Maryland baseball returns home for its midweek matchup against UMBC. Tuesday marks the Terps’ first of two matchups against the Retrievers this season, the other coming on the road on April 25.
Maryland is coming off a tough weekend in Minneapolis, dropping all three of its games in the Cambria College Classic. The Terps started the weekend by losing 5-1 to No. 4 Ole Miss. Then, on Saturday, they were walked off by No. 7 Vanderbilt after a late-inning implosion by their bullpen. Maryland was unable to overcome unranked Hawaii on Sunday, and by Monday it had lost its national ranking.
Now, the Terps hope to turn the page. Seven out of their next eight games are at home, and all of those games are against opponents ranked outside the top 120 in RPI.
Tuesday’s game is set to start at 4 p.m.
UMBC (4-3, 0-0 American East)
UMBC, led by fourth-year head coach Liam Bowen, heads to College Park on a three-game winning streak after beating Delaware State twice and St. Peters once. UMBC was ranked sixth out of seven teams in the preseason American East poll and has started the season as expected.
Hitters to watch
Ian Diaz, graduate outfielder, No. 11 — Diaz currently leads the team in OPS and has racked up 11 hits and 10 walks in seven games. He has an astronomical 28% walk percentage, one of the best in college baseball. Diaz was named to the 2022 All-America East second team and is one of the key pieces of the Retriever offense.
Matt Ryan, sophomore infielder, No. 12 — Ryan currently has an OPS just under 1.000, and a batting average over .300. He had a productive year after taking over at third base in mid-February last season and is looking to improve upon it early in his first full season as a starter.
Pitchers to watch
Jayden Shertel, sophomore outfielder/left-handed pitcher, No. 24 — Shertel is the projected starter against the Terps and performed well in his season debut against Delaware State last week. In 5 2⁄3 innings, he allowed only one run and five hits, while also posting four walks and four strikeouts. Shertel has also seen limited plate appearances as a two-way player.
Sam Daniels, junior right-handed pitcher, No. 33 — Daniels has not given up a run in his two innings of relief so far, and he struck out three batters in an inning against Delaware State. Daniels likely will come in for relief Tuesday, as he has not been used since last week.
Offense. If anything can give the Retrievers an edge, it’s capitalizing off a Maryland pitching staff that has struggled mightily. In several games, they’ve had offensive explosions. They scored 11 runs in a game against Delaware and scored 27 runs in their past three wins. Led by Diaz, the Retrievers have shown they can do damage.
Pitching. When UMBC played Delaware, it was a 22-11 road loss for UMBC, which is an indication that things could get ugly fast when paired with Maryland’s high-powered offense. Despite not facing a top-tier opponent yet, UMBC’s earned run average is 7.50 — extremely high for a unit that has already pitched 60 innings.
Three things to know
1. Maryland needs a win. While beating UMBC at home wouldn’t be much of a resume-builder, it’s necessary for the Terps to start the week on the right note to set the tone moving forward. After falling to 4-7 this past weekend, Maryland needs to take advantage of the less-challenging teams it faces to boost its record after a bad start.
2. Can Logan Ott become the midweek regular? Junior left-handed pitcher Logan Ott performed well last week against Delaware, pitching 4 2⁄3 innings and only giving up two runs in relief. Ott did not pitch last weekend, which indicates he will likely pitch against UMBC. He looks like a prime candidate to be the Terps’ midweek starter going forward.
3. Can Nick Lorusso extend his hit streak? Senior third baseman Nick Lorusso has registered a hit in the past nine games, tallying four home runs and 16 RBIs. While the Terps’ offense hasn’t stalled too much this season, Lorusso has been a key cog in it after a brief slump in Maryland’s season-opening series at USF.