College Park was finally represented on the third and final day of the 2022 MLB Draft. The Maryland Terrapins had three players get selected on Tuesday, the first time since 2017 the team had that many get taken.
After a loaded roster exploded for a dominant season, it was evident that multiple players would hear their names get called in Los Angeles at some point during the three-day event. The question was when, and by which teams. Here are the three Terps that got selected.
Ryan Ramsey – Left-Handed Pitcher – Kansas City Royals
Ramsey was the first Terp to hear his name called in this year’s draft as he was taken by the Royals in the 13th round as the 385th overall pick.
The southpaw had plenty to boast about after his 2022 campaign, with the most notable being his perfect game that he tossed in April, the second time a pitcher accomplished the feat in school history.
He posted a 3.22 ERA on the season and finished with an 11-1 record. Though he was the only pitcher to come out of College Park in the draft this year, his numbers may be similar to those from recent Terp pitchers who got selected in past drafts.
Sean Burke finished his final collegiate season with a 3.27 ERA before being drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the third round in 2021. Hunter Parsons was selected by the New York Mets in the 19th round in 2019 after finishing with a 3.45 ERA.
Ramsey winds up being the first ever Terp to be drafted by the Royals.
Troy Schreffler – Outfield – Philadelphia Phillies
Schreffler took a massive step forward in 2022, earning him a selection by the Phillies in the 15th round as the 452nd overall pick.
The outfielder had quite the junior year: compared to the season prior, his batting average increased by 65 points, his slugging percentage went up from the mid-.300s to the mid-.500s, and his on-base percentage reached the .400s.
Through his skyrocketed statistics this season, Schreffler garnered a much greater sample size as he played in 26 more games and got 145 more at-bats his junior year than his freshman and sophomore combined.
A Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native, Schreffler receives a chance to play for his home team.
Chris Alleyne – Outfield – Los Angeles Dodgers
Good things come in threes. At least that’s what they say. As the marathon-esque draft began to dwindle down, Alleyne became the third and final Terp to be drafted this year as the Dodgers took him in the 19th round as the 585th overall pick.
In a season where the fifth-year outfielder stood out in a loaded Terps roster and those who could potentially be taken heading into the draft, Alleyne was handed a ticket to Hollywood as he got picked up in the second-to-last round.
Wearing the illustrious No. 3 on his jersey this season, Alleyne was crowned 2022 Big Ten Player of the Year and finished his Maryland career ranking toward the top in numerous offensive categories.
Out of his five seasons as a Terp, he had the best numbers in his fifth year in hits, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, walks, on-base percentage, games played and at-bats.
Not hearing his name called in last year’s draft and returning to Maryland for an extra season adds additional sweetness to a selection of someone who played a splendid five-year collegiate career.
POST-MLB DRAFT: Free Agent Signing
Maxwell Costes – Infield – Baltimore Orioles
Costes signed with the Orioles as an undrafted free agent Wednesday night, one day after the draft concluded.
A native of Baltimore City and a graduate of the Gilman School, the Maryland first baseman gets a crack at playing for his childhood team after four seasons as a Terp.
With a four-year career containing excellent numbers throughout, Costes ranks second in school history in home runs and walks, as well as third in runs batted in.
His batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage all swayed throughout the four years but remained strong since he arrived at College Park. He did receive the most at-bats, though, in his senior year and finished his final season with a .296 batting average, 16 home runs, 52 runs batted in, and 39 walks.
Signing with his childhood team adds another great chapter to Costes’ already great story.
Amidst a busy upcoming week in the baseball world comes the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft beginning Sunday in Los Angeles at 7 p.m. ET, which many eyes in the College Park area will gravitate toward.
After selections only went as far as five rounds in the COVID-affected 2020, this year’s draft will contain 20 rounds, just like last year.
The Terps saw two of their players get selected in 2021. Sean Burke was taken by the Chicago White Sox (Round 3, Pick 94) and Ben Cowles was picked up by the New York Yankees (Round 10, Pick 303).
With Maryland coming off a monstrous 2022 season, there are a few players to look out for as the draft begins. Here are a few Terps that teams in the majors should take a look at.
Chris Alleyne – Outfield
Alleyne declared for the 2021 MLB Draft but decided to return to Maryland for his fifth year after not hearing his name get called. He had the option to sign with an MLB team as an undrafted free agent but felt there was ‘unfinished business’ after the Terps’ campaign last season was cut short in the Greenville Regional.
Thus, the centerfielder racked up the accolades this season, with most notably winning the 2022 Big Ten Player of the Year. He is also a part of the 2022 First Team All-Big Ten, 2022 D1Baseball Second Team All-American and 2022 NCAA College Park Regional All-Tournament Team, among others.
After blasting 24 home runs this season, he broke the record for the most in a single season in school history. He finished the year with a .331 batting average and was a constant force in the potent Maryland lineup.
Ryan Ramsey – Left-Handed Pitcher
When people see Ramsey’s name, they may be reminded of the night of April 29 when the southpaw fired the second perfect game in school history and the first since 1959.
Aside from that memorable night at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, Ramsey still has a lot to his name after concluding his third season at Maryland. He was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week twice and finished this season on the 2022 First Team All-Big Ten.
Generally toeing the rubber on the Saturday matchups during the weekend series’, Ramsey posted a 3.22 ERA and went 11-1 in 92.1 innings of work.
Nick Dean – Right-Handed Pitcher
Kicking off his season with two starts of shutout ball, Dean helped his ballclub get in the winning groove early. He would go on to finish the season with a 6-2 record. Taking up the majority of the Friday starts, Dean capped off his 2022 season with a 4.57 ERA.
A member of the 2022 Third Team All-Big Ten, Dean threw 82.2 innings while striking out 80 batters. In the 15 games that he pitched in, Maryland ended up winning 11 of them.
Though Dean struggled a bit more toward the end of the season, the Pennsylvania native proved to be a key piece for the Maryland pitching staff the whole year.
Maxwell Costes – Infield
A member of the 2022 Third Team All-Big Ten and the 2022 NCAA College Park Regional All-Tournament Team, Costes’ bat came up big all throughout the season as the senior crushed baseballs in the heart of the Terps’ batting order.
Costes currently stands second in school history in home runs with 40, smashing 16 of them this season. He is also second in walks (116) and third in RBIs (145) in school history. The first baseman finished his senior season with a .296 batting average and 226 plate appearances.
Maryland Baseball Head Coach Rob Vaughn agreed to a contract extension through June 2027, per an announcement Monday afternoon from the team.
Vaughn earned the extension after his club finished the year with the most regular season wins in school history with a 48-14 record, accounting for a .774 win percentage.
A season in which the 34-year-old skipper won the Big Ten Coach of the Year, he led the Terps to an 18-5 record in conference matchups and their first conference title since 1971.
Several players earned honors under Vaughn’s leadership this season including six All-Big Ten First Team (Kevin Keister, Nick Lorusso, Chris Alleyne, Ryan Ramsey, Jason Savacool, Matt Shaw), one All-Big Ten Second Team (Luke Shliger) and three All-Big Ten Third Team (Troy Schreffler Jr., Nick Dean, Maxwell Costes). Alleyne also finished as Big Ten Player of the Year.
Maryland hosted the first-ever College Park Regional this season in which they battled Long Island University, Wake Forest, and UConn at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
Vaughn has been a part of the Maryland coaching staff since 2013 and since becoming head coach in 2018, he has a record of 141-96 (.680 win percentage).
The most recent players to get drafted by Major League Baseball under Vaughn are RHP Sean Burke (Round 3, Chicago White Sox) and SS Benjamin Cowles (Round 10, New York Yankees). Several more players are expected to be selected in the 2022 MLB Draft next month.
With Vaughn staying in College Park for five more seasons, the program looks to build off its historic 2022 campaign.
Following two huge wins on Sunday against Wake Forest and UConn to stave off elimination, top-seeded Maryland found itself just one win away from reaching its first NCAA Super Regional since 2015. The only thing standing in the way of this Terps squad was a winner takes all rematch with the Huskies.
Down 9-1 at one point in this game, Maryland was able to cut the deficit all the way back down to two runs. That was as close as the Terps could get though, losing 11-8 to UConn and putting an end to their season.
The game started about as well as the Terps could ask for, Luke Shliger leading off the game with a home run and sending the sellout crowd at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium into a frenzy.
“You can see how much [the fans] cared that we were hosting a regional,” Kevin Keister said. “We had great fans out here this whole weekend.”
That was followed by two quick outs to start the bottom of the first by starter Andrew Johnson. From there, however, the wheels began to fall off.
Four straight two-out walks brought home the tying run. Sean Heine was brought in and immediately hit his first batter, giving UConn the lead.
“AJ is going to pitch in massive games here for us,” Head Coach Rob Vaughn said. “He’ll be able to look back at tonight, even though it didn’t go his way.”
A Matt Donlan grand slam in the next at-bat gave the Huskies a 6-1 lead while having only picked up one hit. The crowd was stunned and any momentum Maryland had now belonged to UConn.
With the score now at 9-1, the Terps put together a four-run rally in the fifth, capitalizing off a couple UConn miscues and RBIs from Keister and Troy Schreffler to make the score 9-5.
Following another UConn run to put the Huskies into double-digits, Chris Alleyne made his presence in the game known, hitting a laser shot over the right field wall to cut the deficit to three.
The home run marked Bubba’s 24th of the year, the most hit by any player in Maryland program history.
“I couldn’t be more proud of [Chris],” Vaughn said. “Just an unbelievable human, unbelievable kid. We’re gonna watch that guy play on TV one day.”
The lead was further shrunk to two runs when Keister drove in his second run of the game in the eighth inning.
“We always have confidence in our lineup,” Keister said. “We knew from the beginning that we were going to have to hit today and it just came later in the game than we thought.”
What happened next added a flair of controversy to the end of the game.
With Keister on third, Alleyne seemingly legged out an infield single to bring home a run, colliding with the UConn first baseman in the process. To the surprise of many, the home plate umpire called Bubba out for interference, infuriating the fifth-year senior.
“The guy made the call he thought was the right call,” Alleyne said. “And that’s just baseball.”
Following a review, the call was confirmed and Keister was sent back to third base, eliminating both a run and a baserunner. The crowd erupted into furious booing and shouting as Nick Lorusso grounded out to end the inning.
“I didn’t see it the same way, but there’s a reason I don’t umpire,” Vaughn said. “The rule’s the rule, and the way the rule was enforced is right, whether I like it or not.”
Maryland could not do anything in the ninth, having to watch UConn celebrate on the field amid more boos from the crowd.
This historic season for Maryland baseball comes to an end in the regional round, UConn advancing to play either Stanford or Texas State in the Super Regional.
Despite the loss, Coach Vaughn still held a very optimistic demeanor, especially when talking about the future of this program.
“We’re gonna keep building this thing,” he said. “This group is gonna walk though the gates in Omaha, there’s no doubt in my mind. This group is gonna do some special things.”
After winning earlier in the day against Wake Forest, No. 1-seed Maryland still had a daunting task ahead of them: take down a UConn team who had beaten them 10-2 a day ago, two times in a row.
With a tie ballgame in the late innings, the Terps were leaning on the unlikely pairing of Ryan Ramsey and Andrew Johnson.
Ramsey, a stalwart of Maryland’s weekend rotation, was making his first relief appearance since the 2021 season. Following five innings of work as the starter on Friday night, the lefty went 2 1/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to keep Maryland’s hopes alive.
“Rammer got himself ready to go, came out, and gave us everything he had today,” Head Coach Rob Vaughn said. “That tells you a lot about the culture of these guys and how much [they] really care about it.”
Johnson, a true freshman, was not typically used for high-leverage situations during the regular season. Tonight he was asked to take the ball with the game tied in the 11th. He also held the Huskies scoreless, setting the stage for the Terps lineup in the bottom half of the inning.
“He didn’t let the moment get big,” Vaughn said. “He just executed pitches and got them kind of off balance.”
As is the case with most extra-innings games, the outcome of tonight’s game was still completely in question when Maryland came to bat in the bottom of the 11th.
That was until Nick Lorusso stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. He launched a walk-off base hit of the right field wall, taking down UConn and staving off elimination for the Terps for the second time today.
“In that entire at-bat, I was just trying to think of a deep fly ball,” Lorusso said. “Eventually he there me the fastball that I could handle and I ended up punching it out to right.”
It was all Maryland early on, with the Terps lineup ambushing UConn starter Enzo Stefanoni in the first inning off an RBI single from Matt Shaw and a two-run home run from Troy Schreffler Jr.
Nick Lorusso added insurance to the Maryland lead in the fifth inning, launching a solo homer over the temporary outfield bleachers.
With all three weekend starters — plus Logan Ott — having already pitched extended innings this weekend, Nick Robinson was selected to make just his second start of the season.
He certainly justified this decision, tossing five shutout innings and getting Terps out of two jams, stranding runners in scoring position in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Upon finding out he would be starting such an important game, the sixth-year grad transfer could not have been happier.
“It’s unbelievable to be here and to be playing in this game,” Robinson said. “It’s just an opportunity of a lifetime.”
The early bullpen performance for Maryland was not quite as impressive. Both Nigel Belgrave and Will Glock struggled to keep the ball in the strike zone, leading to a four-run UConn rally in the sixth to tie the game.
From there, the scoring went back and forth, Maryland picking up a pair of runs in the seventh off RBI hits from Shaw and Maxwell Costes. That was immediately followed in the top of the eighth by a UConn RBI triple and another run off a Ramsey wild pitch.
Following a few scoreless innings from both bullpens, the Terps finally pulled through in the eleventh, sending the home crowd into a frenzy and keeping Maryland’s championship hopes afloat.
“What a day. There’s not a lot of other ways to describe tonight in particular,” Vaughn said. “[This team is] just a group of warriors.”
The uphill battle still is not over for Maryland. They need to take down UConn one more time to be crowned champions of the College Park Regional bracket. First pitch will be approximately 7:00 p.m. Pitchers are still to be determined.
Down 5-2 to Wake Forest going into the seventh inning, one-seed Maryland knew exactly what the stakes were: find a way to come back or a historic season would come to an end.
The start of any great comeback is the first run. Kevin Keister provided that with a leadoff home run. There was still work to be done, but the Terps had a much more manageable deficit going into the eighth.
After two groundouts to start the next inning, it looked like it would take a ninth-inning rally to keep Maryland’s season alive.
That was when the flip switched.
An Ian Petrutz walk gave an opportunity to Bobby Zmarzlak who had been hitless to that point. Following struggles earlier in the game both at the plate and in the field, the Terps outfielder sent a moonshot over the left field wall and tied the game at five.
That on its own would have been enough to get the crowd at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium energized and back on its feet, but the Terps were far from done.
“It’s no secret he hadn’t had a great regional,” Head Coach Rob Vaugh said. “But big-time players show up when it matters.”
Two batters later, Luke Shliger hit an RBI double to give Maryland its first lead of the game. Almost immediately after, Chris Alleyne broke his regional round cold streak with a two-run homer of his own over the batter’s eye in center field.
Following one more eighth-inning run off the bat of Troy Schreffler, the Terps were in complete control of the game after being down two just a few minutes earlier.
Maryland carried this momentum through the ninth inning, defeating Wake Forest 10-5 and eliminating the Demon Deacons from the NCAA tournament.
“That’s postseason baseball right there,” Vaughn said. “I was really proud of our guys. They fought really hard.”
Wake Forest got out to an early lead, two RBI doubles in the first inning put Maryland down early and swayed the momentum.
The Terps responded the very next inning when Maxwell Costes hit a two-run home run into the temporary outfield bleachers.
That longball was number 40 in Costes’s career at Maryland, making him just the second player in program history to reach that mark.
Two home runs off Maryland starter Nick Dean in the fifth and sixth innings gave the Demon Deacons a 5-2 lead.
Dean had a very up and down day, at times mesmerizing the Wake Forest lineup, but also allowing five runs and seven hits in five and two-thirds innings.
David Falco Jr. was fantastic out of the bullpen, finishing off the game for Maryland with a season-long three and one-third shutout inning performance. Falco credited his ability to pitch at length in relief of Dean to this Maryland team staff.
“It’s a testament to our staff,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement on my ability to hold my fastball velo through the innings.”
The Terps won’t have too much time to relish this win as they’ll be right back in the Bob for first pitch against UConn at 7:06 p.m. Maryland’s starter is still to be determined.
With the stage set Saturday evening for a duel between two of the strongest teams east of the Mississippi, Maryland and UConn quickly became deadlocked in an intense duel between a couple of respective first team all-conference pitchers.
First Team All-Big Ten pitcher Jason Savacool and First Team All-Big East pitcher Pat Gallagher clashed at The “Bob” in the heat of an early June day, but after Savacool’s exit after the sixth, the Huskies took off while the Terps’ fuse fizzled out. The game ultimately ended in UConn’s favor, with the Huskies winning, 10-2.
The Huskies got to scoring immediately, crushing back-to-back home runs against Savacool to leadoff their half of the first inning. The solo shots, coming from David Smith and Erik Stock, respectively, gave Gallagher a very early lead to work with, and for the first four innings he was able to keep the Terps mostly at bay.
While on the theme of solo home runs, Maryland’s first strike of the night was a Kevin Keister solo home run that he crushed well beyond the right field wall to bring the Terps within a run.
A couple of innings later, Ian Petrutz came up with a big-time RBI to score Maxwell Costes and even the score, 2-2. Petrutz was coming off a three-hit, five RBI performance against Long Island University Friday night, and has continued to prove himself as a potent threat in the bottom of Maryland’s order.
Up to that point in the game, Savacool had nearly matched his counterpart’s performance on the mound, keeping his confidence high and limiting the Huskies to the two early solo blasts. Outside of both pitchers giving up a pair of runs, they both gave up seven hits, and Savacool had just one more walk than Gallagher.
Quite the pitchers duel.
However, the anti-climatic difference-maker in the game came in the bottom half of the fifth, when a fielder’s choice groundout to first base allowed Stock to score from third. The play before that may have been an even bigger difference-maker than the run-scoring groundout itself, as wise base running from Stock allowed him to get from first to third on an infield single.
If anyone kept UConn’s offense in the game the whole nine innings, it was easily Stock. By the end of the night, he reached base four times (double, home run and two walks), and scored all four times.
Following that go-ahead run, Savacool cruised through the sixth, emphatically striking out Zach Bushling for the third out en route to an applause-filled exit from his start.
The game may have been decided after UConn’s go-ahead run in the fifth, but with Savacool gone and Nigel Belgrave entering in the seventh, the Huskies were dead-set on grabbing some insurance.
After allowing the first two Huskies to reach base, Belgrave nearly put an end to the rally with two straight strikeouts that had the sellout crowd erupting. But on the very first pitch redshirt junior Matt Donlan saw, a three-run home run was crushed well over the batter’s eye as the Huskies got their insurance with a 6-2 lead after seven innings.
From then on, the Terps struggled to produce anything on the offensive side, the only glimpse of a comeback coming on a dropped ball error by Huskies right fielder Casey Dana. Two quick outs abruptly ended the rally, and the game became virtually out of reach after the Huskies picked up four more runs later in the inning.
Petrutz would add on to the Terps’ score in the ninth — hitting a three-run home run to cut UConn’s lead to five — but Maryland could not muster up a big enough miracle to push past the Huskies.
With the loss, Maryland now faces Wake Forest in an elimination game Sunday at 1:00 p.m.. Should the Terps reign victorious, it would set up a rematch with UConn.
History was made in College Park tonight as No. 15 seed Maryland hosted an NCAA regional game for the first time in program history. In front of a sold out crowd at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, the Terps put on a show, defeating Long Island 23-2.
If a scoreless first inning gave anyone the idea that this would be a close game, the Maryland lineup quickly put them to rest, bringing fourteen batters to the plate and scoring nine runs.
The Terps did not let up in the following innings, scoring three in the third and seven more in the fourth. Suddenly, it was 19-0 Maryland before the game had even become official.
Nick Lorusso and Troy Schreffler Jr. both had monster nights at the plate, hitting two doubles and driving four runs each.
“I think it’s safe to say the bats are warmed up and ready to go for tomorrow,” Schreffler said. “Hopefully we can come out with the same mindset we did today.”
Matt Shaw, Luke Shliger and Ian Petrutz supplied the fireworks, hitting home runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings respectively. Petrutz finished the night with five runs driven in, the most he’s had in a game all season.
There was no true weak spot for the Maryland lineup tonight. All nine Terps starters registered a hit, six driving in at least one run. The 23 runs scored by the Terps tonight marks the most Maryland has ever scored in an NCAA Tournament game.
“Obviously, that’s a good way to start the tournament,” Terps Head Coach Rob Vaughn said. “I thought it was just a really relentless effort from our guys. Just a really complete effort offensively.”
On the mound, Ryan Ramsey was completely locked in from the moment he first stepped onto the mound. Shaking off a tough start in the Big Ten tournament against Michigan his last time out, the lefty tossed five shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out eleven.
“Seeing them take bad swings on the fastball, I was just trying to pump them with that instead of mixing it up so much,” Ramsey said.
Logan Ott threw four relief innings to finish off the game, providing longevity that will be crucial to keeping the Maryland bullpen fresh for the rest of the weekend.
“Otty was outstanding,” Vaughn said. “He did a really good job just throwing strikes and doing his job.”
One aspect that seemed to have a big impact on the game was the atmosphere. With temporary bleachers set up in the outfield, Maryland drew by far its largest crowd of the season.
“It was definitely pretty cool,” Schreffler said. “We’ve worked hard all year for this, and to come out and see that we have so much support from fans and from the University of Maryland […] was pretty awesome.”
“I thought it was fantastic,” Lorusso said. “How loud and energetic everybody was was something really special.”
With the win, Maryland has secured a matchup tomorrow night against UConn, the winners of this afternoon’s College Park regional game. Jason Savacool will get the start for the Terps.
For the first time in program history, The “Bob” will be hosting a NCAA Regional.
As the No. 15 seed in the nation, Maryland welcomes a treacherous field of opponents into the College Park Regional, hoping to pick up where last year’s squad left off and renew its College World Series aspirations. The field includes a Wake Forest team lined with dangerous bats, a Connecticut team loaded with pitching, and a Long Island University team that recently won its conference tournament.
Coming off a disappointing end to the Big Ten Tournament in which they lost two of their three games (outscored by eight runs), the Terps turn their attention to the Long Island Sharks when the teams butt heads in game one Friday evening.
The winner of that matchup will face the winner of Wake Forest and Connecticut, who play each other in Friday afternoon’s slot. To get a better grasp at the competition Maryland faces Friday and what it might face later in the weekend, here’s a brief preview of each opposing team in the College Park Regional.
Long Island Sharks (37-19, 18-9 NEC)
The No. 4 seed Sharks are the Terps’ game one competition, and after winning their conference’s tournament to clinch a spot in the NCAA Championship Bracket, Long Island has plenty of momentum behind it. Since LIU merged its Brooklyn and Post programs into one under the Sharks in 2019, the team’s 37 wins this season was the most in program history.
The Sharks didn’t have much of an outstanding offense — ending the season dead in the middle of the Northeast Conference in just about every hitting category. The one category they dominated the conference in — and what could prove to be their deadliest skill at the plate — is walks. The Sharks walked 313 times in 2022, 68 times more than the next best team in Mount St. Mary’s. While they might not dominate with the bat itself, elite plate discipline and the ability to manufacture runs through walks could be Long Island’s secret weapon against the Terps.
Hitters to Watch:
For the most part, the Sharks’ lineup has mostly been a revolving door of batters with only six players starting just about every game this season. The two most impactful bats of that group have been graduate student Michael Edelman and senior Giovanni Ciaccio. Both players have nearly identical slash lines, with Edelman at .326/.419/.496 and Ciaccio at .310/.436/.478.
The Sharks aren’t necessarily a long ball-dependent team, but if there’s going to be one player to send a ball or two over the fence in the College Park Regional, look to junior EJ Exposito, who has a team-leading 13 home runs.
Pitchers to Watch:
With the Sharks most likely sending out their typical Friday starter for game one against Maryland, the Terps might have a lot of work to do to move on in the regional. Senior Joshua Loeschorn is second on the team with a 3.02 ERA, and he has struck out 102 batters compared to 26 walks all season. After Loeschorn, the Sharks bring some solid bullpen arms to the table, including senior Nick Torres, who has 51 2/3 innings of a 3.14 ERA under his belt in 2022.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons (40-17-1, 15-14-1 ACC)
Bringing the strongest offense in the field to The “Bob,” the Demon Deacons are an extremely formidable team. Despite not winning the ACC Tournament, Wake Forest’s seventh 40-win season in program history was enough to get them into the College Park Regional as the No. 2-seeded team.
Wake Forest’s biggest strength is its offense, which boasts seven lineup regulars with batting averages over .300. The Demon Deacons also led the way with 115 home runs in the ACC, beating out other extraordinary offenses such as Virginia Tech (110) and Georgia Tech (110). Even when they don’t win using the long ball, their conference-leading .428 team on-base percentage shows how they can easily find multiple ways to out-perform some of the country’s best offenses.
Hitters to Watch:
It’s hard to point out just a couple of Wake Forest’s best hitters when the lowest OPS in the lineup is .771. Simply enough, their whole lineup will be riddled with gritty, powerful bats. If there had to be a couple to highlight, Nick Kurtz and Brendan Tinsman will likely appear plenty in the scoring summary. The freshman Kurtz leads his team in OPS at 1.163, and the redshirt junior Tinsman — who follows Kurtz up in the lineup in the cleanup spot — leads the Deacons with 23 home runs which is tied for fifth in the country.
Pitchers to Watch:
In contrast to its offense, good pitching at Wake Forest is few and far between. In the weekend rotation, the one standout is sophomore ace Rhett Lowder. Lowder has led the Deacons’ starters with a 2.61 ERA — a wide margin over his peers. In the pen, Wake Forest has a few solid options to hand the ball to in the late innings. Three of the bullpen arms have ERA’s below 3.50, including Camden Minacci, who owns a 1.85 ERA and has six saves on the year.
Connecticut Huskies (46-13, 16-5 Big East)
The No. 3 seed Connecticut Huskies are practically complete opposites of the Wake Forest team they face Friday afternoon — stacked on the pitching end, but middle of the pack at the plate. That pitching, which led the Big East in ERA and opposing batting average, carried the Huskies to the second-winningest season in program history — just shy of the 2010 season’s 48 wins.
Out of the 17 pitchers on Connecticut’s roster, 12 of them own ERA’s below 3.50, including all three pitchers in the weekend rotation. While the offense leaves more to be desired, the pitching could easily shut down any offense. In the regular season, it certainly helped propel the Huskies to an 8-1 record against the top three offenses in the Big East (Xavier, Creighton, Butler).
Hitters to Watch:
Sophomore Korey Morton might have less than 100 at-bats with the Huskies this season and was mostly used as a pinch-runner in the early part of the season, but his .442 batting average and .726 slugging percentage in that sample size should be pretty daunting to opposing pitchers. Along with Morton, senior Erik Stock brings just as much power with his bat, but over a sample size of 240 at-bats. That power has translated to a .375/.443/.600 slash line and the best OPS on the team out of qualified batters. Ben Huber and Casey Dana round out the middle of the order that packs an extreme punch — both of those hitters owning OPS’s over .900.
Pitchers to Watch:
There are so many pitchers to choose from on the Huskies’ staff as almost three quarters of their pitchers can provide quality innings. With that being said, their starters this season — Enzo Stefanoni, Pat Gallagher and Austin Peterson — have ERA’s of 3.01, 3.21 and 3.22, respectively. Most notably, Peterson has struck out 129 batters this season compared to walking just 17. Beyond the starters, the bullpen trio of Jack Sullivan, Brendan O’Donnell and Garrett Coe could easily shut down lineups late in games with the three combining for a 1.89 ERA over 66 2/3 innings. In a regional filled with potent bats, Connecticut’s pitching could prove to be a real difference maker.
In a game both teams needed to win to stay alive, top-seeded Maryland fell to Indiana 6-4 in eleven innings, eliminating the Terps from the Big Ten tournament.
The Terps led for most of the late innings until the Hoosiers scored on a double play in the top of the ninth. The decisive blow came off the bat of Josh Pyne, who capped off a fantastic day at the plate with a two-run single in the top of the eleventh.
The game was back and forth all afternoon, an early 2-0 Hoosier lead being countered by RBI singles from Schreffler and Chris Alleyne in the fourth and fifth innings respectively.
Schreffler entered the game leading all batters with six hits in tournament play. With two more today and another run driven in, the third team all-Big Ten honoree was the clear MVP for this team over the three tournament games played.
On the mound, Nick Dean produced a solid outing, allowing two earned runs on five hits in five and two-thirds innings pitched. The Terps starter worked his way through a few precarious situations including a three-error inning that resulted in an unearned run crossing the plate.
While errors certainly hurt Maryland today, they also provided scoring opportunities. A Maxwell Costes sixth inning bunt was airmailed past first base by Indiana pitcher Braydon Tucker, allowing Schreffler and Matt Shaw to score.
Despite his error leading to two runs, Tucker was one of the biggest reasons Indiana was able to come out on top, providing six quality innings out of the bullpen. He came on in relief in the sixth inning and pitched all the way to the end of the game, throwing 98 pitches in the process.
Maryland leaves Omaha losing two out of three games played in the Big Ten tournament, falling to 46-12 on the season and 3-1 in extra-inning games.
For now, this Terps squad will have to wait until Monday when NCAA tournament seeds are announced to find out who they will be playing in the regionals and if those games will be played at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.