(University of Iowa Baseball image)
Last weekend, the Hawkeyes' bats were hot, as they scored 43 runs in a three-game sweep of Western Michigan. The wins got Iowa to 19-3, which set a program record for best start to a season. Next up is the Big Ten conference opener against Maryland. The two teams are expected to battle for the regular season crown, so it will be a big three game set.
The Rob Vaughn-led Terps are off to a 15-9 start and have won 11 of their last 13 games, after they navigated through a brutal schedule the first couple weeks. They won a series at South Florida to begin the season, but struggled the next couple of weeks. They dropped a series at Ole Miss and then went 0-3 in the Cambria Classic against Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Hawaii.
Since then, however, they have been rolling. This past weekend, they took two of three from a solid UCF squad in Orlando.
IOWA: 8.7 runs (25th), 10.2 hits (62nd), .311 AVG (27th)
MARYLAND: 8.6 runs (26th), 10.1 hits (73rd), .295 AVG (70th)
IOWA: 4.8 runs (35th), 6.8 hits (9th), 12.0 SO/9 (5th)
MARYLAND: 6.2 runs (128th), 8.8 hits (105th), 9.4 SO/9 (80th)
IOWA: 0.9 errors (65th), .975 fielding percentage (66th)
MARYLAND: 1.0 errors (90th), .975 fielding percentage (73rd)
WEEKEND PITCHING MATCHUPS
FRIDAY- Soph RHP Brody Brecht vs Jr RHP Jason Savacool
Brecht started the season as the Hawkeyes' Saturday starter, but he has stepped into the Friday night role and shined. He has gone 5.0 innings in each of his last three outing and has allowed just four runs over those three starts. Brecht has seen his strike rate increase to 57.6%, and he has recorded 24 strikeouts to 10 walks. Last time out against Western Michigan, Brecht tossed 5.2 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. He struck out ten and walked four.
Coming into the season, Savacool was on the short list for potential Big Ten Pitcher of the Year winners. To this point, he has lived up to the hype. Savacool comes in with a 2.43 ERA over 37.0 innings, including 39 strikeouts to 9 walks. Last time out against UCF, he went six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits, while striking out ten and walking just one. Savacool will be one of the best pitchers the Hawkeyes face this season.
SATURDAY- rJr RHP Keaton Anthony vs Sr RHP Nick Dean
Anthony gets the nod for Saturday over Marcus Morgan and Jared Simpson, who have both seen starts this season. Anthony has appeared in six games this season with three starts and has posted a 3.38 ERA over 16.0 innings. He induces contact, as he has thrown 123/198 (62.1%) of his pitches for strikes. Despite that, 35 of his 46 recorded outs were balls in play. Last time out against Illinois State, Anthony went 2.1 scoreless innings. He struck out two and allowed one hit.
Senior righthander Dean was a reliable starter for Maryland last season, posting a 4.57 ERA over 15 starts. He has had some trouble over the early part of this season. In six starts, Dean has allowed 22 earned runs, which has him sitting with a 6.99 ERA over 28.1 innings. He has 30 strikeouts to 13 walks, but is allowing 1.24 hits per inning. Last time out against UCF, Dean allowed four runs on six hits over just 3.0 innings. He has already allowed five home runs after allowing 12 all of last season.
SUNDAY- Jr RHP Ty Langenberg vs Fr LHP Kyle McCoy
Langenberg has slotted into a spot he has more familarity with and it worked out last week against Western Michigan. After a rough start to his season in the Friday night role, Langenberg came out of the bullpen before moving to the Sunday spot last weekend. He went 5.0 innings against the Broncos and allowed two runs on seven hits, while striking out ten and walking zero. Over the last two weeks, Langenberg has thrown 103 of 149 pitches (69.1%) for strikes.
The true freshman out of Ringoes, NJ, McCoy came to Maryland rated as the #17 pitcher in the nation by Perfect Game and has been really good in eight apperances for the Terrapins. McCoy has posted a 2.81 ERA over 25.2 innings, including an impressive 4.16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has a team-best 0.89 WHIP and is holding opponents to a .191 batting average. Last time out against UCF, McCoy was flawless. He allowed just three hits over 8.0 scoreless innings, while he struck out nine and walked zero.
TERRAPINS PLAYERS TO WATCH
1. SS Matt Shaw- Matt Shaw might not be atop the Maryland lineup statistically at the moment, but is the the toughest out on the team. Shaw was a First Team All-Big Ten selection last season and followed it up by being named Cape Cod League Player of the Year. He is batting .319 with eight home runs and is third on the team with 21 RBI’s. Shaw is not a huge threat to strikeout, as he brings in a low 13.9% strikeout rate.
2. 3B Nick Lorusso- After an All-Big Ten season last year, Nick Lorusso has been the top bat in the lineup this season for Maryland. He leads the team in six categories, including average (.369), hits (38), home runs (10) and RBI’s (39). Lorusso has 11 multi-hit games and ten multi-RBI games. He went 8/14 (.571) with 4 RBI’s and a home run last weekend at UCF.
3. C Luke Shliger- The Terrapins catcher was a preseason All-American pick by Perfect Game and has swung the bat well so far this year. Shliger is batting .319, with a team leading 11 doubles and an impressive .480 on-base percentage. He has recorded multiple hits in ten games. D1Baseball named him the #1 catcher in the country in their position rankings.
4. 2B Kevin Keister- A First Team All-Big Ten selection last season, Kevin Keister it over .300, with 11 home runs and 44 RBI’s. This year, Keister is batting .270 with a just a couple of home runs, but has drawn a team leading 21 walks for a .411 on-base percentage. He has drawn a walk in 15 of 24 games.
5. DH Ian Petrutz- Petrutz doesn’t have some of the accolades that some of his teammates have, but made the College Park All-Regional team last postseason. This year, he is batting .259 and is third on the team with seven home runs and 21 RBI’s. He has drawn 20 walks, which has boosted his on-base percentage to .417. After getting a hit in his first eight games, he has a hit in just six of his last 16 games.
6. RHP Nigel Belgrave- After posting a 7.50 ERA over 16 appearances last season, Nigel Belgrave has been the top arm out of the Terps bullpen so far this season. He has a 3.21 ERA over 14.0 innings, including 22 strikeouts to seven walks. Belgrave has recorded 3+ strikeouts in five appearances, including four over 2.0 innings against West Virginia.
7. RHP Kenny Lippman- A transfer from DIII Denison University, Lippman has been an important piece in the bullpen this season. He has a 4.60 ERA over 15.2 innings and has 16 strikeouts to just five walks. Over the weekend, Lippman went 3.0 innings in relief at UCF and allowed one run on two hits, while recording three strikeouts.