Game Preview: VCU Rams

Maryland at VCU

Maryland finishes its four-game homestand with a matchup against the VCU Rams on Tuesday afternoon. The Terps are coming off a rough weekend series against Ohio State, in which they lost two of three.

The Terps and Rams have already faced off twice this season and met twice last season, as well. Last season, the two teams split their two matchups while this season Maryland has won both matchups, 5-3 and 4-3, respectively.

Last season, Maryland took the first meeting, winning 2-0 in a low-scoring pitchers’ duel. However, VCU bounced back in mid-April routing the Terps by a score of 14-3.

VCU comes into this game 5-5 in their last 10 games, struggling to put together winning streaks after a great start to the season. Like Maryland, VCU lost two out of their three games over the weekend to Richmond. However, two of those losses were by one run and its game on Sunday was lost in an 11-inning marathon.

The Terps continue to struggle at home after the weekend’s two losses, dropping their record at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium to a less than spectacular 7-12. Maryland is currently 11-8 on the road this season and this has kept their overall record close to .500 at 19-21.

The bats produced a combined 24 runs in the weekend series against Ohio State and this type of sustained offensive pressure will be key if Maryland wants to continue to win games moving forward. The Terps also allowed 23 runs, however, and the pitching staff will look to complement an offense that has been good as of late.

After the weekend, the Terps continue to get closer to having a hitter over the .300 mark as shortstop AJ Lee is now the team leader in batting average at .294. Hunter Parsons leads the team on the mound, leading the team with 70 innings pitched and is fourth on the team with a 3.60 ERA.

VCU Rams (28-12, 11-4 A10)

Last Season

Last season, VCU mustered a 34-23 record, enough for a sixth place finish and a berth in the Atlantic 10 conference tournament. VCU was good all season but were outstanding in March going on a 14-game winning streak between March 7 and March 30. The Rams were then knocked out of the Atlantic 10 tournament by No. 3 seed Fordham 3-2 to end their season.

This Season

The Rams have been solid for most of this season with an overall 28-12 record. They had an eight-game winning streak between March 2 and March 13. The Rams currently lead the Atlantic 10 conference by one game over the Dayton Flyers.

Hitters to Watch

The Rams are currently led by sophomore Liam Hibbits, who leads the team with an outstanding .399 batting average. Hibbits also has three home runs, which are third on the team and has 38 RBIs as well. Senior Zac Ching leads the team in home runs with six while junior Paul Witt leads the team with 40 RBIs.

Pitchers to Watch

The pitching attack for the Rams is led by junior Connor Gillispie who currently leads the team with 56.1 innings pitched in 14 starts. He has walked just 14 and has struck out 77 batters over those appearances with a 1.92 ERA. The Rams have mainly relied on Connor Dum out of the bullpen. In 14 appearances Dum has walked 10 and struck out 51 batters; he currently holds a solid 2.90 ERA.

Series Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

maryland-ohiostate

It’s been 16 years since Maryland baseball last won three consecutive conference series.

This weekend against Ohio State, the Terps can accomplish the feat for the second time this century. The last occurrence was in 2003 when Maryland won three straight series against former ACC foes Clemson, Duke and NC State.

That season ended at 20-33 after the Terps lost in a play-in game of the conference tournament as the No. 8 seed. But a series win against the Buckeyes this weekend would potentially help Maryland rise higher than the current fifth-place position in the conference standings with one month left in the regular season.

But the Buckeyes are hot, winning five of their last six games, including a convincing series win against Michigan last week. While Ohio State took down a perennial conference contender in the Wolverines, it was swept by a Northwestern team that Maryland just beat twice on the road.

Ohio State has played nine of its last 10 games at home in Bill Davis Stadium, but will visit a ballpark that Maryland has struggled in this season with a 6-10 record, and most recently, suffered a 14-1 beatdown at the hands of James Madison on Tuesday.

The Terps fell behind 7-0 through six inning on the road Wednesday against George Mason and eventually lost 9-5. Taylor Wright, AJ Lee and Michael Pineiro all recorded multi-hit games, but it was too little too late as Maryland has now dropped three straight midweek games.

Ohio State Buckeyes (21-17, 4-5 Big Ten)

Last season

The Buckeyes were eliminated in the Big Ten semifinals in 2018 before losing both of their NCAA tournament games against South Carolina and UNC-Wilmington. Ohio State was one of the four Big Ten representatives in the national tournament and headed to the tournament for the second time in the last three years.

This season

Ohio State is hovering just above the .500 mark after wining five of its last six games. A four and five-game losing streak stunted the Buckeyes momentum, but after a big series win against Michigan, they’re playing well headed into this weekend, despite sitting in 10th place of 13 teams in the Big Ten standings.

Hitters to watch

Only two Buckeyes have started in all 38 games this season, and they’re both the team’s best hitters. Junior outfielder Dominic Canzone ranks second in the Big Ten with a .368 batting average and leads the conference in hits and runs. Senior utility man Brady Cherry trails on Canzone in hits in the conference and is tied for fourth with 33 runs batted in.

Pitchers to watch

Junior left-hander Andrew Magno and freshman righty Bayden Root have combined for 31 appearances out of the bullpen this season. Magno leads the team with five saves, holding opponents to a .235 batting average while maintaining a 3.57 ERA. Root has struck out 37 hitters in only 25.1 innings while holding competition to a slim .217 batting average.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET

Sr. RHP Hunter Parsons ( 6-2, 2.95 ERA) v. Fr. RHP Garrett Burhenn (5-1, 3.16 ERA)

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Parsons finally had another subpar start after three incredible outings, yet Maryland still walked away with a win last weekend against Northwestern. The righty conceded seven runs over seven innings while striking out seven. The seven runs and hits he conceded were both the most he’s allowed all season.

The freshman has been dominant this season for the Buckeyes, but he’ll face a veteran counterpart in Hunter Parsons. Burhenn doesn’t hand out too many free passes; he’s walked just 19 hitters in 57 innings and has only hit two batters. He’s also only conceded two home runs thus far.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Zach Thompson (1-4, 5.29 ERA) v. R-Fr. LHP Seth Lonsway (5-3, 3.88 ERA)

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After conceding five runs last weekend against Northwestern, Thompson has now conceded more than three runs in each of his last three starts. Even when Thompson has fared well, Maryland hasn’t. The Terps have only won one of the nine games Thompson has started in, the last coming on Feb. 22 against Maine.

Also in his first season pitching for the Buckeyes, Lonsway has held opposing hitters to a slim .215 batting average in nine starts this season. He’s struck out 61 hitters in only 51 innings, but he’s also handed out 30 walks. He was the Big Ten pitcher of the week earlier this month.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Fr. RHP Trevor LaBonte (1-3, 5.85 ERA) v. So. LHP Griffan Smith (3-2, 4.25 ERA)

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LaBonte got off to a very hot start to his college career, but has now given up 18 earned runs over his last three starts. He conceded eight runs on seven hits in five innings against Northwestern last weekend, but Maryland’s offense provided enough run support to hand LaBonte a no-decision.

Technically the “veteran” of the Buckeyes weekend rotation, Smith is the only one of the three with an ERA north of 4.00. He won’t pitch as deep into ballgames as Lonsway or Burhenn, and has allowed just over one hit per inning this season.  Last year, Smith made 23 of his appearances as a reliever.

 

Game Preview: George Mason Patriots

Maryland vs George Mason

Maryland baseball (18-18) lost 14-1 on Tuesday against James Madison but will look to put that showing in the past when the Terps take on George Mason on the road Wednesday in another midweek game.

George Mason took down Maryland 8-5 in the last matchup, which was in 2017 since last year’s game was cancelled and not rescheduled. The two sides will not play each other again for the rest of this season. The Patriots are 2-14 in their last 16 games. Their last series win came against Manhattan College in early March.

Maryland will look to improve on its 4-1 record in road midweek games this year. Overall, the Terps have performed better on the road than at home with an 11-7 record away from College Park.

Before Tuesday, the Terps bats had been hot as of late. Despite only the one run against James Madison, they’ve still plated 50 runs in their last 6 games. The now three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week Maxwell Costes is slashing .280/.411/.500 on the season. He leads all eligible Maryland hitters in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Randy Bednar is also having a successful season at the dish, leading the Terps with 39 hits, seven home runs, and 33 RBI. Freshman Andrew Vail is having himself a solid season out of the bullpen, leading all Maryland pitchers with an 1.86 ERA in 12 appearances.

George Mason Patriots (13-21, 1-8 A10)

Last Season

George Mason was 29-27 last season, making it to the Atlantic 10 Tournament championship but lost to No. 1 seed Saint Louis. They posted a 16-8 record in conference play which earned them the No. 2 seed in the A10 Tournament.

This Season

George Mason comes into Wednesday’s game with a 13-21 record but have defended its home turf well with a 9-6 record in Fairfax. On the road, the Patriots are an abysmal 1-15. They are last in the conference standings with a 1-8 record.

Hitters to Watch

Junior Logan Driscoll leads the Patriots in every major offensive category with a .339 batting average and eight home runs. He is also getting on base at an outrageous clip with a .475 OBP. Sophomore Cam Reckling has also stood out at the plate for the Patriots, batting .282 with 37 hits.

Pitchers to Watch

James Beasley, a reliever, leads the Patriots with a 3.31 ERA and an 0.93 WHIP in 10 appearances. None of the Patriot starting pitchers are posting quality numbers this year with ace Brian Marconi leading the rotation with a 5.03 ERA in 48.1 innings pitched.

Game Preview: James Madison Dukes

Maryland vs JMUMaryland hosts the James Madison Dukes on Tuesday, as the Terps look to stay consistent after taking two out of three from the Northwestern Wildcats over the weekend.

The two teams faced off twice last season and Maryland took both of those matchups, 2-1 and 6-1. The two sides will face off twice again this season, with the second game scheduled for May 14.

James Madison comes into this game on a two-game win streak after beating the William & Mary Tribe twice over the weekend. However, before this win streak, the Dukes had lost eight in a row and have only won two out of their last 10.

Maryland will look to improve upon their less than spectacular 6-9 record at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium on Tuesday, as they continue to play better on the road than at home. The Terps are currently 11-7 on the road this season.

The Terps bats will also look to stay hot heading into this week after scoring a combined 32 runs over the weekend series against Northwestern. The Terps have also scored four or more runs in seven of their last 10 games and will look to continue this against the Dukes.

After the weekend, freshman Maxwell Costes leads the team in batting average, currently hitting at .287. The Terps have struggled to get someone above the .300 plateau for most of the season but do have multiple hitters close. Hunter Parsons continues to lead the starting pitchers with a 2.95 ERA, and over 64 innings, he’s struck out 49 and walked just 16.

James Madison Dukes (20-17, 4-8 CAA)

Last Season

James Madison had a modest 26-26 record last season and was not able to qualify for the CAA tournament. The Dukes won 13 games both on the road and at home last season amassing their 26 wins. The Dukes were right around .500 all season until they lost seven in a row between April 25 and May 11.

This Season

This season the Dukes have been trending upward as they are currently three games above .500 at 20-17. They have also been far more successful at home, going 15-9 at Eagle Field. However, the Dukes are disappointingly 5-8 on the road and this has pulled them down to seventh in their conference standings, the same place they finished last year. The Dukes will look to get even higher above the .500 mark in this upcoming matchup against the Terps.

Hitters to Watch

The Dukes have two players hitting above .300, including freshman Nick Zona who is hitting .337 heading into the week. The other is Tevon Dabney hitting at .321. Dabney is also a freshman infielder similar to Zona. Not far behind Zona and Dabney are juniors Brady Harju and Matt Dipasupil who are currently hitting at a .290 clip. Dabney currently leads the team in home runs with six and Harju leads the team with 25 RBI.

Pitchers to Watch

Another junior, Kevin Kelly, has led the attack in terms of starting pitching for the Dukes as he leads the team with 53.2 innings pitched. Sophomore Nick Stewart however, leads the starters in ERA, posting a 2.80 in 45 innings pitched. Kelly is second with a 3.86 ERA. The relief attack for the Dukes is led by Nick Robertson, who currently has a 1.08 ERA and six saves in 16 innings.

Series Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

Maryland vs Northwestern

Maryland (16-16) is coming off a 1-1 record in its midweek games against William & Mary and West Virginia. Now, the Terps are on the road to take on Northwestern (15-14), which is riding a four-game winning streak. 

Maryland’s midweek games were two very different tales. Against William & Mary, the Terps poured on a season-high 16 runs on 12 hits, including four homers en route to a 16-10 win. The following game against West Virginia, the Terps only totaled one run on five hits and fell 8-1.

During the midweek games, the Terps used 10 different pitchers, resulting in 14 earned runs over the two games. Maryland hopes to get solid starts out of the starting pitchers this weekend, similar to last weekend against Illinois, where starters only accounted for seven earned runs.

In terms of hitting, sophomore Justin Vought, who has struggled as of late, belted a grand slam against William & Mary, accounting for four of his five RBIs on the day. Freshman Josh Maguire is continuing to make an impact after recently being inserted into the starting lineup. Maguire hit .375 in the midweek games with two RBIs and three runs scored.

Senior Taylor Wright continues to lead the team in batting average, hitting .276 and also leads the Big Ten in doubles with 12. Sophomore Randy Bednar ranks third on the team with a .260 batting average but leads the team in RBIs (28). The outfielder also is tied for the team-high in home runs (5).  

Northwestern Wildcats (15-14, 4-2 Big Ten)

Last season

Northwestern was near the bottom of the Big Ten with an overall record of 17-32, while posting a 6-18 record in conference play. Maryland hosted Northwestern dropping the first game of the series, but picked up the next two to win the series. Both of the Terps’ wins were decided by one run.

This season

The Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the conference, winning nine of their last 10 games. Northwestern also possesses a four-game winning streak, including a series sweep against Ohio State. During this hot streak, Northwestern has outscored its opponents 36-12.

Hitters to watch

As a team, Northwestern is hitting .270 and leads the Big Ten in stolen bases with 49. The Wildcats have four batters hitting .300 or better, as the Dunn brothers stick out. Senior Jack Dunn leads the Big Ten with a .374 batting average, while his younger brother, David Dunn posts a .333 batting average. Along with the Dunn duo, senior Willie Bourbon leads the team in RBIs (23) and is tied with a team-high in home runs (3).

Relievers to watch

Junior Nick Paciorek posts a 2.08 ERA and has picked up a team-high, three saves. The righty has appeared in 13 innings and has allowed three earned runs, while limiting opposing hitters to a .156 batting average. Sophomore Anthony Alepra has done the most work out of the Northwestern bullpen, totaling 16 innings with a 2.81 ERA.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Friday, 4:30 p.m. ET

Sr. RHP Hunter Parsons (5-2, 2.21 ERA) vs. So. LHP Quinn Lavelle (3-3, 4.08 ERA)

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Parsons, the Maryland ace has been very consistent on Friday nights. In each of his last three starts, the Senior has pitched into the eighth inning. Parsons leads the team with 42 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched.

For the Wildcats, Lavelle has won his last two starts, including one complete game shutout against San Jose State. The sophomore has the most innings pitched for Northwestern with 46.1 and is tied for a team-high in strikeouts with 31.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Saturday, 3:00 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Zach Thompson (1-4, 5.04 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Mike Doherty (2-0, 6.35 ERA)

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Thompson will be looking to pick up hist first win since February. The Junior had a solid outing last weekend against Illinois, tossing seven innings, while surrendering four earned runs. Thompson ranks second in most innings pitched (44.2) and strikeouts (34).  

Doherty has done a lot of work out of the bullpen but is expected to make his fourth start on Saturday. In his first two starts, the freshman threw five innings in each but last weekend he only tossed two innings. Doherty has thrown 17 innings, racking up 15 strikeouts but also walking 12 batters.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Fr. RHP Trevor LaBonte (1-3, 4.63) vs. TBD

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The Terps’ Sunday starter, LaBonte threw a solid 5 ⅓ innings, allowing just one earned run last weekend against Illinois. The freshman has pitched 35 innings and has picked up 30 strikeouts.

Game Preview: West Virginia Mountaineers

Maryland at WVU

After a come-from-behind win over William & Mary on Tuesday, Maryland takes on West Virginia in College Park for the second game in as many days. With Tuesday’s win, the Terps improved to 16-15 on the year and 6-1 in midweek matchups.

In the 2018 campaign, the Terps faced the Mountaineers in West Virginia to begin their last month of regular-season play. But West Virginia won 9-5, and Maryland came home with the loss.

Now, Maryland enters the Wednesday contest against West Virginia riding a two-game win streak, having won three of its last four games; the Terps took down the Fighting Illini last weekend with a 2-1 series win.

Three Terps are batting over .250: senior Taylor Wright (.280), sophomore Randy Bednar (.270) and freshman Maxwell Coster (.270). While Maryland’s lineup may not be stacked with high batting averages, almost all of the Terps’ usual starters have an OBP of .350 or above.

With a plethora of young arms in the bullpen, Maryland has been well-set on the mound in midweeks, and has the ability to pitch by committee if needed. With only four pitchers contributing in Tuesday’s matchup, the Terps have plenty of fresh arms to call upon on Wednesday, including Nick Turnbull (2.61 ERA) — who hasn’t pitched in almost a week — and closer John Murphy (3.68 ERA), who last pitched on Friday against Illinois.

West Virginia Mountaineers (19-12, 4-5 Big 12)

Last Season

West Virginia defeated Maryland 9-5 in West Virginia. The Mountaineers went on to a 29-27 record, 9-15 in Big 12 play, enough to qualify for the Big 12 tournament, of which they were eliminated from by TCU. As a team, it finished the season hitting .280, backing a pitching staff with a 4.79 ERA. 

This Season

The Mountaineers head to College Park coming off a 2-1 series win over No. 23 Oklahoma State. West Virginia will look to add to their 19-12 record, including a 6-1 record in midweek matchups.

Hitters to Watch

Only one Mountaineer — sophomore infielder Tyler Doanes — is batting above .300 (.306). Including Doanes, West Virginia has six players hitting above .250, including the team leader in OBP, senior Ivan Gonzalez (283 AVG, .425 OBP). Sophomore catcher Paul McIntosh, batting .257, leads the Mountaineers in homers with seven on the year — one-fourth of the team’s 28 so far this season. 

Relievers to Watch

With a pitching staff throwing a 3.46 ERA, the Mountaineers have three relievers with 0.00 ERAs, though two have pitched fewer than five innings. 

On Wednesday, the Mountaineers’ defense will be lead by junior Nick Snyder, who holds a 1.75 ERA in 51.2 innings pitched and six games started. The left-hander also has 38 strikeouts in those 51.2 innings, giving up only seven runs on 15 hits and 27 free bases (16 walks and eight hit batters).

Game Preview: William & Mary Tribe

Maryland vs William mary

Maryland returns home after a week long road trip to take on William & Mary in a midweek matchup on Tuesday. The Terps, who are coming off a series win at Illinois, seek revenge on the Tribe after dropping a game in Virginia last week.

Heading into last week’s game against William and Mary, Maryland was a perfect 5-0 in midweek games on the year, but the Tribe handed the Terps their first loss with a dominating score of 8-1.

A total of seven pitchers threw for Maryland, after starter Tuck Tucker went four innings. Sean Fisher was the most successful out of the many relievers, who tossed 1.2 innings with two strikeouts and conceding only one hit.

In their latest series, the Terps traveled to Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini in a Big Ten weekend series. After dropping its last three weekend series including two sweeps to East Carolina and Creighton, Maryland was desperate for a different result.

In the first game, the Terps rallied for four late runs in the ninth to earn the series opener. With a few singles, bunts and wild pitches, Maryland took advantage to take the lead and not give it back.

The Terps dropped the second game of the series, losing to Illinois 5-1. It seemed as if the Terps were making yet another comeback after getting two runners on in the ninth, but they failed to bring anyone home to even the score. Maryland took the series with a 8-4 win over Illinois in the third game. Randy Bednar blasted a three-run homer to left, his team-leading fifth of the season.

William & Mary Tribe (20-9, 4-4 CAA)

Last Season

The Tribe had the fewest wins in the program’s last 20 years with a grand total of 15, three of which came on the road. Their postseason hopes were eliminated with a 16-game losing streak to end the year. The Terps, however, dropped both games against William & Mary in the 15-win season.

This Season

As opposed to a disappointing 2018 campaign, William & Mary has started this year hot, posting 20 wins in the first two months of play. In the first 12 games of the spring, the Tribe only dropped one game and picked up big wins in non-conference play. With an even 4-4 record in CAA conference, William & Mary sits in fourth place, two games out of first.  

Hitters to Watch

Three hitters in the Tribe’s lineup are hitting above the .300 mark this season. Senior infielder Zach Pearson leads the team with a .327 average, complimented by 23 runs driven in. He is followed by senior catcher Hunter Smith, who with an average of .321 has hit eight home runs and 29 RBIs in as many games played. Freshman Hunter Hart is hitting .300 with 15 RBIs of his own.  

Relievers to Watch

Sophomore Randall Prosperi is the Tribe’s best arm out of the bullpen. In 17.1 innings of work, the righty has a 2.08 ERA with 19 strikeouts, while also picking up three wins in his tenure. The other effective reliever for William & Mary has been redshirt-junior Chris Farrell. In 15.1 innings, the righty has fanned 25 batters while only letting up 10 hits.