Baseball season is winding down and after an abbreviated week last week Purdue is on the road at Maryland this week. The Boilers were originally scheduled to host Northwestern last weekend, but COVID issues for the Wildcats forced the postponement of that series. Because Ohio State had a similar issue last weekend in their series with Minnesota the Boilers and Buckeyes played an impromptu single game at Purdue on Tuesday. Ohio State won 5-1, dropping Purdue to 11-21 on the year. Because of the proximity of Northwestern and Purdue there is the possibility the teams may schedule a midweek game or two to make up for the lost series, but nothing has been announced yet.
Assuming these games are not made up, Purdue would have to win out in order to reach .500 on the season. That is somewhat possible, as the last seven games are against last place Minnesota (a dismal 4-24) and a struggling Penn State (13-20). Purdue enters this weekend having lost 6 of its last 7 though, and the Terrapins are on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
Purdue (11-21) at Maryland (21-14)
Friday, May 14 to Sunday, May 16 / BTN+
Series Opener: Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET
Middle Game: Saturday at 2 p.m. ET
Series Finale: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium / College Park, Maryland
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: Calvin Schapira (Jr, LHP) vs. UMD’s Nick Dean (So, RHP)
Saturday: Trent Johnson (Sr, RHP) vs. UMD’s Jason Savacool (Fr, RHP)
Sunday: Cory Brooks (R-Jr, RHP) vs. UMD’s Sean Burke (R-So, RHP)
All-Time: Maryland leads 7-4
All-Time in College Park: Purdue leads 4-2
Last Series: Purdue swept a 3-game set (April 2018 in College Park)
First Meeting: Maryland 11, Purdue 1 (February 2012 in Greenville, N.C.)
Maryland is coming in hot, having won 8 of its last 10 to play its way into NCAA Tournament consideration. Both D1Baseball and Baseball America have them in the field as of now, but with league leaders Indiana and Michigan after playing Purdue they cannot afford a slip up against the Boilers.
The Terrapins feature a couple of very strong MLB Draft prospects for 2021. Sean Burke entered the season as a potential pick in the first few rounds, but has struggled to a 2-3 record with a 4.20 ERA. 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Maxwell Costes has not, as he is batting .301 with 18 RBI. We also need to watch out for Benjamin Cowles, who leads the Big Ten with 14 home runs. He is also second in the league with 40 RBI.
Maryland is in the middle of the conference for both hitting and pitching, but they are still well ahead of Purdue. Sam Bello is one of the league’s better closers with 7 saves too, and at the plate Matthew Shaw is a good table setter batting .336.
Purdue has had some decent bright sports of late. Miles Simington has played at an all-Big Ten level and is 8th in the league in hitting at .339 with 3 HR and 38 RBI. Ben Nisle has come on with 8 home runs, but the offense continues to be inconsistent. In 32 games Purdue has been held to two runs or less 13 times, going 1-12 in such games (and they even had a 1-0 loss where they were no hit). Imagine how much worse the numbers would be if not for a 20-run explosion against Illinois. Conversely, the pitching has also struggled, especially the bullpen. Purdue has given up 7 or more runs 15 times, winning only two of those games.
Basically, Purdue is looking to play spoiler this weekend against a team with real postseason aspirations.