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(Updated) Maryland baseball: No. 14 Terps open up B1G play against Minnesota

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Minnesota is in the middle to lower tier of B1G baseball teams. They come into Shipley Field with a lot of unresolved questions, particularly on offense and in the bullpen. Meanwhile Maryland is riding a seven-game win streak that they hope to continue in their first B1G series ever.

Each Thursday throughout the B1G season I'll be giving Testudo Times readers an update on how teams in the conference have fared to date. This will be followed by an in-depth preview of the upcoming opponent for the weekend.

Here's how teams in the B1G are currently doing:

Team

Overall Record

B1G Record

Maryland

14-4

0-0

Indiana

14-4

0-0

Illinois

14-4

0-0

Iowa

11-4

0-0

Ohio State

12-5

0-0

Nebraska

14-6

0-0

Michigan

11-8

0-0

Michigan State

8-9

0-0

Purdue

8-11

0-0

Minnesota

7-10

0-0

Northwestern

4-13

0-0

Rutgers

3-13

0-0

Penn State

3-13

0-0

Minnesota Gophers (7-10, 0-0)

Minnesota was 27-24 overall and 13-11 in the B1G last year. While their pitching was decent, they did not have one regular player hitting above .300. Further, the Gophers had a grand total of 10 home runs. So it's not surprising that without a stellar freshman class, Minnesota was not mentioned in any of the preseason assessments as a team to watch in the B1G. However, Minnesota did not lose many impact players from last year, and most of their pitching staff remains intact.

Currently the Gophers stand at 7-10, but that record is a bit deceiving. To start off the season the Gophers traveled to Houston (preseason top 10 ten), and then turned right around next weekend and went to Austin to face Texas (currently No. 15). They dropped all seven games, scoring a total of seven runs. But once outside the state of Texas, the Gophers have fared reasonably well, going 7-3, including a two-game sweep at Creighton. The only common opponent is Richmond, whom the Terps defeated 8-3. Minnesota split a pair of games with the Spiders, 13-12 and 2-13.

Offense

The Gophers offense is as tepid as last year's team. Although they've increased their home run production, who hasn't? Minnesota is currently batting .242 with only one player hitting above .260. That player is Matt Fielder, a sophomore dual threat in the outfield as well as on the mound. Fielder is batting .422 (2nd in the B1G) and leads the team in almost every offensive category. Other than Fielder, well, the cupboard is fairly bare. The Gophers do like to run, haven stolen 23 bases in 29 attempts.

Pitching

For the most part the starters have done their job. Senior RHP Ben Meyer, junior LHP Dalton Sawyer, and RS sophomore RHP Tim Shannon are all 6'5" or taller, and have a combined era slightly under four runs per game. It's when the Gophers go to their bullpen that things get dicey. Problems with location have been a bugaboo, resulting in 50 walks in 74 innings, along with 10 wild pitches and 12 HBP: that's one batter per inning not including base hits. To compound things, the Minnesota bullpen has not been throwing bullets either.

Overall Assessment

The Gophers have a tough task ahead of them. Maryland shows great patience at the plate, and is third nationally in runs per game. Given how well Shawaryn, Rios, and Ruse have pitched, along with a strong bullpen, the Terps could do quite well this weekend.

Projected Starters:

Saturday 1 p.m. : Mike Shawaryn (4-0, 2.84 era) vs. RHP Ben Meyer (0-2, 4.56 era)

Saturday 4 p.m. : Willie Rios (1-0, 2.19 era) vs. LHP Dalton Sawyer (3-2, 3.54 era)

Sunday noon : Bobby Ruse (4-0, 3.50 era) vs. RHP Tim Shannon (1-1, 3,86 era)

Video: None
Audio: Maryland Baseball Network
Twitter: @terpsbaseball and @mercator88