Maryland baseball heads into its fourth Big Ten series of the season as it takes on the Purdue Boilermakers following two dominant midweek wins.
The Terps are 3-0 in conference series’ this year, but have yet to complete a sweep. This weekend poses as a great opportunity for Maryland to bring out the brooms and make the crowded race at the top of the Big Ten even more entertaining.
Purdue Boilermakers (18-18, 7-5 Big Ten)
2022 Record: 29-21, 9-12 Big Ten
Purdue has had an average season so far, sporting a .500 record. Through three weeks of Big Ten play, it sits in sixth place in the conference, two spots below the Terps. The Boilermakers have picked up some momentum of late, currently riding a four-game win streak.
Greg Goff is in his fifth season as head coach. Despite having a positive record last year, the Boilermakers underwhelmed in Big Ten play, going 9-12.
Hitters to watch
Paul Toetz, redshirt sophomore infielder, No. 23 — Toetz could present a problem for Maryland, as he’s one of the most complete hitters in the conference. He has an OPS of 1.008 and leads the team with 44 RBIs. He also has 10 doubles, two triples and eight home runs.
Jake Parr, senior first baseman, No. 44 — The six-foot-seven infieder is another guy in the lineup gets on base at a high rate. He’s second on the team with a .320 batting average and has five hits in his past three games.
Pitchers to watch
Khal Stephen, sophomore right-handed pitcher, No. 14 — Stephen is the go-to-guy for Purdue on Fridays. He’s had a strong year, with a 4-2 record. He forces as a lot of swings and misses, ranking second on the team with 40 strikeouts.
Jonathan Blackwell, junior left-handed pitcher, No. 18 — Blackwell is usually the Saturday starter. Through nine outings, Blackwell also holds a 4-2 record, to go along with a 4.14 ERA. Blackwell has the most innings pitched on the team with 50.
Pitching. Purdue has three strong starters that have the ability to shut down opponents. The Boilermakers have a combined ERA of 4.88, which is fifth best in the conference.
A struggling offense. Most of Purdue’s recent losses have been due to a lack of scoring. The Boilermakers have averaged 2.3 runs in their last three losses.
Three things to watch
1. Can the Terps finally complete a sweep? In its past three series’, Maryland has won the first two games, but dropped the third. Per RPI rankings, Purdue is much worse than the Terps' last four opponents, ranking No. 219 as of April 20. With a home crowd and a hot offense, the Terps are in a great position for their first sweep in over a month.
2. Can Kyle McCoy settle in? Since his dominant start against UCF, the freshman has struggled on the mound. Granted he’s less than two weeks removed from taking an 110 mile per hour comebacker to the mouth, but the Terps need him to get back on track quickly.
3. Will Matt Shaw tie/break the Maryland All-Time home run record? Shaw has 42 career home runs, two shy from breaking the program record, set by Paul Schager nearly 40 years ago. Shaw should be able to shatter this record before the end of the season, but can he do it in front of the home crowd this weekend?