Photo Courtesy of UM Terps

Maryland prepares for weekend series with Big Ten leader Michigan

Maryland baseball (23-22) will face arguably its toughest test of the year when the Michigan Wolverines (31-11) come to College Park on Friday for a three game series.

Michigan currently sits at first place in the Big Ten at 11-3 and is on an eight game winning streak. Maryland is tied for fifth in conference at 8-7.

While the Wolverines can certainly hit the ball well, their pitching has been lights out as of late. In their last seven Big Ten games, Michigan pitchers have allowed only 1.6 runs per game. Karl Kauffman has been their ace as of late. Kaufmann is 7-3 with a 2.40 ERA. Their other starting pitchers are also hard to hit. Tommy Henry is also 7-3 with a 2.61 ERA and Jeff Criswell is 4-1 with a 2.61 ERA.

The Michigan bullpen is also one of the conference’s best. Closer Willie Weiss has eight saves and strikes out more than a batter per inning. Isiah Paige has also been a key cog in the pen with a team best 2.12 ERA in 15 appearances.

Offensively, the Wolverines have plenty of threats. Jordan Brewer is one of the Big Ten’s best hitters. He is hitting .378 with a team high 11 home runs and 41 RBI’s. Jordan Nwogu and Blake Nelson are also hitting over .300.

If Maryland wants to beat Michigan, it will need to hit the ball like they have been as of late. The Terps have scored over five runs in nine of their last ten Big Ten games. Look for A.J. Lee to be the offensive catalyst. The senior shortstop was hitting .135 early in the season, but Lee has gotten a hit in 11 straight games and has bumped his average up to .315.

Expect Maryland to roll with the same starting pitcher trio of Hunter Parsons, Zach Thompson, and Trevor LaBonte.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday night but expected rain in the area could shift the game times this weekend.