Series Preview: Michigan State Spartans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 3:05 p.m. EST

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

  vs. 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo

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

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

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 1:05 p.m. EST

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

  vs. 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo

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

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

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 1:05 p.m. EST

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

  vs. 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo

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

Game Preview: James Madison Dukes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. EST

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

James_Madison_University_Athletics_logo.svg.png vs.  1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo 

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

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

Game Preview: George Mason Patriots

Maryland’s postseason hopes took a hit over the weekend after losing all three games at home against Purdue, extending a current six-game losing streak. The Terps (16-23, 3-8 Big Ten) fell to 11th place of 13 teams in the Big Ten with three teams in between them and the last spot in the conference tournament. Now, Maryland hosts George Mason and James Madison in back-to-back midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

In right-hander Mark DiLuia’s first Friday night start of his career against Purdue, he pitched well enough to give his team the opportunity to win. Despite recording 12 hits, though, the Terps only generated one run before the Boilermakers pulled away late.

Another great start from Hunter Parsons on Saturday appeared to be enough to even the series but with a one-run lead in the ninth inning, Purdue hit a game-tying homer to force extras. In the 11th, another solo homer proved to be the difference as the Boilermakers clinched the series victory.

The Terps were well on their way to salvage a game in the series Sunday before a five-run seventh inning for Purdue earned the weekend sweep. Center fielder Zach Jancarski put Maryland up 4-0 early after a three-run homer, and a two-run double from second baseman Nick Dunn gave Maryland a 6-2 lead through six innings.

With an opportunity for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament now minimal, as well, Maryland’s two midweek contests this week will serve as chances to boost confidence before getting back into conference play next weekend at Michigan State.

Tuesday, Maryland hosts George Mason (16-22, 7-5 A10) at 4 p.m. in the first and only meeting this season between the two local foes. The Patriots are 7-5 in conference games this season, but are losers of five of their last seven games. While they’re 11-5 at home, they’ve struggled with a 4-11 record on the road.

Maryland and George Mason met once last season in Fairfax, Virginia, where the Patriots beat the Terps, 8-5. George Mason jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but Maryland fought back within three heading into the final frame. After loading the bases with one out in the ninth, Nick Dunn grounded into a controversial double play to end the game.

George Mason witnessed right-hander Jared DiCesare pitch a game for the ages on Sunday despite a 1-0 loss in 12 innings. The sophomore pitched 10 scoreless innings, allowing three hits, walking nobody and striking out seven hitters. He only threw 99 pitches. The Patriots went on to lose, 1-0, on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th to VCU.

The Patriots don’t have the most impressive pitching arsenal, though, having a 5.11 team ERA so far this season. Only two pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched have an ERA below 4.00. Four of the team’s five starting pitchers this season have ERAs above 4.31.

Senior right-hander Ryan Ricci has been the main reliable pitcher out of the bullpen for the Patriots, throwing 25.1 innings in a team-high 19 relief appearances this season. His 2.49 ERA is easily the best out of the bullpen. Basically every other primary reliever for George Mason has been suspect this season, carrying ERAs north of five runs.

George Mason is led offensively by sophomore Logan Driscoll and senior Trevor Kelly, who both thrived against the Terps last season. The duo went a combined 5-for-8 with four runs and four RBIs. Driscoll was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team last season, while Kelly led the conference with 56 RBIs.

This season, Driscoll and Kelly are the only Patriots who have played and started in all 38 games this season. Driscoll is batting an incredible .377, atop the team lead in hits (57), on-base percentage (.430) and slugging (.523). Kelly is the only other Patriots hitting over .300, batting .322 with team-highs in doubles (14) and home runs (4), and is tied with Driscoll with a team-best 29 runs scored and 30 RBIs.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. EST

TBA vs. TBA

 vs. 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo

Neither team has announced a starter for Tuesday’s contest.

Series Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

With conference play in full swing and warmer weather heading toward College Park, the Maryland Terrapins host the Purdue Boilermakers this weekend, looking to turn things around after a rough week.

After posting a .500 record through two Big Ten home series, Maryland hit the road last weekend, traveling to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take on the Wolverines. The Terps all sorts of obstacles in the series, from starting pitcher injuries to cold weather delays to travel curfews. With the temperature at or below freezing for most of the weekend, the teams managed to only play two of the three scheduled games, both of which were Terrapin losses. Maryland returned to College Park on Tuesday, but fell to VCU, 14-3, to split the season home-and-home series with the Rams.

The Terps (16-20, 3-5 Big Ten) continue to struggle offensively; they have put up 14 total runs in their past five contests, going 1-4 in that stretch. As a team, Maryland is hitting .229 on the year, good for third-to-last in the Big Ten, and is faring just slightly better in conference play, with a .239 mark.

Nick Dunn is the only Terps regular hitting over .300, and he leads the team in most offensive categories, including batting average (.331), home runs (7), runs scored (27) and RBIs (25). Kevin Biondic’s .272 average is the next best mark on the team, and the senior first baseman ranks second with five homers and 21 RBIs as well. Marty Costes has not been able to replicate his dominant sophomore year at the plate, although the outfielder did notch two hits, including his third homer of the season, in Tuesday’s setback. Randy Bednar, Justin Morris and Taylor Wright have all showed signs of breaking out at the plate recently, with Bednar launching a two-run homer – his fourth of the season – against VCU.

On the mound, Maryland has faltered of late, although some of these struggles can be blamed on injuries over the weekend. Friday night starter Taylor Bloom was hit in the head during warmups before Friday’s contest in Ann Arbor and could not start, so Rob Vaughn had to piece the series opener together with redshirt freshman Mike Vasturia and four relievers. In Sunday’s weather delayed series finale, left-hander Tyler Blohm left after one inning with an injury, as usual Sunday starter Hunter Parsons had to toss five innings of relief in the loss.

Kevin Biondic continues to be the best bullpen arm for Rob Vaughn’s squad, leading the Terps with a minuscule 0.50 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 18 innings of work. John Murphy has 30 strikeouts in 20 innings, but his control issues (17 walks, 6 hit by pitches) has led to a lofty 4.05 ERA. As a team, the Terps rank third from the bottom of the Big Ten with a 5.27 overall ERA.

The Boilermakers (16-16, 4-4 Big Ten) come into town stumbling, having lost six of their last seven contests. They split a home-and-home midweek set with Indiana State this week, but got stomped at home last weekend by Minnesota, losing 22-7 and 18-8 before the third game was cancelled. Three of their four Big Ten wins this season came in a sweep of Penn State in University Park, with the other coming in the series opener against then-No. 10 Indiana in the series opener two weeks ago.

Purdue ranks near the middle of the pack in the Big Ten in both batting average (.261) and ERA (4.47). While the Boilermakers have a big advantage over the Terps in average, they just barely best Maryland in slugging (.363 vs. .361) and on-base (.359 vs. .350). They average nearly five runs per game, but do it without much in the power department, hitting just 16 long balls in 32 games.

Jacson McGowan has been the Boilermakers’ most dangerous hitter this season, leading the team with nine homers, 39 RBIs, 24 walks, a .427 on-base percentage and a .593 slugging percentage. His .310 average is second best, behind only Skyler Hunter’s .328 mark. Nick Dalesandro is hitting .305 with a team-high nine doubles and 10 of the team’s 40 stolen bases. Ben Nisle (five homers, 22 RBIs, .484 slugging) is also a power threat for the Terps to be wary of.

Left-hander Ross Learnard is the go-to arm in Purdue’s bullpen. The senior has allowed just two runs (both earned) in 17.2 innings of work, for a 1.02 ERA, while striking out 17 hitters. Freshman right-hander Bo Hofstra leads the bullpen with 26.2 innings of relief work (not including a three-inning start early in the season), posting a 3.64 ERA in his 15 appearances. Trent Johnson owns a 1.88 ERA in nine appearances (five starts), but has been slotted into the rotation in recent weeks.

The Terps and Boilermakers met only once last year, in the Big Ten Tournament. Maryland came out victorious, 5-2, thanks to five shutout innings from Taylor Bloom and an eighth-inning bases loaded double by Kevin Smith. The Terps took two out of three from Purdue in College Park in 2016.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 6:30 p.m. EST

Sr. RHP Tanner Andrews (3-3, 2.50 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Mark DiLuia (1-2, 5.92 ERA)  

   vs. 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo

Senior right-hander Tanner Andrews takes the ball for Purdue on Friday night. He leads the Boilermakers with 50.1 innings pitched and 43 strikeouts, even after a rough outing last time out against Minnesota. Last Friday, he made it through just 3.2 innings against the Golden Gophers, surrendering six runs (three earned) on six hits and five walks while not recording a strikeout. Unearned runs have been a common theme for the 6-foot-3 right-hander this season, as only 14 of the 26 runs he has allowed have been earned.

With Taylor Bloom still recovering from being hit in the head last week in Michigan, right-hander Mark DiLuia will get the nod for the Terps in the series opener. The freshman has seven midweek starts and nine total appearances under his belt, but this will be his first career weekend (and conference start). DiLuia’s past two starts have been the best of his young career. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball last week at James Madison, a week after holding William & Mary to one run over six innings. He did not receive a decision in either outing, and will look to pick up a win with another strong start in conference play.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 2 p.m. EST

Jr. LHP Gareth Stroh (4-2, 5.67 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Hunter Parsons (3-2, 3.18 ERA)

   vs. 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo

Entering Big Ten play, Gareth Stroh was putting together a strong junior campaign. Through seven starts (including one conference start against Penn State), he owned a 3.12 ERA, and had completed five innings five times. However, his past two outings, against Indiana and Minnesota, have been a different story. He lasted a combined five innings in the two starts, allowing 15 runs (13 earned) on 11 hits and seven walks to raise his ERA by more than two runs. The left-hander got the start against Maryland in the Big Ten Tournament last year, allowing two runs over 5.1 innings of work.

With eight starts (and ten appearances) under his belt, Hunter Parsons has been the Terps’ best starter this season. The right-hander leads the team in ERA and innings (and ranks fourth in the conference with 56.1 innings pitched). He didn’t get a start last weekend due to the weather-shortened series in Ann Arbor, but contributed five strong innings of relief in Sunday’s loss, allowing just two runs while striking out seven Wolverines. This will be his first Saturday start, after occupying the Sunday spot in the rotation up until this point.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 1 p.m. EST

Fr. RHP Trent Johnson (1-1, 1.88 ERA) vs. So. LHP Tyler Blohm (4-2, 3.99 ERA)

   vs. 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo

Freshman Trent Johnson has worked himself into the Purdue rotation in the past month, as Sunday’s outing will be his fourth weekend start in the last five weeks. His last time out, Tuesday against Indiana State, Johnson threw three hitless innings, allowing just two walks while striking out three. Against Penn State on March 31, he turned in the best start of his career, striking out six in five scoreless frames, but then allowed three runs in 3.1 innings against Indiana the following week. The right-hander has whiffed 26 hitters in 25 innings of work, and opponents are hitting just .173 off him, but has struggled with control at times, walking 16 batters.

A week after leaving his start after one inning due to arm discomfort, Tyler Blohm will take the hill Sunday this weekend, rather than in his usual Saturday role. In his last full start, two weeks ago against Illinois, the southpaw was brilliant, striking out nine over 6.1 innings of one-run ball, and he will look to return to that form against Purdue. Blohm leads the Terps with 46 strikeouts in 45 innings, and opponents are hitting .244 off him.

Game Preview: VCU Rams

Maryland baseball will look to erase last weekend from its mind when it opens up a six-game homestand Tuesday against VCU, a team it previously shut out on the road earlier this season.

While it was a frustrating three days for the Terps (16-19, 3-5 Big Ten) over the weekend, it wasn’t necessarily because they lost both games of a weather-shortened series. With Michigan unbeaten in eight conference games, on 17-game winning streak and 52-10 in home games in the last four years, losing two games on the road against the Wolverines isn’t all that devastating.

But between six-plus hours of sitting through freezing weather delays and watching two starting pitchers unable to compete because of injuries, it became a long and dreary weekend in Ann Arbor. Aside from a pair of two-RBI doubles from AJ Lee and Nick Dunn on Friday, and two solo homers from Taylor Wright and Kevin Biondic on Sunday, the Terps struggled to keep pace with a Wolverines offense that took full advantage of Maryland’s starting pitching misfortunes.

It’s a new week, though, for the Terps. Maryland will look to complete a sweep against VCU in its two-game season series when the Rams come to College Park on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. first pitch. The Terps won the first matchup this season, 2-0, back on Feb. 28 in Richmond.

Maryland, despite only having two hits in the first contest against the Rams, did just enough offensively to generate a pair of runs. Catcher Justin Morris used a safety squeeze with bases loaded to scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning. The following inning, Nick Dunn drove in the only other run in the game on sacrifice fly.

Freshman midweek starter Mark DuLuia picked up his first collegiate win, tossing four scoreless innings. The right-hander allowed four hits and a walk while striking out seven. Four relievers followed, conceding just one hit combined in the last five innings of the game. Elliot Zoellner pitched two innings out of the bullpen before Sean Fisher, Kevin Biondic and John Murphy each tossed an inning to complete the collective shutout.

Since then, VCU (23-13, 8-4 Atlantic 10) has added several quality wins to its resume while jumping out to an 8-4 start in conference play. The Rams shut out then-ranked No. 17 East Carolina—a team that beat the Terps three times— holding them to just three hits on the road. VCU also beat Virginia, 11-3, at home in a midweek game a few weeks ago.

Paul Witt, Haiden Lamb and and Daane Berezo have started in all 35 games this season, boasting the three highest batting averages on the team. Witt, a sophomore, leads the Rams with 43 hits, 29 RBIs and a .328 batting average. Lamb, a senior, leads the team with 24 runs scored and 17 stolen bases on 21 attempts.

VCU has had strong pitching throughout the season, allowing just four runs per game. Its top bullpen arms—Benjamin Dum, Mac McCarty, Hayden Moore and Jack Alkire—all have thrown more than 20 innings this season. Dum has a bullpen-best 1.17 ERA in 23 innings, while McCarty and Alkire are holding hitters below a .200 average. McCarty also has an incredible 13 saves in VCU’s 23 wins.

The Rams are coming off a series win at home against St. Bonaventure, winning both halves of a Friday doubleheader before dropping the third game of the weekend on Saturday.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 4 p.m. and starting pitchers have yet to be announced for either team.

Series Preview: Michigan Wolverines

With two Big Ten series under their belt, the Terrapins will hit the road for the first time in conference play this season, traveling to Ann Arbor for a three-game set with Michigan.

Maryland (16-17, 3-3 Big Ten) held James Madison scoreless for the final 11 innings of Tuesday’s extra-inning win, using a career-best seven innings of one-run ball from freshman starter Mark DiLuia and a strong bullpen effort to pick up a 2-1 victory.

DiLuia notched a second straight successful midweek performance and has now allowed just two earned runs in his last 13 innings on the mound. In his last two starts, though, he’s received-decision with a lack of run support.

The Terps bullpen, which cost them a chance at winning their series against Illinois last weekend, was dominant. Grant Burleson, John Murphy and Kevin Biondic combined for five scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Offensively, Maryland had similar struggles with runners on base, going 0-for-14 in those situations through the first eight innings. Shortstop AJ Lee tied the game with a clutch RBI double to force extras, and right fielder Randy Bednar singled with the bases loaded to Maryland its first lead in the top of the 12th.

Head coach Rob Vaughn said after the game that it was a good win for his team, being able find one more run than their opponent. The Terps will look to build off their extra-inning win on the road this weekend against the red-hot Wolverines.

When Michigan lost at home on March 14 to Lawrence Technological University—an NAIA baseball program—the Wolverines dropped to 4-11 on the season. Since then, though, Michigan (19-11, 6-0 Big Ten) has rattled off 15 consecutive wins, including sweeps of Michigan State and Northwestern in its first two conference series.

The Wolverines are averaging 7.4 runs per game during their current winning streak, compared to 4.5 in their first 15 games of the season. Juniors Ako Thomas and Jonathan Engelmann each have 30 hits in the team’s first 30 games, leading Michigan’s offense.

Ako has been cold of late with only one hit in his last 15 at-bats. His 23 walks ranked third in the Big Ten, and he’s only struck out 17 times. Engelmann, though, ranks in the top 10 in the conference with a .325 batting average. He leads the Wolverines with 39 hits and 24 RBI.

The Wolverines aren’t a long-ball team, hitting just 12 home runs in 30 games this season. Jesse Franklin is the team’s greatest power threat, pacing Michigan with four homers and a .493 slugging percentage. They steal a lot of bases, though, ranking third in the Big Ten with 52 steals in 69 attempts, including three players (Thomas, Engelmann, Christian Bullock) with double digit stolen bases.

Pitching has been a strong part of Michigan’s season so far, boasting a 3.29 team ERA. During Wolverines’ current winning streak, their pitchers have held opponents to 2.8 runs per game with four shutouts.

Junior William Tribucher is one of the top arms out of the bullpen, allowing four earned runs in 22.1 innings the season. The southpaw has struck out 26 batters and walked just eight while picking up three saves. Freshman Jeff Criswell has also found success as a reliever with a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched. the right-hander is holding opponents to a .179 batting average.

All three of Michigan’s weekend starters have been successful this season, all with ERAs in the threes or below. Friday night starter Tommy Henry is 5-0 with a 2.52 ERA, averaging over six innings per start. Ben Dragani starts on Saturdays, and he leads the Wolverines starters with a 1.13 ERA. Karl Kauffmann rounds out the weekend, striking out more than one hitter per inning this season.

Maryland and Michigan met up last season in College Park, with the Terps taking two of three games against the then-ranked No. 18 Wolverines. The last time the Terps traveled to Ann Arbor, they were ranked No. 11, but lost the series. Michigan is 11-1 at home this season.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 4:00 p.m. EST

Sr. RHP Taylor Bloom (2-6, 5.20 ERA) vs. So. LHP Tommy Henry (2-2, 2.52 ERA)

 1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_LogoOBWZVXSYRGTEOGI.20160916193835 vs. 47_Henry.jpg Michigan_Wolverines_Block_M.png

Taylor Bloom will look to bounce back from one of his worst college starts last week against Illinois. The right-hander allowed 10 earned runs on 10 hits in five innings last Friday night. He also walked five hitters in his sixth loss of the season. While he has a team-high six losses, it’s typically because of a lack of run support and not a poor performance. Despite a short outing for his standards, Bloom still leads the Big Ten with 55.1 innings pitched, and he has completed six innings in six of his eight starts. He has done a great job this season pitching deep into games, allowing the bullpen to rest up for the rest of the weekend.

Tommy Henry has emerged as a quality Friday night arm for the Wolverines this season, posting a 5-0 record in eight starts. In his last start against Northwestern, the southpaw allowed just two hits in six innings while striking out nine. If it weren’t for his 111 pitches, Henry might’ve had a chance to continue his scoreless outing. The sophomore ranks sixth in the Big Ten in ERA and third in opposing batting average (.202). Henry pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief last season against Maryland.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 2 p.m. EST

So. LHP Tyler Blohm (3-2, 4.08 ERA) vs. Fr. LHP Ben Dragani (3-0, 1.13 ERA)

1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo vs. 21_Dragani.jpgMichigan_Wolverines_Block_M.png

Blohm responded well after a poor outing two weeks ago against Northwestern, allowing just one earned run in 6.1 innings in a win against Illinois in the back-end of a doubleheader last Friday night. The sophomore scattered five hits and struck out nine batters. Blohm struggled against the Wolverines last season, lasting just three innings after conceding four earned runs. He only allowed three hits, but walked two and hit a batter en route to a loss. The southpaw leads all Maryland pitchers with 45 strikeouts in his 46.1 innings of work.

Dragani was absolutely dominant last weekend against Northwestern, allowing just one hit over seven innings without allowing a run. He walked one and struck out five en route to a Wolverines 3-0 win. In his freshman season, the left-hander leads the Big Ten right now with a 1.13 ERA and a .150 batting average against. He’s much more of a contact pitcher, striking out 27 batters in nearly 40 innings. Dragani was Wisconsin’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2017 and an All-State recipient.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 2:30 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Hunter Parsons (3-2, 3.14 ERA) vs. So. RHP Karl Kauffmann (4-2, 3.12 ERA)

1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_LogoRMZBYNJDDYBZPMM.20150924191225.jpg vs. 37_Kauffmann.jpgMichigan_Wolverines_Block_M.png

Parsons continues to impress week after week this season, allowing just one run over 5.2 innings last weekend against Illinois. He received the no-decision in what turned into a Terps loss. The right-hander allowed three hits while striking out seven hitters. Parsons lowered his ERA even further, and it’s still the lowest among Maryland’s starting pitchers. The junior ranks second in the Big Ten in innings pitched (51.2) and eighth in opposing batting average (.215).

Kauffmann didn’t have his best stuff in his latest outing last weekend against Northwestern, allowing five hits with three walks and a hit batter in five innings. He didn’t let that hurt his performance too much, though, conceding just two earned runs. Kauffmann doesn’t pitch particularly deep into ballgames with as season-high of 6.2 innings. The right-hander hasn’t pitched more than six innings since that season-high on March 3, so the Terps will look to get into the Wolverines bullpen as early as possible.

Game Preview: James Madison Dukes

Maryland baseball was nine outs away from winning a second consecutive series to begin Big Ten play, but Illinois scored three runs late to leave College Park with a pair of wins. The Terps offense showed signs of life—averaging 10 hits per game over the weekend—but their pitching faltered late to lose Sunday’s rubber game.

The Terps, 2-6 in midweek games, will look to improve that record on Tuesday, as they begin a home-and-home series on the road against James Madison on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Maryland beat the Dukes in both meetings back in 2016.

After the weekend, the Terps (15-17) are tied for eighth in the Big Ten with a 3-3 record in their first two conference series. While Maryland came up short over the weekend, there were several bright spots offensively.

First baseman Kevin Biondic continues to have an eventful senior season, going 5-for-11 at the plate and pitching two scoreless innings Sunday. His batting average has climbed to second on the team (.275) and his 0.55 ERA in 16.1 innings this season is still the lowest on the team.

After going hitless in Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader, catcher Justin Morris went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI, including a three-run blast to propel the Terps to a victory in Game 2. Picking up another hit on Sunday, Morris’ weekend is a pleasant sign with conference play still early. His homer Friday was his first of the season.

Second baseman Nick Dunn continues to be the consistent contributor in the Terps lineup, picking up a hit in all three games over the weekend. His .342 average is 67 points higher than Biondic, who is second on the team. Dunn, after the weekend, ranks fourth in the conference in home runs and total bases. The junior hit leadoff in the first two games of the series before moving back down into the three-hole for the series finale.

On the mound, Taylor Bloom struggled in Game 1, allowed all 10 runs Illinois earned. Maryland’s bullpen, though, didn’t allow a hit for the last four innings of the game. Grant Burleson, Alec Tuohy and Billy Phillips all had scoreless outings. Tyler Blohm and John Murphy combined to hold Illinois to just one run just hours later, earning Maryland’s win. After Hunter Parsons pitched another solid game on Sunday, three relievers all allowed runs to lose the series.

Similar to Maryland, James Madison (15-15) has had a back-and-forth season, quickly shifting from a positive result to a negative one from opponent to opponent. The Dukes swept High Point, beat a Richmond team that already took down the Terps, destroyed Tennessee 21-2 on the road, and dropped a close one-run game to a ranked Virginia team.

However, James Madison is also currently 2-7 in the conference, losing seven of it last nine games. The Dukes were just swept by College of Charleston over the weekend, and their offense only provided seven runs over the three games.

Freshman Josh Jones has led of the Dukes offense with a .330 average at the plate. He is second on the team with 32 hits in 28 games this season and is a perfect 7-for-7 on stolen base attempts. He started his college career by reaching base in 22 of his first 23 college games.

Coming off an incredible junior season where he hit .337 with 11 home runs, Adam Sisk is the other hitter on the team batting at least .300. He leads the Dukes in hits, total bases and runs scored. Sisk picked up four hits over the weekend, including a three-hit game on Friday.

The Dukes have three players with at least four homers. Sisk and sophomore Fox Semones have four, while sophomore Harry Brown leads the team with five. Brown, though, is very prone to strike out. He leads the team with 40 strikeouts in 30 games.

James Madison’s pitching has been a strength this season with a team ERA of 3.67. The Dukes top three starters all have ERAs below four and are holding hitters to a below .250 average. Their leading reliever, Garret Richards, has 2.25 ERA in a bullpen-best 20 innings pitched this season.

The team’s pitching was great again over the weekend, but didn’t have the run support. The staff allowed just 11 runs in the three games, but were swept. The bullpen allowed just one earned run the entire weekend.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. EST

Fr. RHP Mark DiLuia (1-2, 6.97 ERA) vs. TBA

   1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo    vs.James_Madison_University_Athletics_logo.svg.png

Freshman Mark DiLuia’s season ERA is still high, but he looked just fine in his last start against William & Mary. The right-hander pitched six innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits and a walk. He also struck out six. DiLuia allowed his run in the very first inning, but tossed five consecutive scoreless frame to finish his outing. He pitched well enough to earn a win, but didn’t receive much run support from his offense. This will be DiLuia’s seventh start this season, and he’ll look to make it two strong midweeks starts in a row.

James Madison has yet to announce a starting pitcher.