#4 Nebraska Cornhuskers (32-21-1) at #1 Maryland Terrapins (38-19)
Location: Charles Schwab Field, Omaha, NE
Date/Time: Thursday, May 25th @ 6 pm CT
Head Coaches: Will Bolt (4th season, 96-73-1) & Rob Vaughn (6th season, 161-108)
Radio: Huskers Radio Network, Huskers.com, Huskers App
Probable Pitchers: RHP Jace Kaminska (7-3, 4.36 ERA) & Nick Dean (3-1, 5.20 ERA)
Check out the regular season series preview for the Nebraska-Maryland HERE!
Nebraska Scouting Report
The Huskers are coming off a hard fought win vs Rutgers, to face a team they went 1-2 against in the regular season. This time though, they get to face them in a stadium where balls Maryland is used to jogging around the bases after hitting, will end up nestled in nice warm glove, 30 feet in front of the fence. Especially if the wind continues to play as it has all week and normally does this time of year, blowing straight in from center field.
Nebraska was full strength on offense Wednesday for the first time in a couple weeks. While Brice Matthews’ return didn’t offer a lot of production, other players picked him up. Charlie Fischer stayed red hot, going 2-4 with a walk including the monster 3 run home run that got things started off with a bang! Ben Columbus went 2-3 with a walk, and Gabe Swansen continued to be maybe THE hottest hitter in the conference in Big Ten games, hitting the game tying home run in the 7th.
Jace Kaminska gave up a lot of runs (7 to be exact) against Maryland, but they were on 4 home runs. Granted Matt Shaw hit one that would have been gone no matter where they were playing, but the other 3 would have probably been in play at a stadium like The Chuck. So don’t feel defeated with Kaminska’s line. He didn’t allow any big rallies and isn’t going to walk people. Nebraska used 4 relief pitchers on Wednesday, but no one threw over 25 pitches. So while it wouldn’t be ideal to bring them back on such short rest, no one should be limited against Maryland.
Maryland Scouting Report
Since the teams played a few weeks ago, all Maryland has done is jump Indiana to win the conference championship for its second straight year, and have Matt Shaw be named Big Ten Player of the Year. (I’d like to see Brice Matthews or Max Anderson’s stats in their home park.) While they did overtake Indiana, their play has been anything but stellar since beating Nebraska. They went 4-3 to close the regular season, playing Minnesota, Penn State, and Northeastern.
In the tournament, a big base-running mistake by Michigan State may have gifted them a win in their opener. Michigan St was the better offensive team all night, but 5 double plays by the Terrapins wiped some big innings off the board completely.
There is not much to say about their offense that hasn’t been said. Shaw is one of the top players in college baseball, batting .359 with a conference leading 23 home runs and 66 RBIs. Nick Lorusso led all of college baseball with 97 RBIs, while hitting .375 with 21 home runs. Luke Shliger hit .341 scored 88 runs and homered 11 times, he should be one of the top catchers taken when he declares for the MLB draft.
Maryland has a good defense, as you could tell from their 5 double plays on Tuesday. Their pitching is where they can run into issues. They finished 10th in the league with a 5.94 ERA. One thing they gambled on, was sitting their Friday starter Nick Dean for the Michigan State game, and basically going with a bullpen game.
Dean was ok against Nebraska, going 4 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits with 3 walks. Like they have all season, Maryland has about the shortest leash with their starters as anyone in the country. Against Michigan State, the Terps pulled their normal Saturday starter after 15 pitches, and used 4 of their top 5 bullpen guys to go the rest of the way. Kenny Lippman threw over 50 pitches, so he is probably out, but otherwise, everyone else should be a go with the extra day of rest built into the new schedule.
Maryland is 9-7 against Nebraska all time. They won the series 2-1 this year, with the first two games being close most of each game and then the last game going completely sideways. The last time the Terps played in a Nebraska ballpark, the Huskers won 2-1 in 2021 as a freshman Brice Matthews had his coming out party, hitting a home run and a double, driving in 5 RBIs.