Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Big Ten Home Run Leaders Meet in Nebraska’s Series Against Maryland

May 05, 2023

This weekend, Nebraska baseball faces one of its toughest tests of the season in a pivotal road series against Maryland.

The Huskers have had mixed results so far this season against some of the best teams in the Big Ten. They took two of three games from Michigan on the road, but were swept by Iowa two weeks later. This matchup comes against the nationally-ranked conference leader, and the result will have a major impact in the league standings. 

Three games separate first place and eighth in the Big Ten currently. At 9-6 in conference play, Nebraska sits two games behind Maryland. Win the series, and the team has a realistic chance at the regular season conference title. Lose, and the Huskers could be fighting for their spot in the eight-team Big Ten Tournament over the final two weeks.

Regardless of how the weekend goes, one thing feels like a safe expectation — plenty of home runs. Maryland and Nebraska are the top two teams in the Big Ten in homers. Seven players in the conference have hit at least 13 home runs this season. Six will be on the same field this series, three for each side. 

Maryland’s Matt Shaw leads the conference in home runs with 18, while Nick Lorusso’s 17 homers are tied with Nebraska’s Brice Matthews for second. Max Anderson follows with 16, and Gabe Swansen’s 13 rounds out the Husker group. Maryland’s Elijah Lambros also has 13 home runs.

Of course, the Terrapins have been better in this category as a team. They’re third in the country in home runs per game, averaging 2.2 per contest for a total of 101 on the season. That’s 25 more than the Huskers, who are having their best home-run-hitting season in 20 years. Maryland has homered in each of its last 18 games, including hitting multiple in the last 11 contests.

The difference in offensive success could be offset by pitching. Maryland ranks second-to-last in the Big Ten with an earned run average of 6.00, and is tied for last with 70 home runs allowed. Results aside, this weekend will likely look much different than Nebraska’s series against Iowa, when the Huskers totaled seven runs across the three games and scored just one in the final two matchups.

The four Big Ten teams to beat Maryland this season have all needed double-digit runs to do so. The Terrapins have yet to lose a conference series, however. They started the season slow in nonconference play, losing all three games at the Cambria College Classic, but are 27-8 since then. Last weekend’s sweep of Indiana pushed them into D1Baseball’s top 25 rankings at No. 23.

Husker head coach Will Bolt has emphasized that he wants his team to get ahead early, and they’ve have struggled when they don’t. That’ll be a tough task against one of the nation’s best offenses, but there may be ample opportunity to score.

While things are nowhere close to secure, Nebraska is generally in a good spot to reach the conference tournament. The five teams currently out of the field are below .500 in Big Ten play and only have matchups remaining against the top eight. After this weekend, the Huskers will face Penn State and Purdue in the two remaining conference series. The former is 10th place in the conference despite a 24-15 overall record, while the latter is below .500 on the season but seventh in the Big Ten with a league mark of 10-8.

There’s a wide range of possibilities for how Nebraska baseball’s regular season will end. The events of this weekend will begin to shape the team’s outlook.


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Tags: Baseball