After a disappointing series loss to Indiana last weekend, the Michigan Wolverines baseball team split in their two midweek games this week. On Tuesday, the Wolverines lost 10-3 to the Xavier Musketeers at home, allowing Xavier to sweep the home-and-home series. On Wednesday, the Michigan offense exploded for 18 runs in the first three innings, eventually beating Wright State 21-9.
Regardless of the midweek loss and last weekend’s series blunder, Michigan is in a good position heading into the last two series of the conference season, as it is in fifth place in the Big Ten standings. Michigan does, however, play the top two teams in the conference, Maryland and Rutgers, three times each to end the regular season.
The task this weekend is defeating the Maryland Terrapins, who enter the series with the best overall record in the Big Ten at 38-10. Their conference record sits at 13-5. Last weekend, the Terrapins defeated Big Ten’s top ranked team, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, in a three-game series. Additionally, Maryland is extremely comfortable in its home ballpark, as it is 20-2 at home this season.
Terrapins to Watch
Maryland’s damage could come from anyone at any given time. Offensively, the Terrapins have five players hitting well above .300. They also have four hitters with 12 or more home runs this season. Only one of their starters has an on base percentage below .400. Top to bottom, they have an electric lineup.
One player in particular who can do a whole heap of damage is fifth-year outfielder Chris Alleyne. He leads the team in home runs (17), runs batted in (61), total bases (128), slugging percentage (.653) and stolen bases (18). An all-around player with several professional-caliber tools, Alleyne is a dangerous offensive player to watch.
The Terrapin pitching staff is similarly dominant. Their top two arms are statistically nearly identical. Junior left-handed pitcher Ryan Ramsey leads the staff with a 2.47 ERA through 76.2 innings of work. He has surrendered just 47 hits and 21 runs (all earned) in those innings, with opponents batting a mere .177 off him. This has earned him a perfect 9-0 record.
Sophomore righty Jason Savacool has posted a 2.59 ERA in his team-leading 80 innings thrown. He has surrendered just 59 hits and 23 earned runs while racking up 95 strikeouts.
Michigan’s Keys to Success
In Michigan and Maryland’s first meeting this season, an out of conference game in the Keith LeClair Classic, Michigan’s pitching staff was able to hold Maryland’s offense to four runs. The Wolverines proved they can shut down this offense, so they must do it again in order to be successful this weekend.
This Wolverine team has not shied away from tough competition this year. In order for Michigan to be successful this weekend, it must play to their high standards, and begin to fire on all cylinders.
Michigan has a chance to make a statement in the Big Ten with six enormous conference games to close out the regular season. This weekend’s series starts on tonight at 6:30 p.m.