Preseason Countdown #1: Brittain Resorts Invitational Preview

The wait for Maryland baseball is nearing an end, but there are still many questions without answers.

While head coach Rob Vaughn said he and the coaching staff have a good idea of their primary starters, the batting order and certain position battles won’t be officially decided until the team’s bus ride on Thursday to the Brittain Resorts Invitational in Conway, South Carolina.

Offseason turnover leaves many aspects of the Terps a mystery heading into the season-opener Friday morning against Campbell. Among Maryland’s 35-player roster is 17 first-year Terps, a DIII transfer that had to sit out last year, a redshirt who never touched the field last year and a pitcher coming off Tommy John Surgery.

That’s 57 percent of the team that hasn’t played a single pitch in the Maryland baseball uniform. That stat will decline shortly into the 2019 campaign, with four positions still up for grabs and the bullpen filled with young and eager arms.

As of Wednesday’s media availability with Vaughn, only half of the positions had a locked starter — sophomore Justin Vought at catcher, senior Taylor Wright at third, senior AJ Lee at short, sophomore Randy Bednar at one of the three outfield spots and senior right-hander Hunter Parsons on the mound.

The starting rotation behind Parsons was finally revealed for the first three games. Per Vaughn, right-hander Zach Thompson will start Saturday against Coastal Carolina and southpaw Tyler Blohm will start on Sunday against VCU. Initially, it seemed Blohm might not be ready for opening weekend due to an undisclosed injury sustained late last season.

The only other sure thing is that senior right-hander John Murphy is the team’s closer. But he’ll watch the first two games this weekend from the hotel, serving the remainder of a three-game suspension required from an ejection in the final weekend of last season.

Last year, a transitioned pitcher in then-senior Kevin Biondic was the first arm out of the bullpen. So anything can happen when Maryland baseball finally kicks off the 2019 campaign.

Friday — Campbell Fighting Camels 

Last season

Campbell went 35-26 last season, winning the Big South regular season and tournament titles for the first time in program history. The Camels thus earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 but were eliminated swiftly with losses to regional host Georgia, and Duke.

This season

The Camels were chosen by the conference to repeat as Big South champions, as they return five starters and 11 pitchers from last year’s successful team. Redshirt junior outfielder Matthew Barefoot was named the conference’s preseason player of the year, becoming the second player in program history to earn the honor.

Hitters to watch

Barefoot is a standout star getting national attention. He hit a conference-high .364 last season, smashing eight homers while swiping 33 bases. The outfielder was also named the Cape Cod Baseball League MVP this summer after hitting .379 during the regular season.

Barefoot was the only Camel to hit above .300, and the next two highest batting averages are now graduated. So sophomore catcher Ty Babin is the next-highest returning average at only .255. He started in 36 games and led the team with three triples.

Relievers to watch

Senior right-hander Tyson Messer came out of the bullpen 27 times last season for the Camels. While he had a lofty 4.72 ERA, he held hitters to a .191 average. He did struggle with command. His 28 walks were as many as his strikeout total in only 26.2 innings of work.

With the Camels’ top two relievers gone from last year, senior lefty Phil Simpson might more responsibility in filling that workload. He threw 32.2 innings last season, the most of any returning bullpen arm.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 11 a.m. ET

Sr. RHP Michael Horrell vs. Sr. RHP Hunter Parsons

horrell_michael_sp094_c.jpg  1200px-Campbell_Fighting_Camels_logo.svg.pngvs.  1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo RMZBYNJDDYBZPMM.20150924191225

Horrell started in all 14 games he appeared in as a sophomore. He went 6-4 with a 3.75 ERA, but did not pitch in the NCAA tournament. He conceded five earned runs in less than four innings in his last outing of the season in the Big South tournament.

Parsons went 5-2 with a 3.44 ERA last season, beginning the season on Sunday’s and eventually working his way into the Friday role. He’s coming off a standout season that included two complete games. After surpassing all expectations last year, he’s now the leader of Maryland’s rotation.

Saturday — No. 21 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 

Last season

Invitational host Coastal Carolina went 43-19 en route to a Sun Belt tournament title last season. The Chanticleers hosted an NCAA Regional, but after winning their first game, were bounced by Washington and UConn. Coastal lost to Maryland, 7-6, last year on the same day of a similar weekend it hosted.

This season

In no surprise, Coastal received the most first-place votes to take home another Sun Belt crown this year. The Chanticleers return three of their top five hitters, two of which hit above .300. Coastal also returns the lowest four ERAs on its team from 2018, and sits just outside the top 20 in the national polls.

Hitters to watch

Sophomore outfielder Parker Chavers had an unbelievable rookie campaign, hitting .323 with seven homers and 42 RBIs. He started in 60 games as a freshman, and was named an All-American by multiple national media outlets. He enters 2019 as on the Sun Belt’s preseason All-conference team.

Senior Zach Biermann brings more than just veteran leadership. He hit for average and power last season, hitting .302 with 13 home runs that somehow ranked third on his own team. He was named last season’s Sun Belt tournament most outstanding player.

Relievers to watch

Senior right-hander Matt Eardensohn was one of the three Chanticleers on the Sun Belt preseason team and the only reliever on the entire list. He sported a 2.18 ERA in 57.2 innings pitcher. He went 7-0 in 20 appearances, holding hitters to a .188 batting average.

Redshirt junior southpaw Jay Causey is another top returning relievers after pitching 43.1 innings a season ago. His five saves only trailed Eardensohn’s six, making the duo stiff task to handle if trailing at the end of games. He had a 2.28 ERA in 24 outings in 2018.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 3 p.m. ET

Jr. LHP Anthony Veneziano vs. Jr. RHP Zach Thompson

Anthony_Veneziano.jpgCoastal_Carolina_Chanticleers_logo.svg.png vs.  1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo Thompson082818_02

Veneziano will have the clear experience advantage in this matchup, a starter for two seasons already at Coastal. He went 7-1 with a 3.81 ERA last year. In the NCAA tournament, he pitched seven scoreless frames with only allowing three hits in Coastal’s lone win of the Regional.

Zach Thompson won’t wait long to make his Maryland debut. After having to sit out last season after transferring from a DIII program, the right-hander instantly finds himself in a huge weekend role. Head coach Rob Vaughn has continuously raved about Thompson since he stepped on campus before last season.

Sunday — VCU Rams 

Last season

VCU went 34-23 in 2018, but its offense didn’t show up when it mattered most in the Atlantic 10 tournament. The Rams scored three runs in their postseason losses and missed out on the NCAA tournament. VCU and Maryland split a home-and-home series last year, with the road team winning both games.

This season

The Rams were picked second in the A10 preseason poll, receiving two first-place votes. VCU will return an All-Conference outfielder and a preseason All-American closer. The Rams and Terps will face off twice more after this weekend, scheduled to complete a home-and-home for the second straight year.

Hitters to watch

Sophomore Hogan Brown had an unbelievable freshman campaign with the Rams, hitting .344 with a .436 on-base percentage. He ranked second on the team in both runs (34) and doubles (11). He played against Maryland once last season and went 3-for-5 with two runs, three RBIs and a walk.

Junior Paul Witt started in all 57 games for the Rams a season ago. He led VCU with 61 hits and 43 RBIs, while making pitchers struggle to strike him out. He only went down on strikes 20 times, and he walked 16 times.

Relievers to watch

VCU played in a lot of close games last season, helping senior righty Mac McCarty compile the third most saves in the country with 16. He went 1-1 with a 3.26 ERA in over 38 innings. McCarty did not pitch against Maryland in either of the two meetings last season.

Senior right-hander Benjamin Dum was the most dominant arm out of the Rams bullpen in 2018. In 17 appearances, Dum boasted a 1.64 ERA and held hitters to an abysmal .195 average. He was the most featured relievers for VCU a season ago, but he also got one start — a one-inning spot start against Maryland.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 11 a.m. ET

RSo. RHP Justin Sorokowski vs. Jr. LHP Tyler Blohm

Screen Shot 2019-02-14 at 11.39.20 AM.pngNew_VCU_Wordmark_Logo.png vs.  1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo YFZMWOKWXYQKPRI.20160916193835

Sorokowski is set to make his first-career start for VCU after transferring from Tallahassee Community College, where he put up a 2.35 ERA for the Eagles in 2018. He started 13 games and had 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

Two weeks ago, it didn’t appear Blohm would be ready in time for the 2019 season. He’s back, though, and instead of assuming last year’s Saturday role, he’ll begin the year back in the Sunday role he held as a freshman. The southpaw went 5-2 with a 4.10 ERA in 2018.

Preseason Countdown #3: Top 5 series of 2019


It’s officially game week. Maryland baseball will take on Campbell on Friday to kick off the 2019 season — the second year under head coach Rob Vaughn.

Our countdown has now taken us through all four positional previews: the starting pitchers, the bullpen and the infield and the outfield. Now, let’s preview our top five series of the upcoming season.

5. Creighton University (March 22-24)logo_-creighton-university-bulejays-blue-jay-head-c

Location: Omaha, Neb. 

Maryland travels to the site of the College World Series when they battle Creighton in Omaha. The Bluejays, out of the Big East, have played in the state-of-the-art facility that is TD Ameritrade Park since 2011. A dream for any collegiate ball player is to play at this field, and the Terps get this opportunity in late March.

This is an irregular matchup on Maryland’s schedule, having not faced off against the Bluejays in over 20 years. This will be yet another test for the Terps against a team that had a 34-16 record but did not qualify for any postseason play. 

4. Stetson University (March 8-10) Stetson_Hatters_logo_(2018)

Location: DeLand, Fla. 

The Terps will have to fend off a redemption series when they travel down to the Sunshine State to battle it out in a three-game weekend series with Stetson. Maryland took two out of three a year ago against Stetson in College Park, but the Hatters lasted longer into the spring, making it to the NCAA Super Regionals. They also finished atop the Atlantic Sun conference last spring. This out-of-conference matchup is a key series for the Terps as they shape the beginning of their year.

A likely starter in the series will be Stetson’s Mitchell Senger. The junior southpaw was named to the Preseason All-American Team. He also earned a spot on the Golden Spikes Watch List, the top award in college baseball.

3. University of Minnesota (May 10-12) 1280px-Minnesota_Golden_Gophers_logo.svg

Location: Minneapolis, Mn. 

The Terps will face one of the best perennial teams in the Big Ten in a three-game series against Minnesota. Conference tournament champions last spring, the Golden Gophers made it to a Super Regional last season in what was a dominating year, finishing with a record of 44-15.

The weekend series will take place in Minneapolis in mid-May. It’ll be another late-season test for the Terps, who might be making a similar postseason push as last year at the time of this series. 

2. University of Michigan (May 3-5) 1280px-Michigan_Wolverines_logo.svg

Location: College Park, Md.

A showdown between two Big Ten teams will bring Erik Bakich back to his former home. The Michigan head coach is returning to College Park for only the second time since he left the position as head coach for the Terps in 2012. The Wolverines swept the Terps a season ago in Ann Arbor, winning the only two games that the teams squared off.

In 2017, when Bakich and the Wolverines came into College Park, the Terps took two of three from a ranked Michigan squad. It was a huge series for a Terps team that narrowly made the NCAA tournament that year.

With a 15-8 conference record a season ago, Michigan will be an immense challenge for the Terps when they begin to round out the regular season.

1. Eastern Carolina University (March 15-17) 200px-East_Carolina_Pirates_logo.svg

Location: College Park, Md.

The biggest series of the 2019 season is a mid-March showdown at home against Eastern Carolina University. Ranked No. 11 in the D1baseball preseason rankings coming off a 44-18 season, the Pirates are the premier team in the American Athletic Conference.

Last season, Maryland played a three-game set at East Carolina and were swept and outscored 26-4. The Pirates went on to host an NCAA Regional, but lost two of three games to end their season.

A name to watch for is Bryant Packard, a junior at ECU. He was named a preseason first team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. As an early-season out-of-conference series, this daunting task could turn into a rewarding experience if the Terps can pull off an upset against a ranked foe. 

Preseason Countdown #4: Outfield Preview


It’s officially game week. Maryland baseball will take on Campbell on Friday to kick off the 2019 season — the second year under head coach Rob Vaughn.

We’ll carry on with our preseason countdown with just four days until the first pitch. We’ve previewed the starting pitchers, the bullpen and the infield. Last up on the positional previews: the outfield.

Sophomore Randy Bednar


The list of returning Maryland starting outfielders is short: Randy Bednar. He played in 44 games last year, the most of anyone in the Terps freshman class.

Seniors Zach Jancarski and Will Watson graduated, while junior Marty Costes left a year early after he was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 2018 MLB Draft. With just one year under his belt, Bednar is now the most experienced outfielder Maryland has returning.

Bednar played a majority of his games in right field, and it’s still unknown if he’ll remain in that spot moving forward. At the plate, Bednar will look to improve after hitting .208 a season ago. His six home runs, though, were tied for the third-most on the team and the most among returning hitters.

Junior transfer Caleb Walls Walls082818_02.jpg

Walls is one of three transfers head coach Rob Vaughn brought into College Park this season with the ability to play in the outfield. Last season, he played at Pasco Hernando State College after spending two years at George Mason.

Walls played in two different outfield positions at George Mason, starting 10 games in left field and nine in center in 2016. Last year, the outfielder hit a team-high .385 with 58 runs scored, 43 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.

With the amount of departures from Maryland’s outfield, Walls could step in entering this season already acclimated to what’s now been three different college programs.

Junior transfer Ben Irvine Irvine082818_01.jpg

Irvine, like Walls, is entering his first season at Maryland. He played two seasons at Northern Essex Community College in his home state of Massachusetts. During his time there, he hit over .330 in both seasons, and lost in the NJCAA World Series last year.

Irvine is coming off a sophomore season in which he was named a second-team All American, and could also bring some college experience to an outfield with a lot of questions still waiting to be answered.

Junior transfer Sebastian Holte-Mancera Mancera090518_01.jpg

Holte-Mancera is the third transfer who also has the ability to play in the outfield, but he’s also listed as a catcher. The junior played his last two seasons at Ellsworth College in Iowa, and was a bright spot in Maryland’s Fall World Series and exhibitions upon his arrival.

The utility player hit .384 with 22 doubles and seven home runs in his last season at Ellsworth. That came off another seven-homer campaign as a freshman, in which he also hit over .300. Whether he’s needed in the outfield or behind the dish to give starting catcher Justin Vought rest, Holte-Mancera is one of seven transfers that could give the Terps more depth in 2019.

Sophomore Chris Alleyne Alleyne090518_01.jpg

Alleyne is a returning face to the Maryland roster, but he didn’t play much last season, and none of that time came in the outfield. But with the number of departures, the coaching staff has tried to turn the sophomore into a potential outfielder for this season.

The former infielder only started seven games as a freshman — primarily as a designated hitter — and only managed two hits in his limited 25 at-bats on the season. He did, however, pick up 31 hits this summer in the Cal Ripken Baseball League.

It’s unclear if Alleyne’s transition to the outfield will turn into a role in any of the three positions in 2019.

Sophomore Michael Pineiro Piniero090518_03

Pineiro was included in our infield preview, with the first baseman job up for grabs after Kevin Biondic graduated after last season. But if he doesn’t end up starting at that position, Pineiro could find himself contributing in the outfield.

While he didn’t play at all as a true freshman, Pineiro spent a majority of his high school career in the outfield in California. While he initially might have been transitioning to a spot in the infield, it’s possible Pineiro could wind up back in the outfield at some point this season.

Pineiro was a standout performer at the plate throughout the Fall World Series and two exhibitions, so his position flexibility gives him potential opportunities in what could be his first season getting on the field.

Freshman Maxwell Costes Costes090518_03

Like Pineiro, Costes was featured in our infield preview at his natural position at third base, but with that spot locked down by senior leader Taylor Wright, that opportunity isn’t immediately available.

It’s a similar situation to the one his older brother Marty faced when he came to College Park several years ago. The elder Costes’ bat was needed in the lineup, so the coaching staff placed him in a position in the outfield with less competition.

With a similar need in the outfield once more, the younger Costes might also end up making that switch to the outfield to fill a void. He’s coming off a senior season of high school in which he hit .392 with nine doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs and 2018 Baltimore Sun first team All-Metro recognition.




Preseason Countdown #5: Infield preview

Maryland baseball season is just five days away. Over the last two weeks, The Maryland Baseball Network has reviewed the best moments of head coach Rob Vaughn’s first year at the helm, highlighted the best offseason performers and broken down several notable things revealed at spring sports media day.

Now, with less than a week left until the Terps take on Campbell in the season-opener, it’s time to shift our efforts to what’s to come in the next few months. We’ve previewed the starting pitchers and bullpen, and today, we continue with a breakdown of Maryland baseball’s 2019 infielders.

Sophomore first baseman Michael Pineiro Piniero090518_03

After redshirting his freshman year and showing out for the Aggies in the Fall World Series, Pineiro is one of head coach Rob Vaughn’s options to fill the Terps’ gap at first base after Kevin Biondic graduated after last season. With a strong performance during the fall, Pineiro could also find a spot in Maryland’s starting lineup in the outfield or as the designated hitter.

Freshman first baseman Kody Milton Milton090518_01

Milton has shown vast improvements since arriving in the the fall as a first-year Terp, according to Vaughn. The Terps’ head coach added that Milton will likely find himself “in the mix” with everything Maryland does this spring, citing the freshman’s “desire to be great.”

As a senior at Severna Park High School, Milton hit .514 with eight home runs and 35 RBI, ending his career with the Falcons with 21 home runs and 116 hits. At first base, Perfect Game ranked Milton No. 28 in the nation and No. 1 in Maryland.

Sophomore second baseman Tommy Gardiner Gardiner090518_03

After spending time at third base last season, Gardiner has successfully transitioned over to second according to Vaughn. As a freshman, Gardiner started 21 games for the Terps, hitting .162 with a .311 on-base percentage.

This season, the New Jersey-native will be one of three possibilities to fill the holes left after last year. At media day, Vaughn cited the sophomore as a “super steady defender [who] can handle the bat,” and could see a decent amount of playing time.

Freshman second baseman Ben Cowles Cowles090518_05

A former shortstop, Cowles has a chance to start at second for the Terps this season, as well. One of the most competitive players Vaughn says he has ever coached — second only to now-Volunteer Assistant Coach Anthony Papio — the New York native’s athleticism could put him in a prime position when the season begins.

Before Maryland, Cowles ended his senior season at Newark High School batting .512 with a .650 on-base percentage and for home runs. According to Perfect Game, he was ranked the No. 5 shortstop in New York.

Freshman second baseman Josh Maguire Maguire082818_03

Another new player who has held his own is Delaware-native Josh Maguire, who has worked hard to overcome his defensive struggles. If Maguire comes out strong in the box, he, too, could be an option at second according to Vaughn.

Ranked the No. 2 second baseman in Delaware by Perfect Game, Maguire hit .415 his senior year at Salesianum, batting above .300 for all four season with the Sallies.

Senior third baseman Taylor Wright VBSVZTBXVAYMWHZ.20170912225046

After transferring to Maryland last season, Wright is one of four seniors for the Terps this year. The Vancouver native started 44 games for the Terps last season, batting .230 with 25 RBIs and a .319 on-base percentage.

Growing more comfortable at third over the offseason, Wright rounds out the left side of Maryland’s infield. Between Wright and Lee, the left-side pairing’s “intense work ethic” is what makes them a strong duo, according to Vaughn.

Freshman third baseman Maxwell Costes Costes090518_03.jpg

Costes finds himself in a similar situation to the one his old brother Marty experienced when he came in as a freshman several years ago, before he was drafted last year and opted to forgo his final season in College Park.

With third base occupied by a senior leader, Costes likely won’t have immediate opportunities at his natural infield position. But with a depleted outfield after last season, Costes could transition to the outfield just like his brother did for Maryland for three seasons.

Senior shortstop AJ Lee Lee090518_05

Lee started all 54 games at shortstop last season after sliding over from third base, batting .232 with a .375 on-base percentage, 36 walks and 11 hit by pitches. After putting in work in the offseason and spending time after practice taking extra grounders, Lee has the potential for a solid performance his second year as Maryland’s shortstop.

The senior is also one of the three team-appointed captains, according to Vaughn, who added that between Lee and third baseman Taylor Wright, the Terps’ left side has shaped up to be one of the strongest he’s coached.

Sophomore catcher Justin Vought Vought090518_01

After serving as backup to senior Justin Morris last year,  Vought will be the primary catcher for the Terps in 2019. As a freshman, Vought started 20 games and batted .174 with three home runs, 12 hits and a .296 on-base percentage. This season, Vought is also one of three team-appointed captains and the only returning catcher on the roster. 

Freshman catcher Zach Doss Doss082818_02

Doss shined in Game 2 of the Fall World Series this past fall, supporting the Aggies in the first of two comeback wins. Before joining the Terps, Perfect Game ranked Doss No. 66 nationally and No. 1 in Maryland after his time at North Point High School. In his senior season, he batted .593 with four home runs.

Junior catcher Tavan Shahidi Shahidi090518_05

Shahidi is one of the seven transfers Vaughn brought into College Park this season, one that also features a large 11-member freshman class. The junior from Iowa Lakes Community College slashed .336/.445/.611 with 10 home runs, 11 doubles and 43 RBIs before joining the Terps for the 2019 season.


Preseason Countdown #6: Bullpen preview


Maryland baseball season is just one week away. Over the last two weeks, The Maryland Baseball Network has reviewed the best moments of head coach Rob Vaughn’s first year at the helm, highlighted the best offseason performers and broken down several notable things revealed at spring sports media day.

Now, with just six days left until the Terps take on Campbell in the season-opener, it’s time to shift our efforts to what’s to come in the next few months. We’ve previewed the starting pitchers, and today, we continue with a breakdown of Maryland baseball’s 2019 relief pitchers.

Senior RHP John Murphy Murphy082818_03.jpg

For the second straight season, John Murphy will start the season as Maryland’s closer. Murphy picked up four saves last year while posting a 4.26 ERA over 25 innings of work, struggling a bit with his command. It was a bit of a disappointing season for the righty, who posted a 1.71 ERA in 2017, but he still struck out 37 batters last season.

Unfortunately, after being ejected from the final game of the 2018 season against Indiana, Murphy will be ineligible to pitch in Maryland’s first two games against Campbell and Coastal Carolina. But after that, look for Murphy to handle the 9th inning for the Terps.

Junior RHP Nick Turnbull Turnbull090518_08

Nick Turnbull has been maybe the most impressive addition to the Terps bullpen this season. The tall right-hander joined Maryland as a transfer from Harford Community College, and has shown off a good fastball and breaking ball. Rob Vaughn and Corey Muscara could go to Turnbull if they need to close out one of the first two games in 2019.

Junior RHP Elliot Zoellner Zoellner090518_01.jpg

Elliot Zoellner started the 2018 season as a possible starter, but after some rough appearances, the righty settled into the Terps bullpen. Zoellner finished the season with an 11.57 ERA in 16 innings of work, but he was much better in his final few appearances of the campaign after getting fully comfortable with his new sidearm delivery. He then went on to post a 0.64 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings this summer with the Bethesda Big Train in the Ripken League, and looks poised for a breakout season.

Sophomore LHP Sean Fisher Fisher090518_06

Sean Fisher was used heavily in his first season in College Park, working 30 innings and posting a 6.53 ERA with 22 strikeouts last season. The lefty has a lot of movement on his fastball, which is the pitch he throws most of the time. Look for Fisher to again be an option in the late innings for the Terps, especially if he continues to develop his off-speed pitches.

Sophomore LHP Grant Burleson Burleson090518_01

Grant Burleson was another freshman who was used a good amount last year, posting a 6.65 ERA with 16 strikeouts and one save over 21 2/3 innings. He struggled with his command last season, walking 19 batters, but he showed a very good breaking ball that makes him tough against both righties and lefties.

Sophomore RHP Mike Vasturia Vasturia090518_01.jpg

Mike Vasturia is a tall right-hander at 6-foot-5, but he doesn’t throw very hard. Instead, he relies on a big curveball that can get hitters off balance. Vasturia pitched to a 6.41 ERA in 19 2/3 innings last season, but he could see even more innings this season if that curveball is working.

Sophomore LHP Billy Phillips Phillips090518_05

Billy Phillips continued to get better and stronger as 2018 went along, and he even earned a midweek start by the tail end of the season, and finished with an 8.55 ERA in 20 innings. The lefty should be in a middle relief or long relief role this season after showing more progress over the summer in the Ripken League. Phillips struck out 15 batters and walked just two over 15 innings with the Baltimore Redbirds this summer.

Junior LHP Tuck Tucker Tucker090518_02

Tuck Tucker is another junior college transfer who should see some innings out of the bullpen this season. He pitched at New Mexico Junior College and struck out 49 batters in under 40 innings of work. He has good stuff, which is why Texas Tech recruited him hard in high school, and he could be an important lefty for the Terps in 2019.

The Freshmen

Sean Heine

There are four freshman pitchers who should start the season in the Maryland bullpen, and could make an impact similar to that of Fisher and Burleson from last season.

Andrew Vail

Sean Heine, a 6-foot-4 righty from New Jersey, has a good breaking ball and fastball, and is one of the most exciting freshman in the class. He should make an impact on the mound this season. Andrew Vail, a 6-foot-1 lefty, also has some zip on his fastball, and comes from Gloucester Catholic, where the Terps have found some successful players in the past.

Will Glock


Will Glock is a 5-foot-11 right-hander who has good slider and  showed it during the Fall World Series when he recorded the final out of the week. Sean Burke, a 6-foot-6 righty, can give hitters trouble using his good stuff and size.

Sean Burke




Preseason Countdown #7: Starting pitchers preview


Maryland baseball season is just one week away. Over the last two weeks, The Maryland Baseball Network has reviewed the best moments of head coach Rob Vaughn’s first year at the helm, highlighted the best offseason performers and broken down several notable things revealed at spring sports media day.

Now, with just seven days left until the Terps take on Campbell in the season-opener, it’s time to shift our efforts to what’s to come in the next few months — beginning with a breakdown of Maryland’s definite and potential starting pitchers for the 2019 campaign.

Senior RHP Hunter Parsons RMZBYNJDDYBZPMM.20150924191225

This time last year, there was a clear starting weekend rotation and questions marks for the midweek roles that never seemed to disappear. With healing injuries and unproven newcomers, senior Hunter Parsons taking the mound on Friday nights is really the only sure thing when it comes to the Terps’ starting rotation.

The right-hander was a breakout pitcher for Maryland last season. He led the pitching staff in nearly every statistical category, including wins (5), innings pitched (89) and strikeouts (62). He also led the starters with a 3.44 ERA and a 2.3 K/BB ratio.

There was no shortage of unforgettable moments with Parsons on the mound, which featured two complete games in March. The latter came against NCAA Super Regional bound Stetson in a dominant two-hit complete game shutout.

Parsons began last year as the Sunday starter, where he overcame an eight-run outing in his first inning of the season. After that performance, the righty shined for the remainder of his junior campaign and finished it in the Friday night role that he’ll return to this season.

Junior LHP Tyler Blohm YFZMWOKWXYQKPRI.20160916193835

The only other definite piece of Maryland’s weekend rotation is southpaw Tyler Blohm, who has spent each of his first two seasons in that role. However, he might not be ready for the the start of the season.

At spring sports media day, head coach Rob Vaughn confirmed that the injury that sidelined Blohm at the end of the last year might prevent him from being ready for the 2019 campaign. Blohm has been back on the mound in practices, but it’s unknown when he’ll take the mound for the Terps for his junior season.

Blohm took a slight step back last season after winning the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2017. After posting an 8-6 record with a 3.48 ERA, the lefty had a 4.10 ERA last year and dealt with an injury by the end of the season. He was just named to D1baseball’s top college prospects list this week, so when Blohm eventually gets back on the mound, a bounce-back season could be his last in College Park heading into the 2019 MLB Draft.

Sophomore RHP Mark DiLuia mark diluia

The rest of the rotation is still quite unclear heading into the season, including the Sunday starter and midweek roles. Last year, though, right-hander Mark DiLuia started in 12 games — the most of the Terps’ freshman class.

His primary role for most of the year was starting midweek games, where it took some time for DiLuia adjust to college competition. When injuries starting popping up in the weekend rotation with Maryland’s Friday and Saturday starters, DiLuia played a huge role in trying to fill in when the the rotation became disfigured.

With nine new pitchers on the roster this season, DiLuia might not be needed in the same starting role he was in a year ago. But if needed, the sophomore has a dozen starts under his belt already.

Junior RHP Zach Thompson Thompson082818_02

After transferring from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, a Division III school, right-hander Zach Thompson was forced to sit out last season. Now, he’s making a strong case for a weekend rotation spot with a year of watching from the bench behind him.

Vaughn raved about Thompson at spring sports media day, noting the eight batters he struck out in three innings of an intrasquad scrimmage. With Blohm’s status uncertain heading into the season, Thompson could slide into his role for the time being. Thompson and Blohm are former teammates from their high school days at Archbishop Spalding.

Thompson started in nine games during his time at St. Mary’s College — the most on the team. He tossed one complete game while striking out 56 batters and walking only 17 in his one season with the Seahawks.

Freshman RHP Daniel O’Connor OConnor090518_04

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the Maryland baseball offseason is the emergence of right-hander Daniel O’Connor. A Maryland native from Calvert Hall College High School, he joined the team as a walk-on in the fall.

O’Connor was one of the stars of a highly successful Calvert Hall team in 2017, one that went 27-4. Last spring, the righty was named to the All-MIAA team before coming to Maryland.

Vaughn also talked very highly of O’Connor at spring sports media day. The freshman walk-on might also find himself in the rotation at some point, whether it be in midweek matchups or potentially on the weekends.

Freshman RHP Trevor LaBonte Labonte082818_02.jpg

Right-hander Trevor LaBonte is another freshman who could make his way into at least a midweek role for the Terps in 2019. Maryland struggled to win or find consistent quality pitching in midweek games last season with a lack of available arms, but Maryland’s large incoming class at least gives Vaughn and his staff options.

LaBonte is coming off an unheard of senior season at York High School in Maine. He went a flawless 10-0 with an 0.83 ERA, earning him the Western Maine Player of the Year. The three-sport athlete is now in College Park, and he could be another instant contributor from the freshman class.

Sophomore LHP Drew Wilden Wilden090518_01

Like Blohm, left-hander Drew Wilden is also in Maryland’s rotation plans according to Vaughn, but he might not be ready for the start of the season either.

After joining the Terps as one of their top recruits, Wilden missed his freshman season after receiving Tommy John surgery. He just recently got back onto the mound and might not be ready for meaningful game action just yet.

While Wilden’s status is also uncertain heading into the season, Vaughn did say to look for him to continue to make strides back from injury and potentially jump into the starting rotation.

Preseason Countdown #8: Blohm named to top prospects list


Maryland baseball left-hander Tyler Blohm was ranked No. 316 on D1baseball’s college Top 350 prospects list released Wednesday. He is the only Terrapin to be featured.

After Blohm won the 2016 Maryland High School Gatorade Player of the Year award, the Baltimore Orioles selected him in the 17th round of the MLB Draft. Instead of turning pro, the Severna Park native took his talents to his flagship university.

Blohm went 8-6 with a 3.48 ERA during his freshman season, holding opposing hitters to a .227 batting average. His eight wins ranked second in program history for a freshman.

The southpaw’s dominant first season included 71 strikeouts in 75 innings over 16 starts. He was the only freshman on the team to regularly start in the weekend rotation.

Blohm’s standout season garnered attention from around the conference, as he was named the Big Ten freshman of the year and was unanimously selected to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. He was also included in two college baseball sites’ All-American teams.

During his sophomore season in 2017, Blohm became the Saturday starter in the rotation behind right-hander Taylor Bloom. But Blohm struggled at times to replicate his abundant success from a season earlier, and his numbers began to drop. By the end of the year, he was removed from the rotation as he nursed an undisclosed injury.

Rather than returning to the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Falmouth Commodores for the second straight year, Blohm took the summer off ahead of what could be his final season at Maryland. He’ll look to return to his freshman form ahead of the 2019 MLB Draft in June, which he’ll be eligible for again.

Preseason Countdown #9: Meet the newcomers — Freshmen


Maryland baseball’s new-look 2019 squad not only features seven transfers, but a large 11-player freshman class entered the program in the offseason.

Many opportunities opened up after last year, including five starting spots in the field and a weekend starting pitching role.  Head coach Rob Vaughn will need immediate contributions from first-year Terps. Let’s meet the new guys:

RHP Sean Burke — Sutton, Mass. (St. John’s High School) 

Among the incoming freshman class, six will be taking the mound for the Terps. With a 5-0 record and 0.44 ERA in his senior season, righty Sean Burke is ranked as the No. 7 freshman in the Big Ten. A versatile arm led his team to a Division 1A State Super 8 Championship in his last year in high school.

RHP Will Glock — Fallston, Md. (Loyola Blakefield) 

Will Glock earned 41 strikeouts in 32 innings in his senior year, finishing with a 2.20 ERA. He also fanned 20 in an equal number of innings pitched with a 3.10 ERA as a junior. He led his team at Loyola Blakefield to a Conference Championship, the school’s first in 71 years.  

RHP Trevor LaBonte — York, Maine (York High School)

The Terps gain an all-around athlete from right hander Trevor Labonte. With a 10-0 record and 0.83 ERA in his senior season, Labonte was equally lethal from the plate, batting .413. He was named Western Maine Player of the Year in this season, and in 2016 was awarded an All-Conference selection. Off the diamond, Labonte averaged over 23 points and 11 rebounds a game in basketball and threw for over 1,000 yards in football. He was also an All-Conference player for his work on the hardwood.

RHP Sean Heine — Medford, N.J. (Shawnee High School)

Out of the Garden State is Sean Heine, a new big right-hander for the Terps. Ranked as the No. 57 freshman prospect in the Big Ten, Heine looks to earn some key innings on the bump this season. As a senior, he was awarded Northeast All-Region First-Team.

LHP Andrew Vail — Woodstown, N.J. (Gloucester Catholic)

The only southpaw for the Terps’ freshman class is Andrew Vail. At Gloucester Catholic Vail won two consecutive state championships. He was named first team All-South Jersey as a senior after going 7-2 with a 2.42 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 37.2 innings. He is the No. 22 freshman prospect in the conference.

RHP Daniel O’Connor — Towson, Md. (Calvert Hall)

Daniel O’Connor is another local addition to the Terps roster. The righty earned All-MIAA in 2018 and an Atlantic Region All-American Honorable Mention.

INF Benjamin Cowles — Newark, N.Y. (Newark High School)

On the other side of the ball is infielder Benjamin Cowles. The New Jersey native earned a number of awards in his high school career, including a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game honorable mention All-American, 2017 and 2018 Finger Lakes East player of the year, 2018 Section V Class B player of the year, and Class B first team All-State. Cowles batted .512 as a senior, with a .650 OBP and four home runs.

INF/OF Maxwell Costes — Baltimore, Md. (The Gilman School)

A familiar name in College Park is Costes. Three-year Terps player Marty Costes was a 22nd round pick to the Houston Astros in the 2018 draft. Now, his younger brother Maxwell is set to take the field in a Maryland uniform. A versatile player in both the infield and outfield, Costes had a .392 average with nine doubles and six homers his senior year. He was named to the 2018 Baltimore Sun first team All-Metro. He is the No. 27 freshman prospect in the Big Ten.

INF Josh Maguire — Newark, Del. (Salesianum)

Infielder Josh MaGuire batted over .300 in all four seasons of his high school career, with a .415 average his senior season. He was named to second team All-State in his final high school year.

INF Kody Milton — Severna Park, Md. (Severna Park)

With potentially the longest resume out of all the incoming freshman, infielder Kody Milton has surely made his name known in the baseball community. The Maryland native holds the home run (21) and hits (116) records at his high school in Severna Park. He batted .514 with eight homers his senior season, while having a .580 average his junior year.

Milton’s accolades include 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game All-American honorable mention, 2018 Washington Post All-Metro Player of the Year, and 2018 Baltimore Sun All-Metro first team. His father, Eric, was a pitcher at Maryland from 1994-1966 before going on to have an 11-year MLB career.

C Zach Doss — Waldorf, Md. (North Point High School)

Zach Doss had an incredible .593 batting average his senior year, .493 his junior year, and .518 his sophomore year. Doss is a three-time All-Southern Maryland Athletic Conference First Team. He was also named the 2018 Charles County Male Athlete of the Year and a member of the 2018 First-Team All-State. Doss is the No. 50 freshman prospect in the Big Ten.


Preseason Countdown #10: Meet the newcomers — Transfers


With the Terps losing a bevy of their top contributors from last season, and others who had an impact as well, the 2019 roster includes a lot of new faces.

A large freshman class will help to fill the holes, but head coach Rob Vaughn and his staff also brought in a multitude of transfers to help the Terrapins this season. Let’s meet them all.

JR LHP Tuck Tucker — New Mexico Junior College (JuCo in NM)

Aside from his great name, Tucker is a big left-hander who stands at 6-foot-4. A Texas native, Tucker originally committed to Texas Tech out of high school but never appeared in a game for the Red Raiders. He instead pitched at two different junior colleges  — San Jacinto and New Mexico — over the past two seasons. He has worked as a a starter and a reliever, and struck out 23 batters in just under 26 innings in the Ripken League this summer.

JR RHP Zach Thompson — St. Mary’s College of Maryland (D3 in MD)

Thompson spent all of 2018 with the Terps, but had to sit out the season after transferring from the Division-III level, where he pitched one season at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. His fastball moves well and he has a good chance to win a weekend rotation spot this season. Thompson had a great summer in the NECBL, posting a 3.08 ERA in just under 47 innings of work.

JR RHP Nick Turnbull — Harford CC (JuCo in MD)

Turnbull is a tall right-hander who could find himself in some high-leverage situations for the Terrapins this season. He has one of the top fastball velocities on the team this year with a pretty good breaking ball that helped him strike out 15 batters in nine relief appearances this summer in the Ripken League. He comes to Maryland from Harford Community College where he saw time as a starter and a reliever.

JR OF Caleb Walls — Pasco-Hernando State College (JuCo in FL)

Walls will compete to see time in a wide-open outfield this season, and he has a bat that could keep him in the Terps lineup. The 5-foot-10 left-handed hitter batted .385 with a .477 on-base percentage last season at Pasco-Hernando State College in Florida. That was his only season at PHSC, as he transferred there after originally committing to George Mason out of high school and playing there for one season in 2016.

JR OF/C Sebastian Holte-Mancera — Ellsworth CC (JuCo in IA)

The man they call “Sea bass” comes to College Park after he played two seasons at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa. Holte-Mancera hit .385 with seven home runs and a .515 on-base percentage there last season and has the ability to play the outfield and behind the dish. He is a versatile player who has thrived at getting on base in his college career.

JR OF Ben Irvine — Northern Essex CC (JuCo in MA)

Irvine is another Junior College star who played the last two seasons at Northern Essex Community College in Massachusetts. He hit .342 there in 2018 and was named an NJCAA Division-III Second-Team All-American. He’s another left-handed hitter who always shows good speed.

JR C Tavan Shahidi — Iowa Lakes CC (JuCo in IA)

Shahidi is another top junior college hitter who spent the last two seasons at Iowa Lakes Community College. He hit .336 with a .445 on-base percentage and 10 home runs in 51 games last season and brings the Terps another good defensive catcher who can also handle the bat.