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Maryland baseball vs. Ohio State preview

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The Terps look to win their third Big Ten series

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

With another Big Ten series win in the rearview mirror, Maryland baseball was determined to bounce back from Sunday’s loss against Minnesota.

The Terps found themselves in their third one-run game in a row as fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne smashed a go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth. The solo homer did just enough as Maryland took down James Madison, 8-7.

Maryland will now face off against another Big Ten foe as Ohio State comes to town for a three-game series. The Terps' usual aces will be back on the mound this weekend with junior righty Nick Dean getting the Friday night start, junior lefty Ryan Ramsey starting on Saturday and sophomore righty Jason Savacool finishing out the series on Sunday.

All three games will be played at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium and streamed on BTN Plus with Friday’s starting at 6:30 p.m., Saturday’s at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1:00 p.m.

Ohio State (11-18, 2-5)

2021 record: 22-20, 22-20

Head coach Greg Beals is in his 12th year as head coach of the program. He has led the Buckeyes to a 325-258-1 record over the past 11 years including three NCAA regional appearances in the last six years. Beals is currently third among active Big Ten coaches in Division 1 career wins and has an eye for talent; he has produced 27 MLB draft picks in the last 10 years.

Hitters to know

Senior infielder Marcus Ernst has played a total of four different positions for the Buckeyes over the last four years but has taken his hitting to the next level this year. Ohio State’s leadoff hitter has started all 28 games, leading the team in batting average (.394), on-base percentage (.500) and runs scored (24). Whether he’s playing shortstop, third base or is the designated hitter, Ernst is a threat to get on base every time.

Senior infielder Zach Dezenzo absolutely rakes and is without a doubt the Buckeyes’ best power hitter. Since being named a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American, Dezenzo has started in every game for Ohio State. While his batting average has taken a bit of a dip from .302 last year to .268 this year, Dezenzo still leads the team in RBIs (26), home runs (8), extra-base hits (15) and slugging percentage (.554). Batting right behind Ernst, Dezenzo makes the Buckeyes’ top of the order dangerous.

Pitchers to know

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Isaiah Coupet has been Ohio State’s best starter this year after only starting one game last season. In seven starts, Coupet leads the team in innings pitched (35.1), strikeouts (59) and wins (2) while accumulating a 4.58 ERA. The Terps should see Coupet early, as he has been the Buckeyes’ Friday night starter all season.

Junior right-handed pitcher Ethan Hammerberg has been Ohio State’s best and most frequent relief pitcher this season. After an uneventful sophomore season, Hammerberg has more than proven himself this year. In 14 appearances, he has pitched 22 innings, recording 32 strikeouts and a team-leading .188 opponent batting average.

Strength

Hitting. Similar to Maryland, Ohio State has a high-powered offense that features three players hitting above .300. The Buckeyes currently sit fourth in the Big Ten in batting average (.277) and sixth in home runs (30), slugging percentage (.436) and on-base percentage (.377). This series should be action-packed, as both teams can score runs in a hurry.

Weakness

Fielding. Ohio State is an extremely poor fielding team and it is no secret. The Buckeyes rank first in the Big Ten in errors (55) and last in fielding percentage (.947) by a wide margin. If Maryland can put the bat on the ball, Ohio State is bound to beat itself.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland keep up with Ohio State’s offense? Though the Terps' offense has been better all year, Ohio State had a dominant offensive performance last weekend, while Maryland’s was lackluster. The Buckeyes averaged 9.67 runs and 14 hits per game compared to the Terps’ 6.33 runs and 10.67 hits per game. If Maryland wants to outscore Ohio State, they need to be better.

2. Will Ryan Ramsey continue to dominate? Ramsey has now stringed together five imposing performances in a row and has been the Terps' most reliable pitcher all year long. As head coach Rob Vaughn previously said, “The longer Ryan Ramsey is in the game, the more the other dugout doesn’t like it.” In his last appearance, the junior pitched five innings, allowing just two hits and five runs while striking out five batters. A win from Ramsey is almost guaranteed at this point as he has a 7-0 record thus far, leaving it up to Dean and Savacool to do their job.

3. Can Maryland win its third Big Ten Series? The Terps have gotten off to a great start in Big Ten play, taking down Penn State and Minnesota in 2-1 series wins. With Ohio State getting off to its worst start under Beals, Maryland is in a position to win another Big Ten series and potentially its first sweep.