By Ben Harris
Mike Shawaryn brought his swing-and-miss stuff to Omaha, Nebraska, sitting down 16 Hoosiers (13 swinging) in the Terps’ 5-3 tournament-opening win.
The bespectacled veteran’s 16 strikeouts topped his previous career-high of 13 set last April against Cal State Fullerton, and are the most in the six-year, 247-game history of TD Ameritrade Park.
Here’s Shawaryn’s 13th K, breaking a TD Ameritrade Park record: pic.twitter.com/KSlJJmgbZD
— Ben Harris (@Ben27Harris) May 25, 2016
He fell one shy of tying a Big Ten Tournament record of 17 set by Bill Cunningham of Ohio State in 1985, and tied by Greg Everson in 1987.
Not even a 9:00 a.m. start could cool off Shawaryn. The junior right-hander opened the game with six straight strikeouts and, despite allowing an unearned run in the first, rung up eight of the first eleven Indiana hitters. Bearing down from the first at-bat of the game, the Unicorn’s third complete game on the season came on 125 pitches (91 strikes).
Not an inning went by that Shawaryn didn’t sit down a Hoosier on strikes. On the year, 67 of his 97 strikeouts have missed opponents’ bats, including his 300th career punch-out in the fourth inning.
Shawaryn allowed just four hits on the day, filling the zone with a devastating mix of fastballs low and away, sharp sliders on the same corner and down in the dirt. Eight batters were rung up on fastballs, seven on sliders and one on a changeup. Tracking each putaway pitch tells a similar story: Shawaryn’s fastball command down and away allowed him to exploit the corner with sliders and expand the zone. Furthermore, Shawaryn wasted no time, attacking hitters who fell behind early. Seven of his 16 strikeouts came on three pitches, six came on 1-2 counts and just three on 2-2 counts. His only three-ball counts on the day came on his three walks.
With their eldest starting pitcher
shoving, the youth movement of freshman Nick Dunn and Marty Costes stepped up in a big way. The pair combined to go 6-9 with three runs (all Costes), four RBI (three from Dunn) and four extra base hits, and found themselves in the middle of each of the Terps’ three run-scoring rallies. Three of those extra base hits came from Costes in the two-hole.
The hot bat of Costes was a welcome site for the Terps, as the freshman left fielder struggled against Michigan State last weekend. Starting the series 0-13, Costes notched a hit in the Sunday rubber match, but ended the series 1-18.
Unable to string together hits for the majority of the season, Maryland did just that in the tournament opener. In the first, the Terps rattled off three-straight base knocks—capped by a Costes triple and Dunn RBI single—to take an early 1-0 lead on Indiana’s Kyle Hart.
Tied 1-1 in the fifth, Zach Jancarski and Anthony Papio hit back-to-back singles, and Costes came through again, ripping an RBI ground-rule double over the fence in deep left center to plate Jancarski, and put Maryland ahead 2-1. Two pitches later, Dunn laced an RBI single to right field, but hit it too hard to score both runners, scoring just Papio. With the Indiana infield playing back, Kevin Smith grounded out to shortstop to score Costes and give Maryland a three-run lead.
Shining on both sides of the ball, Costes backed up Shawaryn with a spectacular leaping catch to end the fifth.
Have a day Marty Costes. Double, triple, RBI and two runs at the plate, and flashes the leather in left pic.twitter.com/KM8sd6hbPF
— Ben Harris (@Ben27Harris) May 25, 2016
After a tough series defensively against Michigan State last weekend, Andrew Bechtold watched a ball go through his wickets in the third, leading to an unearned run that tied the game 1-1.
The only other inning of trouble for Maryland came in the fifth when a Colby Stratten RBI double scored Brian Wilhite and a Logan Sowers sac fly brought the game to within one. But that was as close as the Hoosiers would get. Both of Indiana’s first two runs originally reached base on leadoff walks surrendered by Shawaryn.
Again in the bottom of the seventh, Costes doubled to left and scored one batter later on another Dunn RBI, this time a double down the right field line to give their starter a two-run cushion.
While his shutdown stuff has persisted throughout the season, Shawaryn has struggled to stay locked into the strike zone. When he found himself amid a brief detour from the zone today, he quickly regained his poise and control of the plate.
Maryland will face the winner of No. 2 Nebraska and No. 7 Michigan State tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. ET, with Jake Eisenberg and Matt Present live on the call in Omaha.
Notes: Shawaryn won his 30th career game Wednesday, and became Maryland’s all-time leader in innings pitched. His impressive career postseason record (ACC/Big Ten Tournaments, NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals) of 5-2 is only surpassed by his 2.83 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched. Over thirty-two percent of those strikeouts came this morning.