No. 23 Maryland baseball has been one of the hottest teams in the country as of late, and it will bring its streak into a midweek game on the road against Delaware.
The Terps were originally scheduled to play Mount St. Mary’s at home on Tuesday, but that game was canceled and replaced with Wednesday’s contest at Delaware.
Several Maryland hitters are hoping to stay on fire. For example, Kevin Keister picked up 15 RBIs in five games and junior shortstop Matt Shaw has hit a home run in his past four games and was recently named Big Ten Player of the Week. The Terps have scored a combined 83 runs in their last five games.
They were also ranked for the first time since early March by D1Baseball and rose 18 spots in the RPI in the past week.
Maryland will face the Blue Hens at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, with the game streamable on Big Ten Plus.
Delaware Blue Hens (21-23, 10-11 CAA)
The Blue Hens last took on Maryland in mid-March, when the Terps defeated them, 13-11, in 10 innings. Since then, Delaware has hit a lull, posting a record below .500. Over the past two weeks, winning has not been a common trend for Delaware — it has dropped seven of its last eight games.
Hitters to watch
Joey Loynd, redshirt junior infielder, No. 29 — Loynd has been one of the most prolific batters in this lineup all year. He is currently batting .368 with an OPS of 1.046. He has been one of the main sources of offense for Delaware and leads the team in RBIs (56).
JJ Freeman, senior shortstop, No. 6 — Freeman has been another consistent hitter, posting a .330 batting average and the second-most RBIs on the team with 34.
Pitchers to watch
Wyatt Nelson, junior right-handed pitcher, No. 43 — Nelson has been a consistent presence in Delaware’s midweek games this season. Whether he starts or comes in for relief, he is a go-to arm. But, Nelson currently has an ERA of 9.30.
Carter Welch, sophomore left-handed pitcher, No. 12 — Welch was the last midweek pitcher to pick up a win for Delaware. He has not posted the most eye-catching stats on the season with a 8.60 ERA and 27 strikeouts, but head coach Greg Mamula could give him the ball on Wednesday.
This offense can pop. The Delaware offense has scored double-digit runs in 13 of its wins this season and plated 11 on Maryland in their last matchup. If Maryland can’t locate against this lineup, the Blue Hens could find their mojo again.
Pitching. The pitching staff for Delaware has had quite an up-and-down year, which its record reflects. If its pitching lets the scorching-hot Maryland offense take an early lead, Delaware will be in serious trouble.
Three things to watch
1. Can Haberthier shut down the Blue Hens’ offense? Junior right-handed pitcher Nate Haberthier is most likely getting the nod for Maryland in Wednesday’s game, a role he’s settled into after freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McCoy got the Sunday starter job. But Haberthier has struggled, giving up six earned runs against UMBC on the road and holding an 8.28 ERA on the year. He is vitally important to Maryland’s pitching staff, and has a perfect opportunity to shine against Delaware.
2. Will Shaw extend his home run streak? Shaw has been prolific all season, and currently has a four-game home run streak dating back to the Terps’ midweek game at Georgetown last Wednesday. He has a chance to set a personal and program record for consecutive games with a home run, piling on to the Maryland career home run record he already owns.
3. Can Maryland post double-digit runs for the sixth straight game? Last week, the Maryland offense was on fire, scoring a total of 83 runs — most notably, its 24-run performance against UMBC in just seven innings. Maryland has shown no signs of slowing down and will look to beat down on the Blue Hens.