No. 20 Maryland baseball is set to finish its regular season at Penn State, with the regular-season Big Ten title on the line.
The Terps went 2-1 last week against Minnesota, which allowed Indiana to tie them in the standings as the Hoosiers swept Purdue. Both teams are 15-6 in Big Ten play going into the last series of the year, with the Terps holding the tiebreaker.
Maryland is also looking to make it 24 straight Big Ten series unbeaten, dating back to 2021.
All three games will be available on Big Ten Network, with Thursday and Friday’s games at 5 p.m., and Saturday’s at noon.
Penn State Nittany Lions (24-23, 6-14 Big Ten)
The Nittany Lions have been underwhelming this year after a good start to the season. They started Big Ten play 2-7, but have notable wins over top-15 ranked teams in Miami and West Virginia, which has put their RPI up to 132.
They still sit at the bottom of the Big Ten and will miss out on the tournament. Head coach Rob Cooper is looking to play spoiler against the Terps, who are looking to clinch the Big Ten title for the second year in a row.
Hitters to watch
Thomas Brantley, graduate catcher, No. 3 — Since transferring from Mount St. Mary’s, Brantley has been one of Penn State’s best hitters, with a .904 OPS. He also gets on base at a high clip with a .447 on-base percentage.
He is eight walks away from breaking the single-season program record.
Grant Norris, graduate infielder, No. 0 — Norris is tied for the team lead in home runs with seven and leads all players in OPS at .925. Norris is a transfer from Duke and has had a career year with the Nittany Lions.
Pitchers to watch
Travis Luensmann, junior right-handed pitcher, No. 33 — Lunesmann has been one of Penn State’s best pitchers, with a 4.10 ERA and a team-leading 59 strikeouts. He’s held opposing batters to a .239 batting average.
Jaden Henline, junior right-handed pitcher, No. 24 — Henline is one of the best pitchers in the nation at limiting walks, with a 6% walk percentage. He doesn’t get many strikeouts, but he compensates for that with a 58.9% ground ball percentage.
Spoilers at home. Maryland has shown it can beat any team in the nation, but also lose to any team. With the Big Ten title on the line, it isn't ideal to travel up to State College against a team with notable wins on its resume. It will be a challenge for the Terps to get a series win, let alone a sweep.
Offense. Penn State doesn’t have any notable hitters, with the team wRC+ at 101, meaning its offense is nearly exactly average. The Nittany Lions have talent, but Maryland pitching doesn't have to worry as much as it has the past few series.
Three things to watch
1. Big Ten regular-season title on the line. The Terps are tied with Indiana in the Big Ten standings, but do hold the tiebreaker. With both teams on the road for a three-game series, the race will come down to the wire. Both teams have a 1.5-game lead on Iowa and a two-game lead on Rutgers, so they will likely be the top two seeds in the Big Ten Tournament either way.
2. The record books. The past two weeks have been filled with record-breaking moments for Terps senior third baseman Nick Lorusso and junior shortstop Matt Shaw, who have both eclipsed 20 home runs and are chasing Bubba Alleyne’s record of 24 set one year ago. Shaw is at 23, and Lorusso is at 21.
3. One last ride. This is the last regular-season series for Maryland’s seniors and projected draft picks. The program’s veterans will look to help propel the Terps to back-to-back regular-season conference crowns.