown has been included in many draft prospect lists for the 2021 MLB Draft, including being ranked No. 94 on MLB Pipeline’s top 200 draft prospect list. He boasts a 3.26 ERA this season, but more impressively a 92-35 strikeout to walk ratio. Bierman owns the Hoosier rotation’s best ERA at 2.78 with slightly less eye-popping strikeout numbers.

Pitching Matchups

Friday, 6:30 P.M.

RHP Jason Savacool (7-2, 5.32 ERA) vs. RHP John Modugno (3-1, 2.08 ERA)

vs.

Savacool ran into the biggest road bump of his freshman season last weekend against Michigan, where he couldn’t get through the third inning before letting up six runs on six hits. The start bumped his season ERA to 5.32, but numbers won’t matter when he heads to the mound Friday night in the biggest start of his young collegiate career.

John Modugno has only started three games for the Hoosiers prior to his Friday night slot in College Park, but he’s been stellar regardless of coming out of the bullpen or starting on the hill. His season ERA stands at 2.08 and he’s coming into the weekend with an eight-inning scoreless streak.

Saturday, 2:00 P.M.

RHP Sean Burke (4-3, 3.94 ERA) vs. RHP McCade Brown (5-3, 3.26 ERA)

vs.

Burke has been on quite the roll in his last handful of starts, stringing together four straight wins and recording a 2.50 ERA in those four starts. He’s certainly back in form as the pitcher who’s ranked No. 73 in MLB Pipeline’s top 200 draft prospects list.

In the battle of likely 2021 MLB draft picks, Brown will toe the rubber coming off a somewhat short but impactful start against first-place Nebraska. While he wasn’t able to lead his team to victory, he pitched five innings and had two runs scored against him while striking out eight Cornhuskers.

Sunday, 12:00 P.M.

TBA vs. RHP Gabe Bierman (5-4, 2.78 ERA)

vs.

While Bierman owns the best ERA on the Indiana staff, he has been going through struggles in his last pair of starts. Just last week, he fell short of recording a quality start in a loss to Ohio State, going five innings with three earned runs and a couple walks. Having gone at least six innings in eight of his ten starts to that point, a five-inning outing was certainly uncommon for Bierman.

Series Preview: Michigan Wolverines

The Maryland Terrapins (24-14) head into an important series in the Big Ten standings going on the road this weekend to Ann Arbor to face the No. 24 Michigan Wolverines (25-13, 23-13 Big Ten). The two teams are currently just separated by one game in the Big Ten standings for third place overall with both teams still having an outside chance at catching Nebraska for the top spot. 

These two teams are also familiar with each other with them splitting a previous two game series with Michigan winning 6-5 on April 4 and Maryland winning big 17-7 on April 5. This time around the series will have more meaning in determining the finish of the Big Ten.

The Terps are coming into Ann Arbor red-hot off a series sweep of Purdue winning game one 11-0, game two 6-1 and game three 7-2. The Terps have won five straight games, 11 of their last 12 and five straight series.

The Terps pitching staff overpowered the Purdue lineup holding them to three total runs the entire series. Nick Dean, Jason Savacool and Sean Burke all combined for three quality outings with Savacool picking up his Big Ten-leading seventh win of the season.

The offense exploded for 25 runs the entire series including a grand slam from catcher Justin Vought and star shortstop Ben Cowles hitting his 15th and 16th home runs of the season which continues to lead the Big Ten. Cowles’ batting average sits at .307 and he also ranks second in the Big Ten in slugging percentage at .693.

Maryland’s deep lineup is continuing to get production from the top two spots of the order. Chris Alleyne, who has a .299 batting average, 23 extra-base hits on the season, 28 RBI and 21-23 on stolen base attempts and Matthew Shaw who has a .343 batting average have been excellent in getting the rest of the lineup chances to hit with runners on base. 

And a deep lineup could be getting some reinforcements this weekend with the potential returns of Randy Bednar and Maxwell Costes back from their injuries. 

The offense, defense and pitching all clicked during that important series with Purdue to help get Maryland off the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. D1 baseball currently has Maryland as the No. 3 seed in Tennessee’s region with the chance to improve its seeding and pad its resume these next two weekends against potential NCAA Tournament teams . 

Michigan is coming off taking a crucial series win over then-No. 21 Indiana winning game one 10-3 and winning the series finale 6-1 an important result that jammed up top of the Big Ten standings even more.

Second baseman Ted Burton was named Big Ten player of the week after batting .583 (7-for-12) with three doubles and a home run as well as a 1.083 SLG and a .615 OBP. 

Left fielder Tito Flores matched Burton with a .615 OBP during the series and also batted over .500 in the series including four-extra-base hits. 

The important series for both teams will also get some television coverage with the first two games of the series being broadcast on the Big Ten Network. 

The first pitch of game one of the series is scheduled for Friday night at 5:00 p.m., followed by game two of the series at the same time Saturday and game three on Sunday to close out the series at 1:00 p.m. 

Michigan Wolverines (25-13, 23-13 Big Ten)

Last Season: (8-7)

Michigan finished the shortened 2020 season at 8-7 but picked up wins over No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 9 Arizona State and picked up a win in a series against No. 24 Pepperdine. 

Michigan was led last year by star outfielder Jordan Nwogu with a batting average of .353 and a OPS of .845. Jack Blomgren also help pace the offense with a batting average of .286 and an OPS of .837. Both players have moved onto the MLB being drafted and are currently in the minor leagues. Infielder Riley Bertman led the team with 10 RBI.

Pitching-wise for Michigan, Cameron Weston led the team with a ERA of 0.90 in seven appearances with one game started. Steven Hajjar led the teams in wins with a 3-0 record as well as a 2.70 ERA.

This season: 

Hitters to Watch:

Michigan is one of the most balanced offenses in the nation where eight different players have connected for at least five home runs.

Michigan ranks second in the Big Ten in batting average of .279 and first in RBI with 252 and is also first in walks drawn with 190. 

Hitting-wise Burton is the player to watch. He leads the Big Ten in slugging percentage (.694), and a .365 batting average, a .446 on-base percentage and has hit safely in seven straight games and 13 of his last 14.

Shortstop Benjamin Sems also chips in with a .348 batting average and Flores chips in with a .319 batting average and is second on the teams with RBI with 30.

Pitchers to Watch:

Pitching-wise Michigan ranks second in the Big Ten with a 3.98 ERA on the season. The  Wolverines pitching staff is led by both Hajjar with a 4-0 and a 3.02 ERA and Weston who is 5-3, and has a 2.85 ERA. Out of the bullpen Isaiah Paige paces the team with a 1.88 ERA in eleven games pitched.

Starting pitching matchups:

Friday: RHP Nick Dean (3-1, 2.68 ERA) vs LHP Steven Hajjar (4-0, 3.02 ERA)

vs.

Dean is coming off his fifth-straight quality outing last weekend where he kept Purdue scoreless going six innings and giving up only six hits. Dean also still leads the Big Ten with only nine walks given up and is second in ERA. 

Hajjar is coming off a good outing against Indiana last weekend going 6 ⅓ innings striking out eight hoosiers and giving up three runs on a day he got plenty of run support. Hajjar is second in the Big Ten in strikeouts with 88 and has a good chance this week to take over the top spot

Saturday: RHP Jason Savacool (7-1, 4.69 ERA) vs RHP Cameron Weston (5-3, 2.85 ERA)

vs.

The freshman Savacool labored through his start against Purdue last weekend but was still able to put together a quality outing going six innings, giving up one run, and picking up his seventh win of the season to continue to lead the Big Ten in that category. Savacool was roughed up back on April 5, in his previous start lasting only two innings and giving up four runs on only four hits.

Weston is coming off a loss against Indiana last weekend where he only gave up one run on four hits in five innings pitched. Weston is fourth in the Big Ten with 66 ⅓ innings pitched on the season. Maryland was able to get to Weston back on April 4, tagging him for four runs on only five hits and drawing four walks.

Sunday: RHP Sean Burke (3-3, 3.90 ERA) vs RHP Jacob Denner (4-3, 3.86 ERA)

vs.

Burke had a bounce back quality outing last week against Purdue going six innings giving up only one earned run on only four hits despite not having high strikeout numbers. Burke also comes in at sixth in the Big Ten in strikeouts at 79. Batters are also struggling to hit Burke’s electric stuff, hitting a .187 batting average off of him this season. MLB scouts have certainly noticed this trend.

Denner is coming off a win against Indiana in the series finale. He went 6 ⅓ innings giving up only one run on only four hits and only walking one batter. Denner has 50 strikeouts on the season compared to 17 walks.

Series Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

The Maryland Terrapins (21-14) look to continue their series-winning ways this weekend as they return home to Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, to take on a struggling Purdue Boilermakers squad (11-21), giving the Terps an opportunity to further boost their chances of making the NCAA Tournament. 

Coming off a series win over Illinois, the Terps have won four straight series, have eight wins in their last nine games, have won 15 of their last 20 games, and are getting hot at the right time looking to make a push at making the NCAA Touranment for the first time since 2017. D1 baseball currently has Maryland among the last five teams in the projected field of 64 leaving no room for error.

“We’re in a position to where we control our own destiny, and that starts [with] this weekend,” Coach Rob Vaughn said.

Despite being shut out 2-0 in the first game against the Fighting Illini. The Terps bats combined for 17 runs in both games of the doubleheader en route to a 5-3 and 12-4 wins to win the series. 

Star shortstop Ben Cowles continues to stay hot with his 14th home run of the season leading the Big Ten and has homered at least once in each series this season. The Terps hit six home runs in game two of the doubleheader against the Fighting Illini. Catcher Justin Vought, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week, went 4-5 at the plate in the series. He accounted for three of those home runs in game two of the doubleheader. Vought is the first Terp since Tyler Bennett in 2009 to hit three home runs in a single game.

For the third time this season, pitcher Jason Savacool has been named Big Ten Freshman of the week. Savacool (6-1) went 8 1/3 innings and gave up four hits, three runs, and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts that kept the Fighting Illini the best offense in the Big Ten contained. 

Purdue is coming off a 5-1 loss against Ohio State in a one-game midweek matchup Tuesday. Their previous series against Northwestern was postponed, as the Wildcats continue to pause team activities due to health and safety concerns within their program.

First pitch of game one of the series is Friday night at 6:30 P.M., followed by game two on Saturday at 2:00 P.M. and game three on Sunday to close out the series at 1:00 P.M. 

Purdue Boilermakers (11-21)

Last season: (7-7)

Purdue finished the shortened 2020 season with a 7-7 record with loses to three ranked ACC teams Duke, NC State and North Carolina in the 2020 Cambria College Classic.

Infielder Evan Albrecht led the team with a .364 batting average, 14 RBI and .442 on-base percentage.

On the mound, the Boilermakers were led by Jett Jackson who finished 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in four appearances. 

This Season:

The Boilermakers currently sit in 12th place in the Big Ten standings. Things have not been bright for the Boilermakers on the road where they hold a 2-8 record. The Boilermakers also started off slow on the season (1-8), putting them in an early hole. The Inconsistency continued with a five-game win streak in April followed a five-game losing streak right after.

Hitters to watch:

Senior outfielder Miles Simington comes into the series with a .339 average, .955 OPS and leads the team with 21 RBI. Simington has also reached base safely in 21 straight games and during that stretch has hit .350 with more walks than strikeouts. Fifth-year catcher Zac Fascia has a .314 batting average himself with a .791 OPS and 17 RBI. Outfielder Ben Nisle has a .289 batting average, .983 OPS and 19 RBI. Outfielder Mike Bolton Jr. is also a name to watch on the base paths as he is perfect 11-11 on the season in stolen bases. Overall the Boilermakers ranked 12th in the Big Ten in batting average hitting .245. 

Pitchers to watch:

Purdue has not fared well pitching-wise ranking 12th in the Big Ten with a 6.10 ERA. Overall there’s not one pitcher who’s stood out this season for the Boilermakers but Calvin Schapira, Trent Johnson and Cory Brooks are their go-to guys to start. Eric Hildebrand is the go-to guy out of the bullpen pitching in 13 games with a team leading 3.60 ERA on 15 innings pitched. 

Starting pitching matchups:

Friday: RHP Nick Dean (2-1, 3.07 ERA) vs Calvin Schapira (0-5, 4.34 ERA)

vs.

Dean is coming off a great outing last week against Illinois despite taking the loss. The right-hander went 7 ⅔ innings, gave up two runs (one earned) on only five hits and one walk against the top offense in the Big Ten. Dean has now pitched four consecutive quality starts — going at least six innings and surrendering three or fewer earned runs in each outing. Dean also leads the Big Ten in fewest walks allowed only giving up seven walks on the season. 

Schapira was roughed up in his last outing against Ohio State on April 30. He gave up five runs on seven hits in only three innings of work. His best outing of the season came against Michigan State where he pitched eight innings of one-run ball and recorded seven strikeouts on April 17.

Saturday: RHP Jason Savacool (6-1 5.02 ERA) vs RHP Trent Johnson (2-4 4.35)

vs.

For the third time this season, Savacool was named Big Ten Freshman of the week. Savacool went 8 1/3 innings and gave up four hits, three runs and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts against Illinois. Savacool ranks 8th in the Big Ten in innings pitched with 57 ⅓ total innings and is tied for most wins on the season.

   Johnson pitched an inning of relief against Ohio State Tuesday and recorded three strikeouts. If you’re looking for a strikeout guy on the Boilermakers staff Johnson is your guy with 56 strikeouts on the season and a 1.51 WHIP.

Sunday: RHP Sean Burke (2-3 4.20 ERA) vs RHP Cory Brooks (2-2 6.31 ERA)

vs.

Burke is coming off a 2 ⅔ inning outing against Illinois where he struggled and gave up six walks and allowed one earned run. Despite that, Burke still ranks 6th in the Big Ten with 75 strikeouts and batters are only hitting a .187 batting average off Burke on the season. Of course he is also No. 44 overall in Baseball America’s latest MLB Draft rankings as of last week. 

Brooks pitched three innings Tuesday against Ohio State where he gave up three runs on only three hits and took the loss. Brooks has started five games this season but has also pitched out of the bullpen in six other games. Opponents are hitting a .307 batting average off of Brooks making him hittable for the Maryland lineup. Brooks does not have a tendency to give up free bases either ranking 10th in the Big Ten in fewest walks allowed with only 13 on the season. 

Series Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini

The red-hot Maryland Terrapins (19-13) look to continue their winning ways this weekend as they head to Champaign, Illinois, to take on a Fighting Illini squad (15-16) looking to get back in the win column.

Coming off a three-game sweep of Minnesota, the Terps are in the midst of a historic six-game win streak, matching their longest Big Ten winning streak in program history. Led by a pair of excellent pitching performances over the weekend coupled with timely hitting, Maryland outscored the Golden Gophers 22-10 last weekend at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. 

The Terps have been swinging the bat great as of late. At the plate, Freshman Matt Shaw led the way with six hits last weekend while Chris Alleyne extended his season-best hitting streak to eight games. Right-hander Nick Dean went seven strong innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out eight while earning his second win of the season last Friday. Freshman phenom Jason Savacool went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits in Saturday’s walk-off win. Star shortstop Ben Cowles will look to add to his Big Ten-leading 13 home runs this weekend and first baseman Maxwell Costes heads into Friday’s contest with a five-game hit streak.

Winners of five of their last seven, the Fighting Illini were originally slated to meet Northwestern and No. 22 Michigan twice each in last weekend’s pod series hosted by Northwestern. However, the Wildcats were forced to pause team activities due to health and safety concerns within the program, leaving Illinois to face Michigan four times instead of the originally scheduled two. Illinois held their own with the Wolverines, salvaging a split but allowing a combined 37 runs in the two losses. 

Opening pitch of the three-game series is set for Friday at 7:00 p.m. on Big Ten Network Plus, while game two will be Saturday at 5:00 p.m. on Big Ten Network Plus. The series finale is set to begin at noon on Sunday on the Big Ten Network.

Illinois Fighting Illini (15-16)

Last Season:

The Illini were off to a great start last season, scoring a pair of top-25 victories as well as securing a road win against Coastal Carolina. The team finished the abbreviated season with an 8-5 record and played multiple collegiate baseball powerhouses including top-ranked West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. Infielder Branden Comia led the team with a .426 average and a 1.228 OPS in 13 games. On the mound, Illinois saw Freshman Cole Kirschsieper finish 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA. 

This season:

Illinois got off to a rocky start this season, dropping their first three to No. 23 Ohio State. However, they rebounded with four straight wins. This team lives and dies with a high-powered offense. If Maryland can silence the Illini’s bats, it could be a long weekend for Illinois. Manager Dan Hartleb’s club tends to be streaky — they have a pair of four-game win streaks and a trio of three-game losing streaks. 

Hitters to watch:

Senior Jackson Raper leads the Fighting Illini offense with ten home runs and 38 RBI along with a .350 average. Raper is on the conference’s top ten leaderboard in each of those categories. He became the first Illini since 2013 to hit for the cycle, as he did so in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader against Michigan. First baseman Kellen Sarver has also seen recent success at the plate, tallying at least one RBI in ten of his last 11 contests while hitting .385/.378/.718 with four home runs over that stretch. Comia picked up where he left off last season and leads the Big Ten with a sparkling .497 OBP along with ranking sixth in the conference in hits (40) and fifth in average (.357). As a team, the Illini rank top five in the Big Ten in batting average, hits, runs and OBP. What the Illini lack on the hill they make up for at the plate.

Pitchers to watch:

Illinois has not fared as well on the mound, as the team sports a collective 7.30 ERA. Friday’s starter Andrew Hoffmann has seen the most success on the hill for the Illini this year, but more on him in a minute. The pitching staff has given up at least 11 runs in half of their losses, and gave up a season-high 19 runs in only seven innings on Sunday.

Starting pitching matchups:

Friday: RHP Nick Dean (2-0, 3.51 ERA) vs. RHP Andrew Hoffmann (1-0, 3.96 ERA)

vs.

Dean: The sophomore right-hander has been fabulous on the mound this season, allowing only more than three earned runs once in six outings. Dean is coming off a seven-inning start where he gave up just one earned run and one walk against Minnesota. The righty has outstanding control, walking only six batters in 33 1/3 innings this season. The Terps have been victorious in each of his last five starts. 

Hoffmann: As mentioned before, if you’re looking for Illinois’s ace, you’ve found him. A reliable arm on a starting staff that has struggled for much of this season, Hoffmann is tied for the team lead in innings and has a WHIP just above one. Opponents are hitting a mere .217 off Hoffmann, eighth-best in the conference. The sophomore has made seven starts in 2021, with his most recent on Saturday in a no-decision against Michigan. He limited the Wolverines to three earned runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings. Earlier this year, the John A. Logan Community College transfer was rated the 14th-ranked MLB draft prospect in the Big Ten by D1Baseball.

Saturday: RHP Jason Savacool (5-1, 5.33 ERA) vs. LHP Nathan Lavender (5-1, 4.46 ERA)

vs.

Savacool: The freshman had a nice bounce-back outing Saturday in the win versus Minnesota, going six innings and allowing just two earned runs on six hits. After an excellent start to the year that featured a complete-game victory, Savacool cooled down and gave up at least four earned runs in four of his next five starts. The New York native has done a nice job limiting the home run ball and does not tire easily, as his pitch count typically sits in the nineties. The Terps have won all but one of his nine starts this year.

Lavender: Lavender may not have the best stuff on the Illini roster, but he sure knows how to rack up wins. The left-hander has five wins in as many starts, although he has struggled as of late. The Hudson, Illinois native has given up at least four earned runs in three of his past four outings, including being hit by the Wolverines for five earned runs on seven hits Saturday night. The rough start raised his ERA from 3.55 to 4.46. The lefty ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 57 strikeouts. Lavender has an excellent strikeout to walk ratio of 5:1 and will look to get Maryland hitters to chase early in the count. The left-hander missed last season with an injury but has stayed healthy this year.

Sunday: RHP Sean Burke (2-3, 4.24 ERA) vs. RHP Riley Gowens (1-2, 5.14 ERA)

vs.

Burke: The hard-throwing right hander is slated to take the hill for the Terps in the series finale. While Burke has not worked over six innings this season, he has reached double-digit strikeouts three times this season, including a career-high 13 in his season debut against Michigan State. Burke ranks third in the nation in strikeouts per nine (14.68) but is coming off his shortest outing of the year on Sunday, a scoreless appearance over three innings that included only two strikeouts. Burke is comfortable with high pitch counts and threw a season-high 117 pitches at Iowa in late April. The right hander’s electric stuff speaks for itself: he ranks No. 44 overall in Baseball America’s latest MLB Draft rankings.

Gowens: The right-handed freshman finally made his collegiate debut on the mound this season after being sidelined for two years with injuries. He has swing-and-miss stuff, striking out at least six in four outings in 2021. He has done a nice job keeping runners off the base paths and has allowed less than one hit per inning this season. Gowens’s ERA has hovered around six all season, but the bright spot was his seven no-hit innings against Purdue back in late April, earning him Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors. He’ll look to replicate that success against a tough Terps lineup.

Series Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers

The Maryland Terrapins will be returning to College Park to host a series against a struggling Minnesota Golden Gophers team, a series that promises a chance to improve Maryland’s record and keep their new winning tendencies rolling.  

The Terps are coming off a successful outing in Iowa, taking three of the four games of the pod series against the Hawkeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats. The explosive offensive energy that emerged in Iowa City will be needed this weekend to secure a few wins over a Minnesota team that has seen better years.  

Game one of three will kick off Friday night at 6:30 p.m., followed by game two on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and game three on Sunday to close out the series at 1:00 p.m.  

The Terps struggled early in Iowa last weekend, dropping game one to the Hawkeyes 12-6 after failing to capitalize on runners in scoring position. This issue was a short-lived one, as Maryland shook off the nerves and finished out the series with dominant offensive and pitching performances.  

Maryland will be looking to none-other than Senior Benjamin Cowles to light up the offense against the Golden Gophers. In Iowa, Cowles sent out a three-run bomb to start off the second game of the series against the Hawkeyes and had a critical RBI single in the close win against Northwestern 2-1. He continues to lead the Maryland offense with a .323 batting average and his offensive talent will be crucial in the upcoming series.  

Minnesota is a team that has struggled defensively this season, allowing 250 runs across their 27 games. Just four of those games were wins for the Gophers, and even then, the defense allowed numerous runs on the road to the W. Maryland will have a chance to prove their win streak is not a fluke and wake up their offense this weekend against a team that has had little success this year.  

Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-23) 

Last Season: 

Prior to the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, last year’s Minnesota team had managed to get more wins in nine games than this year’s team. The 2020 Golden Gophers finished 8-1 and possessed a .284/.381/.393 slash line. Their OBP is nearly .300 lower than their 2021 numbers, yet the results of this year’s games are nowhere near the early success of last year’s team.  

This Season: 

The Gophers have seen better seasons and arrive in College Park dragging a ten-game losing streak behind them attached to their 4-23 overall record. The Gophers boast a .236/.679/.352 slash line thus far on the season, impressive numbers that don’t quite match up the sheer amount of losses experienced and runs allowed for this Minnesota defense. Maryland will have a chance to capitalize on their low morale, as their most recent loss to Big Ten rival Indiana ended in a double digit win for the Hoosiers 23-1.  

Hitters to Watch: 

The star of this Golden Gophers offense can be found in Junior infielder Zack Raabe, a player that leads Minnesota in batting average (.379), hits (33), runs (15), on base percentage (.481) and slugging percentage (.609). On March 14, Raabe became one of 45 players across the nation to be named to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, and although he struggled in the most recent series against Indiana, his stats this season and his accomplishments are just two reasons he can’t be counted out just yet. Other hot hitters for the Golden Gophers include homerun leader Easton Bertrand and RBI leader Ronald Sweeney.  

Pitchers to Watch: 

Reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week Jack Liffrig will be arriving in College Park following a strong showing against Michigan State last week, throwing seven shutout innings to the Big Ten’s only nationally ranked team. Liffrig has secured himself a 4.86 ERA thus far, and Maryland’s bats will need to come alive if they are unfortunate enough to face off against the sophomore pitcher with the skills to back up his award. Minnesota’s pitching staff also boasts a second strong starting pitcher in Sam Ireland, who’s last starting performance against Michigan State saw the sophomore work himself out of multiple dangerous innings. He enters College Park with a 4.10 ERA, the lowest on this Golden Gophers team.  

Starting Pitching Matchups:

Friday: RHP Nick Dean (1-2, 4.10 ERA) vs. TBD

vs.

Nick Dean is making his first Friday start of his career, opening up the series against Minnesota rather than the typical Sean Burke. Dean is in the midst of a four-game pitching win-streak, recording a quality start in his last outing against Iowa as well as a season-high 94 pitches.

Saturday: RHP Jason Savacool (5-1, 5.65 ERA) vs. Jack Liffrig (1-1, 4.86 ERA)

vs.

While Savacool still leads the way for Maryland pitching wins, he’s yet to get back to the level he was at in his first few starts. He’s led the way to two wins in his last two starts, but his ERA over those games stands at 7.59. However, he has been striking out more batters as of late, amassing ten strikeouts in his last pair of starts.

After starting his season with two complete games in three starts, Liffrig has hit somewhat of a rough patch. In his last four starts, he’s surrendered 13 runs over 25 innings, but one of those starts was a stellar seven-inning, shutout outing with eight strikeouts against a strong Michigan lineup.

Sunday: RHP Sean Burke (2-3, 4.53 ERA) vs. RHP Tom Skoro (2-2, 8.02 ERA)

vs.

Burke is moving to the Sunday spot for the first time this season, and it comes after two of his stronger starts of the season. In those starts, he struck out 19 batters while allowing just four runs in 11 2/3 innings. After his first three starts sent his ERA up to 6.46, but his recent run has him sitting at 4.53 ahead of his date with Minnesota.

Skoro has come out of the bullpen for the majority of his appearances, including his last appearance that ended in disaster against Indiana. In a 23-1 loss to the Hoosiers, Skoro came out of the pen for four innings giving up five runs and three walks. This will be his first start since March 13.

Series Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes and Northwestern Wildcats

With a big weekend on deck, Maryland baseball looks to keep its winning streak alive. Coming off a huge series sweep, the Terps have the chance to continue their offensive energy that began at The Bob last weekend.

The Terps dominated the Ohio State Buckeyes at home winning all three games to move their record above .500 for the first time this season. Hoping to continue their momentum, the Terps will be traveling to Iowa City, IA, for a four-game pod with a pair of matchups against both the 15-10 Iowa Hawkeyes and 12-12 Northwestern Wildcats.

The first games of the weekend will be up against the Hawkeyes, game one will start on Friday at 8:05 p.m., and game two will start on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. For game three, the Terps will finish out the double-header on Saturday against the Wildcats at 6:05 p.m. To wrap the series, the Terps will face the Wildcats again on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

The Terps’ important series sweep last weekend against Ohio State helped them climb to 13-12 and a tie for fifth in the Big Ten standings. With a collective 24 runs across the weekend, Maryland dominated game one scoring seven runs in the sixth en route to a 10-6 win. In game two, the Terps captured a 5-4 win in ten innings thanks to a bases-loaded walk. For the final matchup, Maryland came from behind to secure the 9-4 victory, as the Terp pitching staff held the Buckeyes scoreless after the third. 

Maryland will look to offensive players Chris Alleyne, Maxwell Costes, and Matt Shaw to continue strong performances this coming series. Alleyne hit .400 on the weekend and stole seven bases. Costes and Shaw each had hits in all three games.

The Hawkeyes are coming off a 3-1 series win in Piscataway, NJ against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Iowa racked up 32 runs in the four games with Izaya Fullard recording seven hits in the series. Maryland’s offensive energy will need to stay strong to combat Iowa’s high run-scoring this season (6.0 runs per game). 

In the second half of the weekend pod, the Terps will take on the Wildcats, a team coming off a 1-2 series loss against the Indiana Hoosiers. In the first loss, Northwestern rallied in the seventh but fell short, 5-4. In the second loss, Indiana kept the Wildcats scoreless, beating them, 4-0. Overall, the Wildcats have lost four of their last five games. Maryland will look to capitalize on Northwestern’s recent struggles.

Iowa Hawkeyes (15-10)

Last Season

The Iowa Hawkeyes finished the shortened season due to the COVID shutdown with a 10-5 record. The team slashed .295/.391/.408 and their pitching staff closed with a solid 3.39 ERA. 

This Season

The Hawkeyes have stayed consistent with their shortened 2020 season. Iowa has boasted a .251/.371/.418 slash line so far, and are fourth in the Big Ten standings. The Hawkeyes pitching staff has shown strength putting up a 4.06 ERA. The Hawkeyes are coming off a 3-1 series win and have won eight out of their last ten games.

Hitters to Watch

The Hawkeyes have plenty of hitters to keep an eye on. Redshirt Senior Ben Norman is in the midst of a breakout season recording 29 hits, nine home runs, 30 RBI, and claiming Big Ten Player of the Week on April 20. Norman has scored in 17 out of his last 21 games to top off his success. Redshirt Freshman Peyton Williams has also recorded big stats so far this season with a .282/.452/.620 slash line with seven doubles and five homers. Redshirt Junior Izaya Fullard came out big last weekend with seven hits, his highest for a series this season. 

Pitchers to Watch

The Hawkeyes pitching staff has held its own this season, with Trenton Wallace and Cam Baumann, both Redshirt Juniors, throwing a total of 81 strikeouts this season. Baumann has topped the Hawkeyes pitching staff putting up a 2.62 ERA with a 3-2 record and holding opposing batters to a .184 batting average. Wallace posts a 2.87 ERA with a 3-1 record. Drew Irvine, a Redshirt Sophomore, also shows promise with 33 strikeouts this season.

Northwestern Wildcats (12-12)

Last Season

In the 2020 season, the Wildcats fell just short of a .500 season, finishing 6-7. The team hit for a .239/.327/.340 slash line along with a bullpen boasting a 3.63 ERA.

This Season

Despite their even record, Northwestern has put up a .271/.356/.496 slash line so far this season. The Wildcat pitching staff has room for improvement with a 4.80 ERA. Northwestern will be looking to change things around after coming off a 1-2 series loss and losing seven out of their last ten games. 

Hitters to Watch

The Wildcats have a good balance of power and average this season, with four hitters averaging .300 and above. Juniors Anthony Calarco and Shawn Goosenberg lead the pack combining for a total of 70 hits, 17 home runs, 19 doubles, and 39 RBIs. Calarco tops Northwestern’s stats with a .360/.443/.680 slash line; Goosenberg follows suit with a .327/.391/.692. In the Cats last showing, Vincent Bianchina smacked back-to-back home runs to  also put him in the spotlight.

Pitchers to Watch

Northwestern’s bullpen has struggled this season, but pitchers Mike Doherty, Sam Lawrence, and Reed Smith have made notable appearances this season. Friday starter Junior Doherty has a 2.98 ERA this season along with 23 strikeouts. Smith boasts a 2.87 ERA with a win and two losses. Graduate student Sam Lawrence captured his first win last weekend in game two against Indiana, allowing just one hit in closing the game. He also has a team-high three saves.

Starting Pitching Matchups

Game 1: RHP Sean Burke (4-3, 4.50 ERA)  vs. LHP Trenton Wallace (3-1, 2.87 ERA)

vs.

Most recently coming off a pitching win against Ohio State, Redshirt Sophomore Sean Burke will look to continue his personal record above .500. Burke has thrown 62 strikeouts so far this season posting a respectable 4.50 ERA.

Iowa will bring in a strong arm in Trenton Wallace for the opener of the series. Wallace boasts a 2.87 ERA for the season with a total 52 strikeouts thus far. Maryland will have to bring their A-game to plate.

Game 2: RHP Nick Dean (3-1, 4.43 ERA)  vs. RHP Drew Irvine (2-2, 4.00 ERA)

vs.

With three straight pitching wins against Northwestern, Nebraska, and Ohio State, sophomore Nick Dean will look to carry that momentum into game two. Dean has thrown 17 strikeouts this season, and in his last showing against the Buckeyes he struck out eight batters, his high for the season.

Coming off two pitching wins, Drew Irvine will be looking to keep his streak alive. At a respectable 4.00 ERA, Irvine has pitched a total of 33 strikeout so far this season and will be a difficult opponent for the Maryland team to face.

Game 3: TBD vs. RHP Mike Doherty (1-1, 2.98 ERA)

vs.

TBD

One of the top arms in Northwestern’s pitching staff, Junior Mike Doherty will open the second half of the weekend. With a tremendous 2.98 ERA and 23 strikeouts, Doherty will look to continue his strong stats this season.

Game 4: RHP Jason Savacool (6-1, 5.12 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler Uberstine (2-2, 5.03 ERA)

vs.

The freshman star, Jason Savacool will finish up the series for the Terps on Sunday. Savacool has held his own this year securing six wins for the team. He has pitched 24 strikeouts this season and in his last showing against the Buckeyes threw a career-high six strikeouts in six innings.

To finish up the pod series, the Wildcats will start Tyler Uberstine. Uberstine has 34 strikeouts this season at 34 innings pitched and after allowing four runs in his last outing against Indiana, he will be looking to shut down the Terps at the plate.

Series Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

An up and down weekend for the Terps resulted in a series loss against the Nebraska Cornhuskers after getting pounded last Sunday, 14-3. The Terps evened the series at 1-1 and entered the final game with a chance to get back to .500 on the season. 

In game one, Senior outfielder Chris Alleyne led the Terps with three hits, but collectively, the team left nine runners on base which led to the 6-2 loss against the Cornhuskers. 

Maryland’s lone win in the series came Saturday, when six different players recorded two hits and the offensive force of Benjamin Cowles had three RBI in the 10-7 victory. 

Following an abundance of hits on Saturday, the Terps couldn’t get anything going in the series finale. The Cornhuskers totaled 16 strikeouts and Junior pitcher Shay Schanaman accounted for 11. 

Earlier in the season, Maryland and Ohio State split a two game slate in Columbus “pod play.” The two teams will be familiar with the opposing teams’ roster, but especially a few starting pitchers that will be taking the mound.

Freshman pitcher Jason Savacool and Sophomore Nick Dean both faced the Buckeyes earlier in the year and are both taking the mound this weekend. As for the Buckeyes, junior Jack Neely is the only starting pitcher for Ohio State that is making a second appearance. 

Ohio State Buckeyes (13-9)

Last Season:

The Buckeyes finished last season with a 6-8 record before the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Ohio State This Season:

While Ohio State is ranked fourth in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes are dead last in the conference for batting average, runs scored and in the bottom three for hits. However, it’s the pitching that’s allowed Ohio State to thrive thus far.

Ohio State has a 4.42 earned run average this season, ranked sixth in the Big Ten, compared to Maryland’s 5.81 ERA.

Buckeyes hitters to watch for:

Freshman Kern Kade is ranked 23rd in the Big Ten with a .333 batting average. Sophomore Okuley Mitchell is another name to watch. Mitchell has five home runs this season. 

Pitchers to watch for:

Maryland will be facing a very stellar pitching staff this weekend. Neely and Junior Garrett Burhenn are both top-20 pitchers in the Big Ten when it comes to ERA and strikeouts. Junior Seth Lonsway, who’s taking the mound on Saturday, has accumulated 54 strikeouts this season which ranks second in the conference. 

Starting Pitching Matchups:

Friday: RHP Sean Burke (1-2, 5.06 ERA) vs. RHP Garrett Burhenn (2-1, 4.15 ERA)

vs.

Burke went 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and four earned runs in his contest against Nebraska. Maryland fell 6-2 against the Cornhuskers. 

Burhenn did just enough last week to secure the win over Michigan. While he surrendered four earned runs and gave up 10 hits, the Buckeyes’ offense helped out leading to the 7-4 victory. 

Saturday: RHP Nick Dean (0-0, 5.84 ERA) vs. LHP Seth Lonsway (1-4, 4.45 ERA)

vs.

Dean had a quality start in his matchup against Nebraska with 4 earned runs through 4.1 innings. His effort helped the Terps get back in the win column with a 10-7 win. 

Lonsway had a similar game his last time out with four earned runs through 4.2 innings pitched. Even with a 10 strikeout effort, the Buckeyes were pummeled 7-0 against Michigan. 

Sunday: RHP Jason Savacool (4-1, 5.01 ERA) vs. RHP Jack Neely (1-1, 4.01 ERA)

vs.

Last outing against the Cornhuskers, Savacool only lasted 1.2 innings after giving up seven hits and five earned runs in a 14-3 loss to Nebraska. 

Neely had a tough matchup against the Michigan Wolverines last week, and only got through 2.1 innings with two earned runs before being pulled in the loss.

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)

vs.

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)

vs.

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

vs.

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)

vs.

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)

vs.

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)

vs.

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)

vs.

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.