Cool and collected, Burke proves perfect Sunday starter for Terps

Whenever redshirt-freshman Sean Burke takes the mound, Maryland first baseman Maxwell Costes knows the Terps are going to win. And, in fact, Maryland has won all but one of Burke’s four starts so far this season.

“Burke is a baller,” Costes said after the Terps’ 13-3 sweep-clinching win over Bryant Sunday. “Even last week against Coastal Carolina, even though we lost on Sunday, I was like, ‘We about to get us one today.’ Like, whenever he steps on the mound…the whole vibe of the team feels different.”

Burke_RI_front_SUNAfter missing last season while recovering from injury, Burke has proven to be the most dominant arm of Maryland’s pitching staff. With a team-best 1.99 ERA and 35 strikeouts–the most strikeouts by a freshman pitcher in Division I baseball, and the fourth-most strikeouts overall in the Big Ten–Burke’s composure on the mound has shone through even when Maryland’s offense is struggling. 

Against Coastal Carolina, Burke tossed six innings and set Maryland up for a potential comeback, allowing only two runs on three hits and three walks. Behind Burke, the Terps had a chance to prevent a sweep, after the Chanticleers defeated Maryland 16-0 and 10-3 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. 

Though Coastal Carolina ultimately defeated Maryland 3-2, Burke’s performance has time and again proven that he has what it takes to dominate Division I hitters. 

In his four starts Burke has lasted a minimum of five innings per start and struck out a minimum of eight batters. Against Bryant on Sunday, Burke matched his longest start of the season–his six innings against Coastal Carolina–while striking out a season-high 11 batters and allowing a season-low two walks. 

“His composure throughout the game was incredibly impressive,” head coach Rob Vaughn said of Burke’s start on Sunday. “We were dropping fly balls behind him, causing him to throw extra pitches, and they were taking some decent swings, and he didn’t flinch.”

A perfect example of Burke’s composure is his first inning against Bryant. The Bulldogs put their first three batters on base, after a missed fly ball that was later ruled an error, a single, and a double that scored Bryant’s first run of the game. With that, Burke and the Terps were behind 1-0 with no outs and runners on the corners.

But after a quick mound visit from pitching coach Corey Muscara, Burke struck out three consecutive batters to strand those two baserunners, including a three-pitch strikeout to end the half. 

“[Muscara] said that if I could just limit [Bryant] to one more run and get us out [and into the dugout, it’s like 2-0, then out lineup’s going to hit,” Burke said regarding Muscara’s mound visit. “Fortunately I was able to strike out the side there, and then our team’s bats just took care of the rest.”

Coincidentally, it was a start against Bryant two years ago that turned around former Maryland pitcher Hunter Parsons’ junior season and in part resulted in his development into the Terps’ ace. 

While Parsons and Burke are different when it comes to the pitches they toss–Parsons tossed a two-seam cutter more and Burke throws a four-seam curveball–their mindset on the mound is similar, according to catcher Justin Vought. Burke_RI_SUN

“[Burke has] arguably the best stuff on the team,” Vought said. “To have him on Sunday’s, or out there against anybody that we play, we’re extremely confident going out there on Sunday’s with him on the mound. I think you’re going to put him with any Sunday starter in the country and you’re going to give yourself a chance to win, so that’s huge for us.”

A big part of Burke’s success, aside from his obvious pitching ability, is that mentality on the mound. It seems that Burke subscribes to Vaughn’s motto that “everything matters, nothing is special,” meaning that players shouldn’t put their play in-game on a pedestal, because it’s just as important as practice. 

“In the past, and kind of in this preseason, when I struggled a little bit I was trying to do too much and trying to make things way bigger than they were,” Burke said. “Now just having a real simple pinch plan and making adjustments along the way…just overall being real simple and keeping everything to one pitch.” 

Heading into the remainder of the season, Burke’s Sunday starts could play a major role in deciding whether or not the Terps make the Big Ten Tournament for the second year in a row. But at his current pace, Burke’s performance should be the last thing Maryland worries about. 

“When you’ve got a guy like him who, he’s going to hopefully give up [fewer] than three, four runs, give your offense a chance to come through late in the game…that’s huge,” said Vought. “That’s all you want.”

Preseason Countdown No. 6: Bullpen Preview

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With less than a week until Maryland’s first game of the 2020 season, players’ roles for the season are starting to materialize and head coach Rob Vaughn finalizes his roster and takes inventory of the Terps’ squad.

We’ve already given you the starting pitchers preview; now, we head out to the bullpen with an overview of Maryland’s relievers.


Senior RHP Elliot Zoellner Zoellner090518_01

Consistently one of the Terps’ stronger relievers, this season is about determining where Zoellner best fits out of the bullpen. Last season the right-hander often made late-inning appearances ahead of then-closer John Murphy. With Murphy gone this season, Zoellner has a chance to step into that closer position.

Zoellner made 18 appearances out of the bullpen in 2019 for a 7.40 ERA over 20 2/3 innings, plus 31 strikeouts. The right-hander also held opponents to a .156 batting average when he took the mound. For Zoellner to succeed this season he must stay healthy; a bought with pneumonia and a hurt thumb sidelined the righty for part of last season.


Junior RHP Mark DiLuia mark diluia

As a freshman it seemed DiLuia had a shot at being a starter, but in 2019 he became one of the Terps’ most-consistent bullpen arms. DiLuia made 24 relief appearances and one start last season, tossing a 5.45 ERA in 38 innings with 38 strikeouts. This came

After getting surgery this fall to remove some bone spurs in his elbow, DiLuia is one of the relievers Vaughn has been most excited to see throwing heading into the regular season. According to Vaughn, when the game matters DiLuia is someone whose hands Vaughn wants the ball in.


Junior LHP Sean FisherFisher090518_06

While Vaughn is eyeing Fisher for a starting role this season, Fisher’s experience out of the bullpen could prove vital as the season progresses and pitchers’ roles become cemented. Last season Fisher tossed a 6.90 ERA in 25 relief appearances, including 20 strikeouts over 30 innings.

Fisher enters the 2020 season coming off a hot summer in Cape Cod, where he tossed a 2.84 ERA over 25 1/3 innings for the Brewster Whitecaps.


Redshirt-Junior RHP Mike Vasturia Vasturia090518_01

Heading into his third season on the mound for the Terps, Vaughn is likely to deploy Vasturia in a middle-inning relief situation, though anything is possible.

Last season Vasturia made eight relief appearances for Maryland, compiling six strikeouts in six innings pitched.


Redshirt-Junior LHP Billy Phillips Phillips090518_05

This year, in his third season on the mound for the Terps since beating leukemia, Phillips will likely have a role similar to that of Vasturia.

In eight relief appearances over eight innings last season, Phillips recorded 10 strikeouts and walked only four batters.


Sophomore RHP Sean Heine Heine082818_01

Heine impressed Vaughn during fall ball, and is likely to have a consistent role out of the bullpen during his second season with Maryland.

In his first season with the Terps, Heine tossed 17 1/3 innings for a 10.38 ERA. While that number isn’t spectacular, Heine has shown some improvement on the mound and has the potential to become a middle-innings reliever for the Terps heading into 2020.


Sophomore RHP Daniel O’Connor OConnor090518_04

This season, it’s likely that O’Connor returns to his role as a middle-inning reliever, helping to provide some needed depth to the Terps’ bullpen.

As a freshman last season, O’Connor made 12 relief appearances for an 8.79 ERA in 14 1/3 innings, including 10 strikeouts.


Sophomore RHP Ryan Buck Buck_2020

Maryland fans may remember Buck from the Terps’ fall ball roster in 2018, when the then-freshman was listed as an outfielder. Buck is back again this season, but at his natural position on the mound instead.

Buck recording a 14-9 record in his senior season at Conestoga High School in Pennsylvania, and was named first team All-Central Athletic Conference in his final two years at Conestoga.


“The Freshmen”

Falco_2020Likely to be one of Vaughn’s go-to’s out of the bullpen, 6’4″ New York native Dave Falco comes with a powerful arm. A right-hander, Falco hit 95 and 98 mph during the fall and has potential to become an extended-inning closer, according to Vaughn.Chaney_2020

West Virginia native Chris Chaney is also likely to make some bullpen appearances for Vaughn; in high school the right-hander tossed a 6-2 record in his senior campaign, including 48 strikeouts.Staine_2020

The third freshman to wrap up the possible bullpen arms this season is righty Connor Staine, a New Jersey native. Staine was named First Team All-NJACC and 2018-29 MVP as a senior, after he finished his high school career with a compiled 19-6 record and 1.70 ERA.

Preseason Countdown No. 8: Maxwell Costes named Preseason All-American

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After a breakout freshman campaign, Maryland power-hitter Maxwell Costes was named one of Collegiate Baseball’s Preseason third team Diamond Sports All-Americans.

In 2019 Costes put up impressive numbers, batting .266 including a team-high 15 home runs and .547 slugging percentage. He also tallied up 19 hit-by-pitches, the most in the Big Ten last season.

Of his freshman cohort, Costes led the Big Ten freshmen in home runs (15, 11 in Big Ten play), doubles (15), slugging, RBI (49) and total bases (117).

At the end of last season, Costes was awarded the title of Big Ten Freshman of the Year. He also received three Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors over the course of 2019.

Costes became the first freshman in Maryland history to be awarded first-team All-Big Ten honors. He followed that with a dominant summer in  the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, where he led the Amsterdam Mohawks to the league championship and was awarded 2019 PGCBL Player of the Year honors and a spot on the Mohawks’ All-Decade Team.

Preseason Countdown No. 11: Meet the newcomers — Freshmen

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As a whole, Maryland’s class of recruits this year ranked the highest in team history in December, when D1Baseball.com ranked the Terps No. 7.

While Maryland may only welcome two new transfers to its squad in 2020, there are a whopping 13 freshmen joining the team.

Here’s a breakdown of the first years:


RHP Sam Bello — West Nyack, NY (Iona Prep High School)

Bello is one of six new arms joining the Terps’ squad this season. Out of high school Bello was the fourth-ranked right-handed pitcher in New York and was named CHSAA Player of the Year. Bello posted a 0.82 ERA over his junior and senior seasons, with a combined 106 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings.

Bello tossed three innings during the Fall World Series with three strikeouts, allowing only one hit and two walks. Against Army, Bello went two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.

RHP Chris Chaney — Falling Waters, WV (Saint James School)

Chaney was the No. 1 ranked right-hander out of West Virginia. As a senior at the Saint James School he recorded a 6-2 record with 48 strikeouts and helped lead the Saints to their first Mid-Atlantic Conference title in school history.

Chaney went one inning during the Fall World Series with one strikeout, while allowing seven walks and four runs.

RHP Connor Staine — Clinton, NJ (West Morris Central High School)

Staine finished high school with a combined 19-6 record and 1.70 ERA. He was named First Team All-NJACC, All-State, and was the 2018-19 MVP. As a senior, Staine recorded 72 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched.

RHP David Falco — Center Moriches, NY (Center Moriches High School)

As the No. 3 ranked right-hander in New York, Falco helped lead Center Moriches to back-to-back state championships and an undefeated 26-0 season in 2019.

During the Fall World Series Falco tossed one scoreless inning, before throwing 1 2/3 innings against Army, where he struck out one batter and allowed three hits and three runs.

LHP Ryan Ramsey — Montvale, NJ (Pascack Hills High School)

Ramsey was the 2019 New Jersey pitcher of the year, after he led Pascack Hills with a combined 19-2 record in 142 innings pitched with 255 strikeouts. He was named All-State in both his junior and senior years, when he led the school to back-to-back state championships. He also tallied 107 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings pitched as a senior, allowing only six earned runs. Ramsey was drafted in the 36th round by the Cleveland Indians in the 2019 MLB Draft, but elected to continue his education and to further develop at Maryland.

Ramsey tossed two innings during the Fall World Series, striking out one and allowing five runs on three hits and two walks. Against Army Ramsey went 1 1/3 innings and allowed six runs on four hits and one walk.

RHP Nick Dean — Bensalem, Penn. (Bensalem High School)

As the third-ranked right-hander out of Pennsylvania, Dean helped Bensalem to a 23-4 finish and a district championship victory his junior year, when he tossed a 1.16 ERA in 48 1/3 innings pitched. He was also named First Team A–Suburban. While he missed his senior season due to injury, he has showed potential so far.

Dean went three innings during the Fall World Series, tallying three strikeouts with one walk and one hit-by-pitch. Against Army, Dean tossed two innings, striking out one while allowing two runs on one hit and two walks.

OF Troy Schreffler Jr. — Harrisburg, Penn. (Central Dauphin High School)

Schreffler Jr. was a two-time All-PIAA Conference honoree with Central Dauphin and an eight-time First Team All-Tournament honoree in club baseball. Primarily an outfielder, Schreffler also has experience as a pitcher.

Out of high school Schreffler was the fourth-ranked outfielder in Pennsylvania and the 11th-ranked player overall in the state. He tallied two singles during the Fall World Series with three more singles and an RBI against Army.

OF Tucker Flint — East Greenwich, RI (Bishop Hendricken High School)

The 2019 Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year, Flint was the No. 1 overall player in the state of Rhode Island out of high school and was named the Providence Journal Rhode Island Baseball Athlete of the Year 2019.

Flint batted .545 his senior season with a .677 on-base percentage and 1.045 slugging (including seven triples), helping Bishop Hendricken to two state championships, including a 23-0 record in 2019, before he was drafted by the New York Mets in the 36th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Flint opted to continue his education at Maryland instead.

During the Fall World Series, Flint went 1-for-4 with a single, three walks and one hit-by-pitch. He also DH-ed against Army and went 2-for-5 with a single, a double and one RBI.

OF Bobby Zmarzlak — Stamford, Conn. (Westhill High School)

Out of high school, Zmarzlak was the No. 1 overall ranked player in Connecticut and the 17th-ranked outfielder nationally. Zmarzlak was named First Team All-FCIAC three times, with a .490 average and three homers as a senior, a .380 average and four homers as a junior, and a .430 average and nine homer runs as a sophomore. After his high school career, Zmarzlak was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 40th round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

During the Fall World Series, Zmarzlak went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk while designated hitting. He is the No. 1 prospect in the Big Ten according to Perfect Game.

INF Matt Orlando — Marlton, NJ (Bishop Eustace Prep High School)

Orlando was the fifth-ranked shortstop in New Jersey out of high school and has some experience on the mound.

In his high school career Orlando tallied 12 home runs and was a three-time All-South Jersey honoree. During the Fall World Series, Orlando showed off his strength at the plate with a three-RBI double.

INF Aaron Perez — Bronx, NY (All Hallows High School)

The No. 3 ranked shortstop in New York, Perez was named Perfect Game All-Tournament Team three times. As a senior at All Hallows, Perez slashed .280/.514/.560 in 12 games with seven stolen bases, a pair of triples, a double and one home run.

Perez had one plate appearance during the Fall World Series, when he walked on five pitches.

INF Michael Bouma — Brookeville, MD (Sherwood High School)

The No. 1 first baseman in Maryland, Bouma finished his career at Sherwood with a .433 average and 93 hits, including 11 home runs and 96 RBI. Bouma helped the Warriors to a State Championship runner-up finish in 2019 and was named All-Met/All-State both his junior and senior seasons. In all our years at Sherwood, Bouma’s lowest batting average was .339 his sophomore year.

Bouma went 1-for-5 during the Fall World Series with one walk and a single. He played first base and then spent some time at third against Army.

C James Heffley — Kensington, MD (Albert Einstein High School)

As a senior at Einstein, Heffley batted .510 as a senior and was named First Team All-Division from 2017-2019. He was also named Third Team All-State in 2018.

Heffley went 0-for-1 with an RBI on a sacrifice squeeze bunt during the Fall World Series, which he entered after junior catcher Justin Vought was hit in the wrist.

Preseason Countdown No. 12: Meet the newcomers — Transfers

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As we inch closer to the start of Maryland’s 2020 campaign, it’s time to get to know the new faces on the Terps’ squad; this season the team only picked up two transfers.

Here’s a breakdown of Maryland’s two new transfers.

JR INF/C Brenton Davis — Southeast Community College (JuCo in NE)

Davis comes to Maryland after two years at Southeast CC in Beatrice, Nebraska. The Nebraska native slashed .353/.479/.555 in his first season with the Storm in 2018, finishing with 10 doubles and 17 stolen bases.

Last season Davis split his time between second and third base, with some appearances at shortstop, while batting .299 while leading the team with 43 hits, 32 runs and 28 walks.  During the fall, Davis made the lineup as designated hitter, but with his experience all over the infield the junior could be a solid choice for the Terps to fill in the gaps left after last season.

JR INF Austin Chavis — Potomac State College of WVU (JuCo in WV)

A Bel Air, Maryland, native, Chavis spent two years at Potomac State before transferring to Maryland for this season. Chavis helped lead the Catamounts to a 35-11 record in 2018 and a 32-13 record in 2019.

His sophomore year at Potomac State, Chavis batted .331 in 45 games with 18 doubles, 51 RBI and a team-high seven home runs. He mainly played shortstop, turning 12 double plays last season. Though Chavis played second base during fall ball, the infielder, his experience on the left side of the infield could prove vital for the Terps this season.