Game Preview: Iowa Hawkeyes

After dropping the first two games against High Point to extend their season-long losing streak to four games, the Terps rebounded with a 9-2 victory over the Panthers on Sunday afternoon to send them into the Big Ten Tournament on a winning note. Maryland cooled off near the end of the regular season, losing its last four weekend series. However, the Terrapins (34-19, 15-9 Big Ten) led the Big Ten for a good chunk of the season and they split six games with the top two seeds in the Big Ten Tournament (Nebraska and Michigan). This is a team that has the ability to make a deep run in the tournament and it will start that journey in the first round against No. 5 seed Iowa at Bart Kaufman Stadium in Bloomington, Ind, Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

The Hawkeyes (34-19, 15-9 Big Ten) finished the regular season with the same overall record as the Terps, as well as the same conference mark. The two teams did not meet during the regular season, so some advanced tiebreaker math ruled that Maryland would be the No. 4 seed and the “home” team, while Iowa would be seeded fifth and bat first instead. The practical implication of that ruling is that fans will get to see a matchup between the best pitcher and the best power hitter in the conference within the first three batters of the game. That would be newly minted Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Brian Shaffer (more on him below) and Big Ten Player of the Year Jake Adams, Iowa’s imposing first baseman.

Adams has been the proverbial straw that stirs the drink for the Hawkeyes this season, coming within 19 batting average points of winning the conference’s triple crown. He settled for fourth in the Big Ten with a .344 average, but led the league in home runs (24, a single-season Iowa record and nine more than anyone else in the league), RBI (65, eight more than his closest competitor), and total bases (159, fourth in the nation and a whopping 41 more than anyone else in the Big Ten). The 6-foot-2, 250-pound junior already boasts three multi-homer games this season, including his most recent outing, a two-home run performance against Illinois on Sunday.

Although Adams is an ever-dangerous figure in the heart of Iowa’s lineup, he’s far from a one-man band. Three Hawkeye position players were named to the all-Big Ten Second Team: catcher Tyler Cropley, shortstop Mason McCoy, and outfielder Robert Neustrom. Cropley is an asset both with his bat and behind the plate. He posted a .773 OPS and hit six home runs, while also throwing out 17 of the 27 would-be base-stealers that tested his arm.

McCoy, who usually hits second in the Hawkeye order, hit .329 this season and demonstrated excellent bat-to-ball skills, striking out fewer times than he walked, the only Iowa starter to accomplish that feat. He got on base at a .398 clip and led the team with 16 doubles, while also adding four home runs. His fellow all-conference performer, Neustrom, turned in an identical .329 batting average out of the cleanup spot and ranked fourth in the Big Ten with 114 total bases (one more than Maryland’s leader in that category, Marty Costes). The sophomore outfielder turned in a .886 OPS and provided more-than-capable protection for Adams. A trip through the McCoy-Adams-Neustrom heart of the order will be a test for even as dominant a pitcher as Shaffer.

Iowa’s offense was very good, ranking third in the Big Ten in runs scored and second in home runs, but it’s pitching staff was not nearly as intimidating. Ace Nick Gallagher (more on him below) was a solid Friday starter, but the Hawkeye bullpen includes only one pitcher with an ERA below 3.00. That would be closer Josh Martsching, a 6-foot-2 senior, who worked 34.1 innings and posted a 2.88 ERA with 38 strikeouts. He only allowed more than one earned run once all season, though that came just two weeks ago against Ohio State. Overall, the staff posted middling marks in ERA (4.40) and WHIP (1.57).

Starting Pitching Matchup 

WED 8:30 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Brian Shaffer (7-3, 1.67 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Nick Gallagher (8-1, 2.59 ERA)

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Shaffer was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year on Tuesday, and it was well-deserved, as he led the league in ERA, WHIP (0.91) and innings pitched (97), while ranking second behind Michigan’s Oliver Jaskie in strikeouts with 98. The 6-foot-5 Shaffer is no stranger to the pressure of the Big Ten Tournament. A year ago, he faced third-seeded Indiana in an elimination game and rose to the occasion, tossing a complete game shutout and holding the powerful Hoosier lineup to just two hits while striking out eight in a Terps victory. He’ll face an ever tougher test this year, but he comes in rolling, having completed eight innings in each of his last three starts.

Gallagher is a familiar postseason foe for the Terps. Last season, the Hawkeyes and Terrapins met in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, and the 6-foot-3 right-hander struck out nine Terps over six innings en route to a victory. The junior followed up that performance with a stellar 2017 that saw him strike out 77 hitters in 83.1 innings and earn a spot on the all-Big Ten Second Team. He’s pitched at least six innings in five straight and at least seven in 8 of his 13 appearances this season, covering for the so-so Hawkeye bullpen. Entering the season, Baseball America ranked Gallagher’s curveball as the best breaking ball in the Big Ten.

2017 Big Ten Tournament Preview

Maryland (34-19, 15-9 Big Ten) struggled to end the regular season, losing three straight Big Ten series to close the conference slate with a 15-9 record after starting 12-3. Still, those 15 wins equaled a program record for conference victories last accomplished in 2014 in the ACC. They were also good enough to land the Terrapins the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, setting up a first-round matchup with No. 5 seed Iowa at 8:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. The format of the tournament is double-elimination, with teams needing a minimum of four wins and a maximum of five wins to take home the Big Ten Tournament Championship. Here’s how the field looks:

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1. Nebraska Cornhuskers (34-18-1, 16-7-1 Big Ten, Streak: W2) 

The ‘Huskers surged to the regular-season conference title after a second-place finish a year ago. Nebraska won five straight conference series to close the season, including taking two of three games from Penn State in the season’s final week to clinch the title. The Cornhuskers won the regular-season crown despite hitting a conference-low 20 home runs. Instead, they ranked second in the Big Ten in doubles and also took second in team ERA at 3.48. Leading the charge on offense was one of the league’s best hitters, junior Scott Schreiber, who hit .335 and led Nebraska with 20 extra-base hits. On the mound, the righty-lefty combo of Derek Burkamper and Jake Meyers anchors the rotation and made 26 combined starts, while the relief duo of Jake McSteen and Robbie Palkert posted identical 2.31 ERAs in 35 innings apiece. The Terps faced Nebraska in early April and split the first two games before dropping a 8-4 decision in the rubber match. The difference in the series was Cornhusker first baseman Ben Miller, who had 10 hits in the three games, scored four times, and drove in three runs in the series-clinching game.

2. Michigan Wolverines (42-13, 16-8, W2)

The Wolverines won eight more games overall than any other team in the Big Ten, partly on the strength of a 26-5 non-conference record. Like Nebraska, Michigan finished the season strong, winning four straight Big Ten series, including taking two out of three from in-state rival Michigan State to clinch the No. 2 seed and eliminate the Spartans from tournament contention. The Wolverines’ strength is their pitching staff, which led the conference in ERA (3.22) and strikeouts (9.54 per nine innings). The Michigan staff punched out over 100 more hitters than any other team in the conference. The starting rotation was good, if unspectacular, with Oliver Jaskie and Michael Hendrickson each turning in ERAs under 4.00. The bullpen was where Michigan really frustrated opposing hitters. Right-hander Jackson Lamb is the team’s top reliever; he pitched 28 innings without allowing an earned run, while striking out 28. As the Wolverines’ closer, he racked up 12 saves and opponents batted just .182 against him. Even more impressive might have been the performance Lamb’s fellow reliever, Mac Lozer, turned in. Like Lamb, Lozer did not allow an earned run all season, throwing 23.1 innings and striking out 34. In those 23.1 frames, the right-hander did not allow a single extra-base hit and opponents batted a minuscule .082 against him. In all, the Wolverines’ bullpen managed a 2.43 ERA and hitters batted .227 against the staff as a whole. On offense, catcher Drew Lugbauer leads the way for Michigan. He hit a team-high 11 home runs and compiled a .921 OPS. Maryland took on Michigan in the early stages of the Big Ten season and the Terps took two of three games from the then-No. 18 Wolverines. Brian Shaffer pitched eight innings and piled up 10 strikeouts in a 7-2 Maryland win in the first of the three games.

3. Minnesota Golden Gophers (33-19, 15-8, W1)

The Golden Gophers dropped two of three to Purdue in their final series of the season, but won their five previous games to secure a finish near the top of the conference. A 12-game winning streak from March 16-April 14 was the high point of the Gophers’ season and included sweeps of Michigan State and Ohio State, both on the road. Playing away from Siebert Field in Minneapolis was a strength all season for Minnesota, which went 16-5 on the road. The Gophers led the conference in batting average, hitting .313 as a team in conference games and leading the league with 20 triples. A pair of Golden Gophers, Luke Pettersen and Jordan Kozicky hit .340 or better, while Kozicky, a redshirt freshman, compiled a stellar .922 OPS. Meanwhile, junior Micah Coffey, a 2016 second-team All-Big Ten performer, hit a sizzling .370 in conference games. On the mound, the Gophers have a genuine ace in 6-foot-2 left-hander Lucas Gilbreath, who went 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA that ranked third in the Big Ten. He struck out 86 hitters in 76 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .176 batting average. At the back end of the bullpen, senior Brian Glowicki racked up 15 saves and posted a 1.93 ERA, allowing just three extra-base hits in 28 innings.

4. Maryland Terrapins (34-19, 15-9, W1)

The Terps led the conference for a good portion of the season before dropping those final three Big Ten series to Indiana, Illinois, and Northwestern and settling for the fourth seed in the tournament. Maryland also dropped the first two games against High Point before rallying to win on Sunday by a 9-2 score. The Terrapins boast the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year in Brian Shaffer, who led the conference with a 1.67 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 97 innings pitched and was second to Michigan’s Jaskie in strikeouts with 98. Shaffer leads a pitching staff that topped the conference with a 3.61 ERA in Big Ten play, but will need its other starters, Tyler Blohm (8-6, 3.46 ERA) and Taylor Bloom (6-2, 4.30) to pitch well if the Terps hope to make a deep run in the Big Ten Tournament. Sophomore outfielder Marty Costes paces the Terps on offense with a .336 batting average and an OPS over .960. The team’s hottest hitter going in to the tournament is AJ Lee, who is working on a career-long 11-game hitting streak and is third on the team with a .484 slugging percentage. Kevin Smith leads the team in that department at .537, a figure bolstered by his team-best 10 home runs.

5. Iowa Hawkeyes (34-19, 15-9, W1)

Maryland’s opponent in the tournament’s opening round posted identical conference and overall marks as the Terrapins. Like the Terps, Iowa had great success at home, posting a 19-4 record at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City. Unlike Maryland, the Hawkeyes finished the Big Ten schedule with a string of series victories, taking four straight three-game sets, including a sweep of Penn State in late April. Iowa is a power-hitting team that finished second in the conference with 58 home runs and compiled a .446 team slugging percentage. The most powerful hitter in the Hawkeye lineup is also by far the best power hitter in the conference. 6-foot-2, 250-pound first baseman Jake Adams clubbed a whopping 24 home runs and added 14 doubles. His two dozen homers were nine more than any other Big Ten hitter totaled and his 65 RBIs were eight clear of the field. He also finished fourth in the league with a .344 batting average. For a power hitter, Adams is averse to the strikeout, as well; he whiffed in just over 18 percent of his plate appearances. The Hawkeye pitching staff was middling, with a 4.40 team ERA that ranked sixth in the Big Ten. 6-foot-3 right-hander Nick Gallagher went 8-1 with a 2.59 ERA in 13 starts and senior right-hander Josh Martsching struck out 38 hitters in 34.1 relief innings to pace the staff.

6. Indiana Hoosiers (32-20-2, 14-9-1, W2)

Despite being just the No. 6 team in the Big Ten Tournament, the Hoosiers actually finished with the best RPI in the conference at No. 28 in the nation. Indiana was one spot ahead of Michigan and five spots ahead of Maryland in this week’s rankings. Indiana’s solid RPI figure is a function of a brutal non-conference schedule that ranked tenth-hardest in the country. The Hoosiers have already taken on both No. 1 Oregon State and No. 5 Louisville, and held their own, losing 1-0 and 4-1 to OSU and defeating the Cardinals, 4-3. Indiana won its final five series of the Big Ten schedule to make the tournament. Two-way star Matt Lloyd has been the team’s best player, leading the Hoosiers in both OPS (.993) and ERA (2.39 in 26.1 innings out of the bullpen). He doubles as the team’s No. 2 hitter and its closer. Indiana also got a powerful contribution from Craig Dedelow, a 6-foot-4 senior who finished second in the Big Ten with 15 home runs. One of those blasts came in the third game between Indiana and Maryland, after the teams had split the first two in a Saturday doubleheader. On Sunday, Dedelow hit a seventh-inning grand slam that turned a 3-2 Terps lead into a 6-3 deficit and carried the Hoosiers to a series-clinching victory in Bloomington.

7. Northwestern Wildcats (24-28, 13-11, W5)

The Wildcats have had a roller coaster of a season. They started the year with seven straight losses and they are the only team in the tournament with an overall record under .500. On the other hand they’re also the hottest team in the conference, having won five in a row to finish their Big Ten slate. Those five consecutive victories, albeit including three over Rutgers, who did not make the tournament, were enough to push Northwestern over the hump and into the conference tournament for the first time since 2010. Wildcat outfielder Joe Hoscheit was the key to his team’s conference success, batting an incredible .468 in Big Ten play, 73 points better than any other hitter in the league. For the season, Hoscheit hit .356, good for second in the Big Ten, and got on base at a .430 clip. The senior went 6-for-13 in the Wildcats’ series win over Maryland May 12-14, with a pair of triples and three runs scored. Northwestern’s best pitcher is senior left-hander Cooper Wetherbee, who tallied a 3.03 ERA in eight starts and 10 relief appearances. In his most recent outing, he threw seven shutout innings against Rutgers, allowing just three hits.

8. Purdue Boilermakers (29-25, 12-12, L1)

The Boilermakers were the Cinderella team in the Big Ten this season, rebounding from a last-place 2-22 finish in 2016 to their first tournament appearance since a regular-season title in 2012. Purdue stumbled in the season’s final weeks, losing five of their final six Big Ten games, but a midseason series win over its biggest rival, Indiana, as well as a sweep of Illinois two weeks later, gave it enough breathing room to grab the final spot in the tournament. The Boilermakers are a light-hitting team that scored the second-fewest runs in the Big Ten in conference play. Their best hitter is sophomore Jacson McGowan, who led the team in doubles (15), triples (three), and home runs (seven) en route to a .486 slugging percentage. What Purdue is good at is getting hit by pitches. Between them, infielders Evan Warden and Harry Shipley got plunked 53 times, and the Boilermakers got 77 free passes on hit by pitches as a team. Purdue’s starting rotation is mediocre at best, with just one pitcher who made any starts registering an ERA below 4.00 (Gareth Stroh at 3.92). The Boilermakers’ best weapon on the hill is reliever Ross Learnard, who might be the best reliever in the entire conference. The junior left-hander threw 44.1 innings and allowed only two earned runs, good for a tiny 0.41 ERA. Opponents managed just a .197 batting average against him. Importantly for the Boilermakers, Learnard didn’t allow any of the 29 hits he surrendered to leave the park.

Brian Shaffer named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, Tyler Blohm named Big Ten Freshman of the Year

Terrapins RHP Brian Shaffer was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, LHP Tyler Blohm was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, OF Marty Costes was named First Team All-B1G, and 3B AJ Lee was named Third Team All-B1G, the conference announced Tuesday.

Junior Brian Shaffer pitches during another stellar outing. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 4/21/2017
Shaffer, who finished the regular season with a 7-3 record and a conference-best 1.67 ERA (ranked sixth nationally), is the first Maryland player to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors. The Pylesville, Md., native—who was named to the Midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List earlier this season—also led the conference in innings-pitched (97.0), WHIP (0.91), was second in strikeouts (98), and was third in opponents’ batting average (.206).

In 10 of his last 11 starts—including seven of eight in Big Ten play—Shaffer has eclipsed seven innings-pitched while allowing three or fewer earned runs. Over his last three starts—two in Big Ten action—Shaffer is 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA and has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 23:2 over 24.0 innings. 

Shaffer was also named First Team All-B1G.


Freshman Tyler Blohm pitches for the Terrapins. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 4/15/2017
Blohm is the first Maryland player to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The southpaw led the conference in victories (8), as well as having the most wins of any freshman in the nation. The Severna Park, Md., native was a mainstay in the Terps’ weekend rotation for the entire season, earning the Sunday starting role during the first weekend of the season, and moving to the Saturday starting role after two weeks of Big Ten play.

Blohm finished 8-6 with a 3.46 ERA, striking out 57 and walking 28 in 67.2 innings-pitched. His opponents’ batting average of .228 ranked sixth in the conference and was best among freshman. He tied for 12th in the conference in strikeouts (57), a mark that was also best among freshman.

Blohm was also a unanimous selection to the All-B1G Freshman team.


Sophomore Marty Costes slaps the ball for a double. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/12/2017
Costes has started and played in every game Maryland has played this season, making 50 starts in right field and three starts in center field, and starting all 53 regular season games as the No. 3 hitter in the lineup. The Baltimore native finished the season eighth in the Big Ten in batting average (.336) and fifth in hits (71). The right-handed slugger also led the team in RBIs (39) for the second straights season. in addition to leading the team in RBIs (39) for the second consecutive season. Costes also hit nine home runs—good for second on the team and tied for ninth in the conference.

Costes is the first Maryland player to be named First Team All-B1G since RHP Mike Shawaryn (unanimous) and 2B Brandon Lowe were First Team All Big Ten selections in 2015.


Sophomore AJ Lee hits the ball. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 5/9/2017
Lee enjoyed a breakout season that saw him finish third on the team in batting average (.323), home runs (7) and RBIs (31). He also tied-for second on the team in stolen bases, with 14 in 17 attempts. In Big Ten play, Lee was sixth in average (.366) over 24 conference games. The Washington, D.C., native’s success was catalyzed by his torrid month of April, when he slashed .400/.471/.650 with four home runs, three doubles, 11 runs scored, 12 RBIs and five stolen bases. He carries an 11-game hitting streak—which includes five multi-hit games—into this week’s Big Ten Tournament.

Lee is the first Maryland player to be named Third Team All-B1G since 2B Nick Dunn, RHP Brian Shaffer, and RHP Taylor Bloom were named All-Big Ten Third Team in 2016 and C Kevin Martir was named All Big Ten Third Team in 2015.


 OF Zach Jancarski was named Maryland’s Sportsmanship Award recipient. 

Rankings Update: Week of 5/22/17

The Maryland Terrapins (34-19, 15-9 Big Ten) started off the second half of their season very well, but have since struggled mightily. The Terps finished their regular season in High Point, North Carolina, dropping the first two games of the series, but finished with a win.

Maryland, after losing their fourth straight weekend series, remains out of the rankings across the board. They finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten regular season standings.

The Terps will begin postseason play this week as they take on the fifth-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday night. Iowa finished the season with the exact same overall and conference record as Maryland. The Hawkeyes won their last four weekend series though, while the Terps lost their last four. The winner of the game will take on either Nebraska or Purdue.

Big Ten: T-4

D1Baseaball.com: Unranked

Baseball America: Unranked

RPI: 33

 

Three Maryland pitchers are linked by a common coach: Ryan Selmer’s father

Tayler Stiles, Taylor Bloom and Ryan Selmer. These three pitchers are integral pieces on a Maryland pitching staff that has helped the Terrapins to a 34-19 record this season.

But this trio is bound by more than the fact that they pitch for Maryland. All three hurlers were all coached, at some point, by Matthew Selmer, Ryan’s father. The elder Selmer, who is currently the head coach at Indian Creek High School, specializes in pitching mechanics, and began working with each of the three current Terps at different stages of their playing careers.

Senior left-hander Tayler Stiles joined Matthew Selmer’s 12U Kingston Royals team and was immediately the best power hitter and power pitcher on the team, according to Matthew Selmer. 

“The coaching staff knew [Stiles] would make it to college ball without a doubt, but the question was whether he would make it because of the bat or the arm,” Matthew Selmer said. “As I started working with him, it became evident his arm would carry him.”

Senior Tayler Stiles continues his stellar outing. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 5/9/2017
Stiles only played under Matthew Selmer through 16U, but he still seeks his former coach out for workouts and lessons every offseason, and the two still speak regularly to talk pitching.

“I can always look to him and ask for advice if I am struggling,” Stiles said. “He has basically taught me everything I know as far as the foundation of my mechanics and I probably would not be where I am without him.”

Stiles and Matthew Selmer worked on more than just pitching mechanics. The southpaw had a “bit of an attitude problem” when he first started playing for the Kingston Royals, which the coach addressed immediately. 

“Stiles was always a fiery competitor and he hated it when things didn’t go his way,” his coach said. “I am one of those old-school guys when it comes to the discipline side. Whenever he pushed my buttons, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull him out of the games, but he responded well, learned how to control himself and is a better all-around baseball player for it.”

Taylor Bloom first started working with Matthew Selmer when he began his career at Riverdale Baptist High School, where Selmer was a coach. The right-hander was already “polished” because of his previous work with pitching instructors, according to Selmer, but still had room to improve.

“I videotaped Bloom’s delivery when we started working together to address some things he could clean up, but he was always a very mechanically sound pitcher,” he said. “Having him at Riverdale Baptist was a pleasure because we knew we could give him the ball and he’d get the job done.”

Bloom posted an 8-1 record with 86 strikeouts and a 0.89 ERA as a senior at Riverdale Baptist. He started in the bullpen when he got to Maryland before carving out a role as the team’s main Saturday starter in 2016, leading the team in ERA and walks per nine innings. 

“I owe a lot of what I have been able to do [at Maryland] to Coach [Selmer],” Bloom said. “He has been with me every step of the way since high school, through years of summer ball, and now he’s still just a text or phone call away if I need help.”

After a breakout 2016, Bloom has struggled during parts of the 2017 season. The junior right-hander went through a slump at the end of March into early April, and Matthew Selmer was in touch with him to help guide him through it.

“I typically try to stay in the background during the season because these players have their own pitching coaches on their teams, but I couldn’t help it during Bloom’s recent struggles,” Matthew Selmer said. “I watched his game tape from his start against Nebraska for hours and reached out to him with some tips.”

Redshirt junior Ryan Selmer fist bumps junior Taylor Bloom. Selmer’s father, Matthew, coached both right-handers during their high school careers. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network 3/12/2017
Matthew Selmer maintains a close relationship with the players he has coached, but none closer than his relationship with his son Ryan.

Ryan’s older brother, Matthew Jr., was always “the more talented one,” according to their father. While Matthew Jr. was the star shortstop and pitcher, Ryan was essentially a utility player, filling in wherever he was needed.

The elder Selmer never prioritized Ryan over other players, saying that “he had to work for everything he earned.” Because of this Ryan Selmer took nothing for granted on the field and embraced his father’s tough love.

“Being the coach’s son was never easy,” Ryan Selmer said, “but I am grateful for everything he has done for me. Sometimes you see coaches just play their sons because they’re their sons, but he made me work for everything. I can’t tell you how many times he benched me, but I am a lot better for it.” 

He was “slow and uncoordinated,” according to his father, but things quickly changed when he hit his growth spurt. He was a late bloomer and sprang up to 6-foot-8 during his high school years at Riverdale Baptist, eventually earning his spot on the mound.

“It was fun to watch Ryan develop from a father’s perspective and a coach’s perspective,” Matthew Selmer said. “He didn’t really have any schools after him until a scout came to watch someone else from that Riverdale team and said ‘why is there a 6-foot-8 pitcher throwing 90 [mph] that I didn’t know about?’ From that point, he ended up at Maryland and I couldn’t be more proud of the player he has become.”

What the elder Selmer praises most about his son, however, isn’t what he does on the mound. Ryan has the ability to be light-hearted and brighten the mood around the dugout while still being able to flip the switch when it is time to compete.

“Ryan never had an issue having fun in the dugout, but sometimes he got a little carried away,” Matthew Selmer said. “He eventually found that balance and it has been a joy to see his evolution as a teammate. I believe every dugout needs a Ryan Selmer or two to help maintain a positive attitude.”

Bloom, Stiles and Ryan Selmer have been fixtures on the Maryland pitching staff over the last three seasons. Ryan Selmer has been the team’s most reliable reliever, leading the team with seven saves this season. Bloom has been a staple in the weekend rotation for the past two years, pitching to a 3.34 ERA in 177.2 innings. Stiles has been able to fill in any role necessary, making appearances out of the bullpen and filling in as a spot starter. Matthew Selmer has enjoyed every bit of it.

“Sometimes people think it is the pitchers who are lucky to have knowledgeable pitching instructors, but it is the pitching instructors – like myself – who are lucky to come across talent,” he said. “I lucked into coaching three very talented pitchers, and it is great to see them all having success on the field as teammates at Maryland.”

Early offense, good Taylor Bloom start help Terps end regular season on high note

After four straight losses, including three in a row by one run, Maryland’s offense said “enough” and left no doubt in a blowout win Saturday over High Point.

The Terps plated eight runs in the first three innings and cruised the rest of the way behind six stellar innings from Taylor Bloom en route to a 9-2 win in the regular season finale at Coy O. Williard Stadium in High Point, N.C.

Maryland (34-19) scored just one run combined in the opening three innings on Thursday and Friday, but equaled that total within two batters Saturday. Leadoff hitter Brandon Gum tripled off the right-field wall to open the game and AJ Lee followed with an RBI groundout to give the Terps a lead they would not relinquish.

That single run is all Maryland got in the first, but in the second inning, the Terps offense broke the game open. With one out, Kevin Smith roped a double to the wall in left-center, his ninth two-bagger of the year. A pair of singles from Madison Nickens and Justin Morris followed, driving in two runs. Later in the inning, Marty Costes chopped a ground ball down the left-field line for a double that scored two more and extended the lead to 5-0.

The Terps poured it on in the third, plating three more runs on two hits, with help from two High Point errors. Will Watson led off with a single and stole second. After stealing, however, he had to leave the game with an injury and Pat Hisle ran for him.

Hisle scored on a single from Smith and Smith came around to score for the second time when Madison Nickens tripled deep to right field. It was Nickens’ second triple of the season and it turned into another run when a relay throw to the infield got past everyone, allowing the senior outfielder to score. When the dust settled Maryland held a commanding 8-0 lead.

While the Terps were piling up runs, Taylor Bloom was befuddling the Panthers (29-21) and shutting down any thoughts of a comeback. The right-hander struck out the side in the second and didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until there were two outs in the fifth inning.

He eventually tossed six innings, allowing just two runs and striking out three without issuing a walk, before ceding the mound to Tayler Stiles in the seventh. Bloom picked up the win to improve to 6-2 on the season, while High Point starter Trevor Holloway took the loss and dropped to 3-6.

The Terps used a balanced offense to put nine runs on the board, as every starter had a hit except for Watson, who walked once in two plate appearances. The bottom of the order in particular did a lot of damage as hitters Nos. 7-9, Smith, Nickens and Morris, each had at least two hits and drove in four runs combined.

Gum, Costes, and Nick Dunn each reached base three times, including three hits for Gum, while AJ Lee went 1-for-6, extending his career-long hit streak to 11 games.

High Point tallied 12 hits, but left 10 runners on base. Hunter Lee and Zach Vandergrift each had multi-hit afternoons for the Panthers.

Stiles pitched three shutout innings to close out the game for the Terps, striking out six and lowering his ERA to 3.72. He picked up his first save of the season in the process.