Game Preview: #5 Michigan State @ #4 Maryland

The Terrapins open up their first Big Ten Tournament as the No.-4 seed, and will face off with #5 Michigan St. tonight at 9:00 p.m. CT (10 p.m. EST).

The seeding is as follows:

  • 1. Illinois (45-6, 21-1)Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 11.35.26 AM
    • RPI: 10
  • 2. Iowa (38-14, 19-5)
    • RPI: 30
  • 3. Michigan (33-23, 14-10)
    • RPI: 80
    • Awarded #3 seed over Maryland due to head-to-head record
  • 4. Maryland (36-20, 14-10)
    • RPI: 59
    • Awarded #4 seed over Michigan State due to record vs. common opponents
  • 5. Michigan State (33-21, 14-10)
    • RPI: 48
  • 6. Indiana (32-20, 12-10)
    • RPI: 34
  • 7. Ohio State (35-18, 15-11)
    • RPI: 31
  • 8. Nebraska (34-21, 9-14)
    • RPI: 37

The Terrapins find themselves on the NCAA bubble following a series loss to Northwestern in the last weekend of the regular season, and will need to go deep into the Big Ten Tournament to guarantee themselves a spot in an NCAA Regional. First, the Terps will face the Michigan State Spartans for the first time in program history.

The Spartans have been in Minneapolis, Minn., for almost a week now, as they finished their season with a series against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Gophers, who did not make the Big Ten Tournament after finishing 21-30 (9-15), lost the first game against the Spartans, but took the last two to win the series, much like the Terps dropped two of three to Northwestern.

The Spartans offense has been one of the best in the Big Ten. They ranked in the top-3 in batting average (.291), hits (537) and home runs (43). Their prowess is thanks to two bats in the lineup: seniors Ryan Krill and Mark Weist. Krill, the first baseman, and Weist, the third baseman, have hit 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the lineup throughout the season. They were both recently named to All-Big Ten team—Weist to the First-Team and Krill to the Second-Team.

In the regular season, Weist led the team in hits with 73 and hit .335 after starting in all 54 of the Spartans’ games. He also led the team in doubles with 17. He’s hit safely in 44 of the 54 games, half of those being multi-hit affairs.

Krill followed suit, recording 70 hits on the season, good for second on the team. His .363 average leads the team, and is good for third in the country. His 12 home runs are second-most in the country as well. The first baseman also led the conference in almost every major offensive category during conference play: batting average (.451), slugging percentage (.857), on-base percentage (.545), RBIs (36) and home runs (10).

However, the Terps offense shouldn’t be overlooked. While it’s been streaky—39 runs on 50 hits in three games against Ohio State, and then just seven runs on 13 hits the following weekend against Northwestern—the Terps still lead the league in runs (365) and are tied for first with Illinois in home runs (50). And, while the Terps strike out the second-most in the league (391), they get on base at a .375 clip—thanks to a league-leading 252 walks.

Here are the probables for tonight’s game:

WEDNESDAY AT 9:00 p.m. CT (10:00 p.m. ET)

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (11-2, 1.68) vs. R-So. LHP Cam Vieaux (4-6, 3.64)

702981 Shawaryn HS vs.CamVieaux imgres

Shawaryn will once again bid for a single-season record 12th win. Last Thursday against Northwestern, the sophomore was the tough-luck loser, throwing 6.2 innings, striking out seven and yielding just the decisive run in a 1-0 loss. Shawaryn’s 115 strikeouts on the season are good for 6th in the country.

Vieaux faced Minnesota in his most recent start, giving up 4 runs in 4.2 innings in a 5-4 win. The southpaw has been hit hard this season, giving up 100 hits, and opponents are batting .300 against him. However, despite the less-than-stellar numbers, Vieaux has been a workhorse, pitching the most innings on the team (84.0) throughout his 14 starts.