The Terps took two out of three from the Appalachian State Mountaineers this weekend in Emerson, Georgia.
A dominating performance from ace Mike Shawaryn on Friday led to a 4-2 victory.
On Saturday, the Mountaineers bats sparked. They knocked out starter Taylor Stiles after just 3 1/3 innings en route to a 9-7 win.
In Sunday’s rubber game, LaMonte Wade and Nick Cieri came through with the bases loaded to highlight a five-run third inning that contributed to the Terps 8-2 win.
Before the Terps head to Wilmington, Delaware to take on the Blue Hens on Tuesday, here are some takeaways from last weekend’s series:
1. Strong starting pitching will take the team far.
Mike Shawaryn led the team and broke a school record with 11 wins last season. Just nine games into the season, he’s a fourth of the way there. His performance on Friday—7 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 12 strikeouts and 0 walks—gave him his third win of the season (3-0). At one point, he retired 14 batters in a row. Shawaryn faced 23 total batters, and struck out more than half. His 12 Ks are a career high.
Brian Shaffer struggled in his first career start last week against Arkansas, allowing six runs on eight hits over three innings. However, he bounced back on Sunday, going six innings, allowing just two runs on four hits, and striking out six while walking none.
“It was a good solid Sunday for us,” Szefc said. “I was particularly pleased with Brian Shaffer. His start was very good. You good need starts on Sundays to win a series and he did exactly that. That was a really big thing for our team today.”
Terps starters had a 17:1 K/BB ratio this weekend.
2. LaMonte Wade has started the season with a hot bat.
Through the season’s first nine games, Wade is batting .486 with a .591 on-base percentage and a .571 slugging percentage. He’s tied for fewest strikeouts on the team (2), and leads the team in stolen bases (5), hits (17) and total bases (20). He’s tied with catcher Nick Cieri for the team lead in RBIs (11).
In Friday’s game, Wade notched two hits, stole three bases and scored one run. He also reached on an error. Wade’s hot hitting continued on Saturday, when he went 2-3 and scored two runs. Finally, on Sunday, the junior outfielder went 2-4 with two RBIs and stole another base. It was his single in the third inning with the bases loaded that started the Terps scoring and led to a five-run third inning.
“I just think LaMonte’s playing relaxed. He’s good enough, obviously. When you combine that with playing relaxed and easy and executing the plan, I think that’s what you’re seeing,” head coach John Szefc said.
3. Maryland has been stellar on defense.
Through nine games, the Terps have committed just three errors, two of which were by pitchers (Bobby Ruse and Shawaryn).
Of those three, two were made on Saturday in the fourth inning, when Ruse botched a pickoff attempt. Later in the inning, Lowe made an error at second base.
Lowe has had the most chances of any position player, excluding catcher and first base. Martir, at catcher, leads the team with 58 chances, and Andrew Bechtold, the first baseman, is second with 53. Both Martir and Bechtold has perfect fielding records, as does the rest of the team.
As a team, the Terps have made the play on a defensive chance 99.1% of the time, five percentage points better than their opponents, who field at a 94.2% rate.
4. Terps patience at the plate is being rewarded.
The Terps drew 16 walks this weekend. Of those walks, six turned into runs. On Sunday, Justin Morris, Kevin Smith and Brandon Lowe walked consecutively to load the bases for LaMonte Wade. After Wade’s two-RBI single, followed by Cieri’s, all three came around to score.
Lowe, the Terps leadoff hitter, leads the team in walks with 10. He’s also leads the team in HBP, with 6. Lowe has done a great job finding ways to get on base. Through nine games, Lowe is second on the team with an OBP of .533. Leading the team in OBP is Wade with .591. Collectively, the Terps hitters are reaching base 39.3% of the time.
Despite only drawing three walks this season, Martir’s OBP is above team average as well, at .424. After Sunday’s game, the catcher commented on his swing.
“I feel like it’s coming along great,” Martir said. “I feel comfortable at the plate now. Being selective at the plate is one of my main focuses so I think it’s coming along.”
5. Opposing teams shouldn’t expect to put up runs once coach John Szefc goes to the bullpen.
The Terps bullpen is deep. Over the course of the weekend, eight of the available relievers got a chance: Taylor Bloom, Jared Price, Rob Galligan, Bobby Ruse, Ryan Selmer, Willie Rios, Zach Morris and Alex Robinson. Closer Kevin Mooney was unavailable due to injury.
The eight of them combined for 10.2 IP. They gave up just 2 earned runs, good for an ERA of 1.69. Their K/BB ratio? 7:1.
Six relievers have yet to give up a run this season. Alex Robinson leads the relief core in strikeouts (7) and is tied with Bobby Ruse for the team lead in appearances (4).