Following a disappointing end to last weekend’s series, in which the Maryland Terrapins dropped two out of three games to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the fate of the Terps’ season rests in an upcoming battle with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in what will be the last home series of the season.
Currently in 11th place in the Big Ten, Maryland will need to jump three spots in their final six games in order to qualify for postseason play. One of the teams ahead of them is the Scarlet Knights, who have one more conference win than the Terps entering the weekend.
“Everything that we want to do is still in front of us,” said A.J. Lee. “If we play well, I think we’ll play fine.”
The Terps enter the series with a little momentum, as an 8-7 comeback win over Towson on Wednesday showed that the team has plenty of fight left in them. In a game that had no effect on Maryland’s postseason chances, the team could have easily thrown in the towel after quickly falling behind 3-0. However, the Terps battled in the back-and-forth contest, coming out victorious after junior Nick Dunn delivered the walk-off RBI hit in the 10th inning.
“We have a saying, ‘we’re never out of the fight,’” Dunn said. “That’s how we play, no matter who we’re playing, what the score is, that’s how we go about it.”
When Rutgers comes to town, the Maryland offense will have a little more confidence as they step into the box Friday. Despite a poor showing last Sunday against Nebraska, where the Terps only managed two runs, the lineup has been strong in three of their last four contests, scoring a combined 30 runs.
For Dunn (.339 avg.) and seniors Zach Jancarski (.264) and Kevin Biondic (.296), things are clicking at the plate as of late, and the trio will provide a strong top-of-the-lineup presence in the remaining six games.
As for the Maryland pitching, it will once again take a team effort against Rutgers. After working seven strong innings last Sunday, Taylor Bloom (2-7, 5.32 ERA) looks back to his old self and will be in line to make a start this weekend. Hunter Parsons (4-2, 3.67) will join him in the rotation while Mark DiLuia (2-4 5.40 ERA) could see another start if Tyler Blohm (5-2 4.10 ERA) is once again limited due to arm soreness.
For the Scarlet Knights, the offense is headed by Kyle Walker (.310), Carmen Sclafani (.305) and Luke Bowerbank (.301), while the starting pitching staff will consist of staples John O’Reilly (5-2, 5.28 ERA) and Harry Rutkowski (4-5, 4.82 ERA). Karl Blum (0-4, 5.19 ERA) will most likely be the third man in the rotation, though Eric Reardon (3-2, 4.11 ERA) and or Eric Heatter (1-2, 4.40 ERA) could be used Sunday as well.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday.
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