Maryland baseball was 8-7 in the Big Ten before Michigan came into College Park and swept the Terps. The Wolverines scored 10 or more runs in all three games and outscored Maryland 33-12 on the weekend.
There were positives for the Terps to take from the Michigan series, but the conference leader controlled all three games. Now, Maryland is 8-10 in the Big Ten, tied for eighth with just two conference series left in the season. Both of those series are against teams that have essentially secured a spot in the Big Ten tournament, so it’s do-or-die for the Terps.
The series sweep now gives Maryland an 8-15 home record, a surprise considering the Terps are 14-9 on the road and 23-25 overall. Maryland is just one win away from matching last year’s win total, but the 2018 team was 13-13 at home, so to see this team seven games under .500 but still competing for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament is quite surprising.
The next two weeks will not be a cake walk as Maryland will start it by taking on Minnesota in Minneapolis this weekend.
Up next: Minnesota (22-23, 11-7 Big Ten)
The Golden Gophers had quite a year in 2018, going 44-15 and reaching the NCAA Super Regionals. However, this season, Minnesota has fallen off and still sits a game under .500 going into the last few weekends of the season.
The team has seen declines in all aspects of the game. Minnesota’s team average is .259 and just one player—junior catcher Eli Wilson—is batting over .300. Wilson is also the only Golden Gopher with an on-base percentage of over .400, and no player is slugging over .500 this year (although two are above .480). Last year, Minnesota batted .300 as a team, 41 points higher than this season.
The more significant number is drop-off in pitching. Last year, the Golden Gophers had a 3.18 team ERA. This year, that number is almost one full run higher at 4.13. Of Minnesota’s five starters, two have an ERA above 5.00. The other three have an ERA below 3.40, with two are below 3.00. The Golden Gophers are lead by Max Meyer, who has a 2.18 ERA in 70.1 innings, giving up 17 earned runs and striking out 79. Maryland will have to jump on him early if the Terps want a chance to win this series.
Despite having a sub-.500 record, Minnesota is still doing well in the Big Ten, as the Golden Gophers’ 11-7 conference record has them in the driver’s seat to go to Omaha for the Big Ten tournament. Maryland will have to really execute on all fronts in order to win this series.
The series opener is Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.