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Spartan Baseball Series Preview: Maryland

Michigan State gets ready for a three game series against the Terrapins

The Spartans lost to in-state rival Michigan earlier in the week that resulted in a 12-4 win for the Wolverines.

Michigan State heads into this weekend with a 20-13 record overall (5-4 B1G). The Spartans will be playing at Maryland for the first time in school history during a three game conference series. The games will be played at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium — first pitch is slated for later on today at 6:30 p.m.

The Terrapins were the early preseason favorite to win the Big Ten conference this year and Michigan State will definitely need to bring their best stuff if they want to bring home a few W’s.

The Basics

The Numbers

  • Record: 25-11 (9-3 conference, 15-1 Home)
  • Best Win: vs West Virginia (RPI: 8), W 7-6
  • Worst Loss: vs George Mason (RPI: 202), L 5-8

Last Five Games

  • 4/19 — William & Mary, W 6-0
  • 4/16 — Penn State, W 15-2
  • 4/15 — Penn State, W 8-3
  • 4/14 — Penn State, W 2-1
  • 4/12 — George Mason, L 5-8

Maryland is currently second in the B1G (9-3), right behind Minnesota who has led the conference from the beginning. The Terps came into this season as heavy favorites to win the Big Ten but have ran into some good competition along the way and will continue to do so against the Spartans this weekend.

They have losses to No. 15 Michigan and Nebraska since the conference schedule started up, so the Spartans may want to watch those series film tapes.

History Lesson

Michigan State and Maryland have a very small history, considering Maryland just joined the B1G back in 2014. Their first face off was during the 2015 Big Ten Tournament but today marks the first ever regular season meeting between these two schools.

The Spartans are 2-3 when facing Maryland and have won two out of the last three games. For a bit the Terps got the better of Michigan State before the Spartans found redemption with a 4-3 win in the B1G Tournament.

Terrapins To Know

It was announced Monday, April 17th that the right hander Brian Shaffer had earned the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week honors for his spectacular work on the mound these past couple games.

He was able to set a new personal best for strikeouts with 11 of them over eight innings of work against Penn State last Friday. Shaffer allowed only four hits, a single walk, and one earned run. His ERA sits at 1.83, good for third in the conference. Brian also leads the B1G in IP (64.0) and K’s (67). This kid rarely lets opposing hitters get on base — holding them to a .194 batting average for the year. The honors will go down as Shaffer’s second Pitcher of the Week award during his 2017 campaign.

Here’s how the rest of the Terps starting pitching staff is looking this year:

Their offense doesn’t shape up quite as nicely as their pitching does — something that just might be the Spartans saving grace when it’s all said and done. Maryland ranks in a variety of ways on the offensive side of the ball. Let’s do a quick run down starting with batting average (8th), slugging pct (7th), on-base pct (9th), hits (4th), and RBI (2nd).

The Terps best hitter is Sophomore Marty Costes. The young guy is the third best batter in the B1G. He is averaging .359 (52-145), with six doubles, three triples, eight home runs, and thirty-four RBI.

The rest of their batters lines read as is:

How The Spartans Match Up

Over the course of the season the Spartans have slowly but surely continued to fall off the wagon, so to speak. At one point they were leading so many rankings in the stats department it was hard to keep track, but now they are down to their last four statistical achievements for the year.

Now they only lead the B1G in four different categories along with five others for college baseball as a whole. The Spartans do happen to get best marks in the country for doubles per game (2.42).

That being said this team doesn’t score enough runs against teams with winning records, or swing the bat nearly as well when they get in the ring against a formidable opponent. It’s not a knock on this Spartan team, it’s just the truth. The non-conference schedule was far to easy and had they won a couple games against South Carolina or Clemson early in the year I may be singing a different tune but they didn’t.

Michigan State lost those tough battles, so many times that since the conference schedule started they have a overall record of 8-8. That doesn’t exactly put the Spartans in the conversation for a possible NCAA tournament team later on in the year.

Maryland has won their last four games and for the most part have been on a tear since the B1G schedule kicked in, I don’t see them letting up or Michigan State stopping them.


I honestly can’t get my point across any further than what was said above in terms of how Michigan State matches up against the Terps.

The Spartans haven’t really surprised anyone this year, they were pegged by multiple sources to be a middle of the road team in 2017. Right now those folks are right.

I will say this team continues to surprise me every time they seem to be down in the dumps after a loss, hopefully they prove me wrong but I don’t see it which is why I’m picking Maryland to win this series.

MSU loses series 1-2