If the Terps win, they’re in.
Thursday night, the Maryland Terrapins (24-27, 9-11) will play in their final regular season series. Sitting in eighth place in the Big Ten standings, the Terps currently control their own destiny for the postseason tournament.
“All we can do is go out on Thursday and prepare as well as we can,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “Let the chips fall where they may.”
Fittingly for Maryland, in what will be the team’s three most important games of 2018, the competition will also be one of the toughest. The Terps three-game series will take place in Bloomington against the Indiana Hoosiers, a team that is only 11-9 in conference play, but a solid 34-15 overall. At points this season, Indiana was nationally ranked, even landing in the top 10.
The Hoosiers have amassed a strong record due to an incredibly dominant and balanced offensive attack. The roster features 11 players batting at-or-above .270, and five players with over 50 hits. Matt Gorski (.374) leads the team with 68 hits the season, while Logan Sowers provides the pop, leading the team with seven home runs while maintaining a .307 batting average.
As good as Indiana is on the offensive side, the Hoosiers’ pitching may be even better. The team has 12 pitchers with an ERA under 4.00. A dominant starting rotation of Pauly Milto (6-2, 2.04 ERA), Jonathan Stiever (5-4, 2.98) and Tim Herrin (4-0, 3.00) will provide a challenge for the Terps’ lineup. If Maryland can’t muster anything up against the starters, it won’t get easier against the bullpen. Relievers Matt Lloyd and B.J. Sobel have allowed only five combined runs in 45 ⅓ innings of work.
Though Indiana poses as a big challenge for the Terps, the team is clicking on all cylinders heading into the weekend. Offensively, the lineup seemed to have found their groove during the sweep of Rutgers last week, scoring 30 runs in three games, including a 17-run drubbing on Saturday.
Senior Will Watson led the charge, batting .500 in last week’s action while hitting three homers and driving in 12 runs. The performance earned him Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week recognition.
Adding Watson’s hot bat to a Maryland lineup that features three surging hitters in Nick Dunn (.335), Kevin Biondic (.296) and Zach Jancarski (.277) gives the Terps a formidable attack the team has been looking for all season.
The first pitch for this make-or-break series will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday.