Maryland travels down to East Coast to Conway, South Carolina, to take on Coastal Carolina in their the Terps’ first true road series this weekend, after picking up a 13-3 midweek victory over George Mason on Tuesday. Though Maryland has played on the road this season, this will be the first time it plays one team in a three-game set.
For Coastal Carolina, they own a 4-3 record and they’ve played all seven of its games on its home field; last season the Chanticleers were dominant at home with a 24-12 record.
After a pair of double headers last weekend, including a pair of double-digit offensive outpourings on Sunday (13-5 win over Kennesaw State and 14-2 win over West Virginia), Coastal Carolina had a bit of a break this week, as their midweek game against Charleston was cancelled due to inclement weather.
Last season, the Terps and Chanticleers met at the start of the year for the Brittain Resorts Invitational, hosted by Coastal Carolina, where the Chanticleers came out on top, 7-2.
While Maryland’s offense struggled against Coastal Carolina last season, this year the team has the most home runs in the Big Ten entering the third weekend of regular season play (7). Three of those long balls have come off of Maxwell Costes’ bat. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year leads the Terps with a .429 average and a .647 on-base percentage.
As a whole the Terps have succeeded in large due to their ability to draw walks; in their seven games thus far Maryland has walked 46 times to their opponents’ 27. (Coastal has drawn 28 walks to their opponents’ 17).
While, on the offensive side of the ball, Maryland has shown great discipline at the plate and the it has resulted in a lot of run scoring opportunities. But on the defensive side the Terps have worked on cleaning up their fielding, especially with regard to infield fly balls.
“We just have to come out of the gate and be clean on defense, that’s really one thing I want to see” Vaughn said. “And with really good starters, you get them in one or two spots. You get them in the first when they’re trying to settle in or you gotta grind them out and get them in the sixth or seventh when they get tired. So that’s going to be our biggest thing.”
Though Coastal Carolina’s pitching staff will be potent, Maryland’s barrage of arms is nothing to disregard.
The Terps’ pitching staff currently holds the second-lowest team ERA in the Big Ten (2.53), while starters Sean Fisher and Sean Burke have the fourth- and eighth-lowest ERAs in the Big Ten, respectively. Plus, Maryland’s freshman arms have recorded a combined 44 strikeouts, the most by a freshman pitching staff in the Big Ten.
“I think there’s some confidence with our guys,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “I think we have a little bit more depth on the mound than we’ve had to attack them with the last couple years.”
Despite playing a tougher opponent like Coastal Carolina, Vaughn told his team that there’s no need to try to play different, though they should expect fewer offensive chances against the Chanticleers’ talented pitching staff.
“It’s gonna take a full team effort.,” Vaughn said. “We know what they’re capable of and we’re just going to have to match energy and play clean baseball. We don’t have to do anything different, we just have to come out and take advantage of our opportunities and grind them out and create things.”
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (4-3, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Coastal Carolina finished the year with a 36-26-1 record and went 15-13 in conference play during the regular season. The Chanticleers got hot during the Sun Belt Tournament and took home the championship, but couldn’t make it out of their regional in the NCAA Tournament and was eliminated after a loss to Georgia Tech.
So far this season the Chanticleers have had a bit of a slow start as they sit at just 4-3. Coastal Carolina hasn’t suffered a blowout loss yet, as its few losses have all been single-digit run differences. But, when the Chanticleers win it is usually a result of an offensive explosion. Through just seven games, the Chanticleers are outscoring their opponents 48-26.
Hitters to Watch
Coastal Carolina lost a few of its best bats after last season, but not its hits leader from last season, Scott McKeon. This season McKeon has continued to be one of the Chanticleers’ best bats; the senior is the only player with double-digit hits so far, as he has gone 11-for-28, posting a .393 average.
Another offensive threat for Coastal Carolina this season has been sophomore catcher, B.T. Riopelle. The sophomore leads the team with seven RBI and has also recorded seven hits. Riopelle also leads the team in home runs with two.
Relievers to Watch
Sophomore Alaska Abney has had the most appearances out of the bullpen for Coastal Carolina and has proven dominant on the mound. The righty has appeared in four games and tossed 7 ⅔ innings, while allowing just one hit and picking up eight strikeouts.
Redshirt sophomore Shaddon Peavyhouse has been another reliever that has found success four the Chanticleers this season. The right-hander has thrown four innings and has not allowed an earned run, while striking out four batters.
Probable Starting Pitching Matchup
Friday, 4 p.m. ET
Jr. LHP Sean Fisher (2-0, 0.77 ERA) v. Jr. RHP Zach McCambley (1-1, 2.08 ERA)
After moving from the bullpen in 2019 to a starters’ spot in 2020, Fisher has been solid as Maryland’s Friday starter. Through his first two starts the southpaw has tossed 11 ⅔ innings and allowed just one earned run, plus nine strikeouts. In both of his starts the Terps’ offense provided a plenty of run support, so it will be interesting to see how Fisher fares when he may not have the same backing.
“Ending guys’ at-bats quicker is the biggest thing,” Fisher said of what he’s been working on heading into the weekend. “Not getting in deep counts and not walking guys.”
Last season, McCambley started 11 games on the mound, posting a 6-3 record with a 5.21 ERA. The righty showed he had strikeout stuff as he tallied 76 strikeouts in just 67 ⅓ innings pitched for the Chanticleers. This season, McCambley has allowed three runs in 13 innings, while racking up 18 strikeouts.
“When you’re facing McCambley on Friday night from Coastal, you might not get seven innings of opportunity like we got [against George Mason],” Vaughn said. “That game could be won or lost in the first or second inning on offense or defense, just because he’s that kind of arm.”
Probable Starting Pitching Matchup
Saturday, 2 p.m. ET
Fr. RHP Nick Dean (0-0, 6.75 ERA) v. R-Sr. LHP Scott Kobos (0-2, 2.45 ERA)
After a stellar collegiate debut against Iona, Dean ran into some trouble against Rhode Island, allowing five runs through 4 ⅔ innings. Dean has thrown 9 ⅓ innings so far this season, and has allowed seven runs and picked up 11 strikeouts. The freshman will have an opportunity to bounce back this weekend against the Chanticleers.
In the 2019 season, Kobos only started five games for Coastal Carolina and recorded a 2-2 record with a 6.04 ERA. This season, the southpaw has put together some solid starts, but his offense hasn’t been able to provide run support. Through two games, Kobos has pitched 11 innings and allowed just three runs, while totaling nine strikeouts.
Probable Starting Pitching Matchup
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
R-Fr. RHP Sean Burke (1-0, 0.84 ERA) v. So. RHP Nick Parker (1-0, 2.70 ERA)
Though he missed last season due to injury, Burke has been dominant in his first collegiate season on the mound. The righty has picked up eight strikeouts in each of his two starts and has only allowed one run through 10 ⅔ innings. Maryland has come out on top in both of his starts, beating Charleston 4-2 and Rhode Island 3-0.
Parker had 16 appearances in the 2019 season and pitched in 46 innings, while he posted a 6.07 ERA. This season, the sophomore has made two starts and has thrown 10 innings. Through his two starts, he has allowed 10 hits and three earned runs, while tallying six strikeouts.