This weekend, the Terps head to Ann Arbor to face a tough Michigan team as Big Ten play continues. After an extra-inning win over James Madison on Tuesday, here’s how Maryland can keep the momentum going into the weekend series.
The Stat: RISP
Despite a win on Tuesday against the Dukes, the Terps left 16 runners on base. The lineup has struggled with clutch hitting all season, constantly stranding potential runs.
“We’re just not finishing the innings,” said Vaughn. “It doesn’t always have to be sexy, it’s just a matter of executing.”
If the Terps want to come away with a series win, taking advantage of scoring opportunities is a must.
The Players: Randy Bednar and Justin Morris
Bednar and Morris are two players who could be on their way to turning their seasons around as Maryland enters Big Ten play. Bednar, the highly-touted freshman, entered Tuesday’s contest batting below .200. His two hits against James Madison, including the go-ahead single in the 12th, could be a sign that he is returning to the player who was a top prospect coming out of high school.
Senior catcher Justin Morris’ final campaign in College Park got off to a rough start as well. Yet, a 4-for-10 performance, including a homer against Illinois last weekend, has Morris heading in the right direction as the Terps prepare to face-off against the Wolverines.
The Stat: Steals
The Wolverines will take an extra base if it’s available. With 52 steals on 69 attempts this season, Michigan is tied for 26th in the nation in bases swiped. Ako Thomas and Jonathan Engelmann lead the team with 12 each.
The Players: Jonathan Engelmann, Christian Bullock and Jesse Franklin
Besides leading the team in steals, Engelmann is also leading the Wolverines in batting average, hitting a cool .325 in 30 games this season. His 24 RBIs are also leading the team.
Bullock and Franklin round out a three-headed attack for Michigan, batting .283 and .275, respectively. Franklin also leads the team in long balls, with four on the season.
The Stat: Walks
In Maryland’s 4-2 loss to Illinois on Sunday, it was the free passes that hurt them. The staff allowed seven walks, including three in the eighth inning, when the Illini pulled ahead. Making Michigan earn their way on base will be key this weekend.
The Starter: Hunter Parsons
Parsons was on his way to another strong start on Sunday, allowing one run through 5 ⅔ inning. However, a left-leg injury forced him to exit the game. Head coach Rob Vaughn believed it was not too big of an issue, but it will be something to watch this weekend.
The Reliever: John Murphy
On paper, Murphy looks like a dominant closer. A 2.37 ERA in 19 innings pitched is impressive for one of the Terps main men in the bullpen, and Murphy has been strong this season. However, the stats do not show the inconsistency he’s dealt with on the mound.
On Sunday, Murphy only pitched to one batter, allowing a walk before Vaughn made a switch. On Tuesday, he pitched 1 ⅔ innings of scoreless baseball. Which John Murphy shows up in Ann Arbor this weekend could determine the fate of the Terps.
The Stat: ERA
A 3.29 ERA for the Wolverines’ staff is pretty dominant. With nine (yes, NINE) pitchers possessing an ERA below 4.00, Michigan has done an outstanding job stifling opposing batters.
The Starter: Tommy Henry
Henry will be the Friday starter for Michigan, which makes a lot of sense. Leading the team in innings pitched at 50, the sophomore is undefeated on the season (5-0) with a 2.52 ERA. His 46:15 K/BB ratio isn’t too shabby either.
The Reliever: William Tribucher
Leading the team in saves with three, Tribucher has been dominant out of the pen for the Wolverines. In 22 ⅓ innings pitched, his ERA is an impressive 1.61.
You get it, they’ve won 15 straight games, including six straight in Big Ten Play
Maryland is 2-6 on Friday games. Getting a series-opening win against Michigan would not only help that stat, but give the Terps much-needed momentum heading into the rest of the weekend.