Series Preview: UNC Wilmington (7-3)

The Terps (7-2) have headed south for the fourth straight weekend and will play their first true road series of the season.

They’ll take on the UNC Wilmington Seahawks (7-3), who have been the class of the Colonial Athletic Conference since its inception 30 years ago. The Seahawks are looking for their 17th consecutive winning season and third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years.

UNC W beat NC Central 9-3 on Wednesday after getting swept by Florida State last weekend. However, the Seahawks hung with the Seminoles, losing the three games by a total of four runs.

UNC Wilmington field

Strengths

1. Experience – Wilmington is led by seniors Corey Dick and Luke Dunlap, both of whom have racked up several All-Conference and Freshman All American accolades. Four other starters are entering their third year of college baseball, two of which started last year. All in all, four of this year’s Seahawks starters were in the lineup during their NCAA Regional run in 2013.

2. The Bullpen – Austin Magestro, William Shepley and Jordan Ramsey have been lights out through the first 10 games, allowing only 3 ER over 25.2 IP (1.05 ERA). Considering that none of their weekend starters pitched past the fifth inning last weekend, we could see a lot of Magestro, Shepley and Ramsey this weekend.

3. Coaching – Mark Scalf has built a dynasty on the North Carolina coast. He’s won 11 CAA titles (8 regular season, 3 tournaments), 758 games and produced 58 pro players. He’s looking for his seventh NCAA Tournament berth in 24 seasons at the helm in Wilmington.

Weaknesses

1. Throwing Strikes – The Seahawks’ pitching staff walked 27 batters in 24 innings against Florida State last weekend and is averaging 7.8 BB/9 on the year. This plays right into Maryland’s hands, as their patient approach should serve them well this weekend. Brandon Lowe and LaMonte Wade will likely be on base a ton, and it’ll be up to the middle of the order to come up with timely hits.

2. Reliable Starting Pitching – Nick Monroe leads Wilmington with 14 innings pitched over three starts, meaning all of their starting pitchers are averaging less than 5 IP per start. If the Terps can prolong that trend, they should be able to get deep into the UNCW bullpen.

SATURDAY AT NOON

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (3-0, 1.80) vs. Jr. RHP Nick Monroe (1-0, 3.86) 

702981 Shawaryn HS vs. Monroe UNCW UNC W

Shawaryn has been downright dominant over his last two starts. The line: 14 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 18 K. The Seahawks’ lineup should provide a much-needed challenge for the sophomore hurler. Shawaryn has already amassed 14 wins in his Terrapins career, and seems to thrive early in the season.

Monroe was a two-way player last year, but has settled in to the Saturday starter role in 2015. His overall numbers are respectable, but walks are an issue for him, having walked 13 hitters in 14 innings.

SATURDAY AT 4 PM

Fr. LHP Willie Rios (2 IP, 0.00) vs. Jr. RHP Ryan Foster (1-0, 3.75)

702981 Rios vs.  Foster UNC W UNC W

Rios will make his first collegiate start after being used sparingly out of the bullpen. He answered the call in each of his first two outings, tossing a scoreless inning in each. Rios hit 94 mph on the gun against Appalachian State last Saturday and is one of the more highly rated recruits to ever attend Maryland. It will be interesting to see how deep he’s allowed to go on Saturday and whether his velocity holds over several innings.

Foster finished top 10 in the conference in ERA last year (3.47), providing support behind ace Mat Batts. He’s kept his opponents in check again in 2015, but is allowing them to hit at a .302 clip against him.

SUNDAY AT 1 PM

Fr. RHP Brian Shaffer (1-0, 6.00) vs. Jr. RHP Evan Phillips (1-0, 7.88)

702981 Shaffer vs. Phillips UNCW UNC W

Shaffer had a nice bounceback outing last weekend against Appalchian State, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings of work. He picked up the win and has only walked one batter over his first 12 innings of work.

On the other hand, Evan Phillips has issued nine free passes in eight innings through his first three starts. He’s been hittable too, and is looking to get his college career on track after being drafted by the Royals out of high school.

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