Baseball is what Maxwell Costes does, it’s not who he is

A panic attack once turned into an anxiety attack at the same time for Maryland baseball star Maxwell Costes, and with several other factors the first baseman realized he needed to seek help.

“After, I would kind of sit there like I need some help or something because I can’t keep going on like this,” Costes said. “This gets to a point now where it’s affecting my play, it’s affecting me and my ability to just be a regular human being.”

The panic attack that turned into an anxiety attack occurred during a weekend series at Minnesota in the spring of 2019, Costes’ freshman season. Costes had so many different stresses going on in his life at the time and it all culminated with an attack on his mental health. He had trouble sleeping, trouble paying attention in school and trouble enjoying just doing anything. 

Costes was the 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and an All-Big Ten First Team and All-Big Ten Freshman Team selection. The Baltimore native also earned Freshman All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball. He led Big Ten freshmen in slugging percentage (.547), RBI (49), home runs (15), doubles (15) and total bases (117). The slugger hit five home runs in the season’s final six games, including three in the Big Ten Tournament.

After the series against Minnesota where Costes dealt with some of his mental health struggles, he expressed to his head coach Rob Vaughn and his hitting coach Matt Swope what was occurring and also that he needed help with it.

“The spring of his freshman year is when it kind of came to light,” Vaughn said. “You look at him and you’re like ‘what are you talking about, you’re hitting .350 with 14 home runs, what do you mean you struggle with some of this?’ Having that conversation and seeing what internally he actually felt and bringing that to the surface was a major step.”

There is a clear stigma within sports that keeps many athletes hesitant from speaking out about their mental health.

“He’s not afraid to express how he feels, which in sports is just not something that is the norm,” Swope stated.

Vaughn and Swope have both been an incredible help to Costes’ improvement with his mental health struggles, in addition to the University of Maryland Athletic Department’s Clinical and Sport Psychology Services, which has been directed by Dr. Michelle Garvin since 2017.

“Dr. Garvin is literally the most wonderful human being in the world,” Costes expressed.

Garvin has really helped Costes learn what mental health is and she’s helped him find ways that work in coping with some of his struggles. In their weekly meetings together, Garvin has helped Costes realize that these struggles did not begin at that Minnesota series, but these are some things he dealt with in high school at the Gilman School.

“Now that I’ve really learned about mental health and the symptoms and effects of it, I realized I was dealing with this stuff all throughout high school,” Costes said. “I had really, really bad anxiety throughout high school, I didn’t deal with stress well and I was depressed. I am glad to say that I figured all this stuff out young, so now I know what to work on so when I get into my 30s and 40s this isn’t something that has been affecting me to the point where it affects my actual physical health.”

Vaughn and Swope, along with Maryland pitching coach Corey Muscara and assistant coach Anthony Papio, have instilled meditation and visualization into the Maryland baseball program. Every single day before hitting at practice, Swope has the players meditate for three minutes to clear their minds.

Swope brings this aspect of baseball to his team everyday because it helped him cope with some of the biggest tragedies during his life. His brother passed away when he was in high school, his sister died from cancer when she was in her 30s and his mother is currently battling cancer. Meditation is something that worked for Swope in getting through hard times, so he brings it for his players to try at practice.

“We talk about meditation and visualization all the time and I think the thing about our staff is that we’ve seen it work,” Vaughn said. “Coach Swope has dealt with a lot of stuff in his life, a lot of pain and emotional stuff. Meditation and visualization are so real to him because it has allowed him to address some of this stuff. Swope has been extremely diligent in saying, ‘if the head is not right, we don’t need to just dive in and start hitting and if the head is not right, nothing else is going to work right.’”

Looking up to Swope and having a great relationship with him has allowed Costes to adopt meditation as a major part of his mental health battle and his routine before games. 

“Right before we come out for infield-outfield warm ups, I always spend 10 to 15 minutes doing mindfulness meditation,” Costes said. “It’s not because I need to stop bad thoughts, it’s not so I stop feeling anxious and stop feeling nervous. It is more so to just recognize it, like ‘hey I feel like this right now, what do I need to do to be able to function the best.’” 

On top of the meditation that Costes does, he also turned to writing poetry as an avenue to help him mentally because it helps him get his thoughts out.

“I first started writing poetry because I had so many thoughts and things running through my head that I could never calm down,” Costes stated. “Sitting down and just writing my thoughts out is what turned into poetry.”  

Writing down his thoughts and feelings helped Costes form a journal that he writes in everyday, which he says started as a joke. Swope signs off on Costes’ journal before each practice or game and they joke that he is signing Costes’ permission slip to go hit. Over time, this became more serious and helpful for Costes’ mental health.

“I think it originally started with him knowing that it’s okay to express some of this stuff and it doesn’t take away from the fact that you could still be a really good athlete and do that,” Swope said.

Swope believes that sometimes you can go too far to the other side mentally and analyze the game of baseball and your performance too much. All of that works hand-in-hand with mental health. So, since the beginning of April, Costes has been jotting down his thoughts in his journal, which helps him express his thoughts and allows Swope to be connected to Costes’ mental health. 

“It’s just as important that he’s been able to start to express himself as a person, but making sure that he still has something that’s applicable to that day,” Swope said. “So I sign off on his journal before every game. He writes down what the starting pitcher is doing or what his plan is going to be and I had to start signing off on it because sometimes it was too cerebral. For his overall maturation and development as a person, I think it’s a lot bigger than just the game for sure.”

For Costes, sitting down with Swope and developing something that he could follow is what has helped him mentally.

“I’m not stepping into the batter’s box like ‘what’s going on?,’” Costes said. “I have a path to follow and sometimes it’s wrong, but at least I have something to base my at-bats on and something to guide me through my at-bats.”

Vaughn, Swope, Muscara, Papio and the rest of the Maryland baseball program are extremely approachable and welcoming in talking about mental health. As a coaching staff, they try to be super transparent and have specific conversations about mental health on a personal level. Costes has been lucky to have coaches believe in him and see what he is going through, which helps him open up more.

Costes and Vaughn have known each other beyond Costes’ time at Maryland because his older brother Marty Costes played at Maryland from 2016 to 2018. This allowed Vaughn and Maxwell to create a relationship early on and Vaughn has raved about him ever since.

“He is an extremely intelligent young man,” Vaughn said. “The dude could have gone to play at the Ivy League schools if he wanted to. Maxwell was very outspoken and very passionate about a lot of what we’re seeing today, before it was a new thing and before Black Lives Matter had the slogan. When he was a freshman I told him, ‘you’re going to change the world and it’s going to have nothing to do with baseball.’ I hope he plays baseball as a profession, but he’s so passionate about more.”

One of Vaughn’s messages to Costes during the early parts of his freshman year has allowed him to be more comfortable with himself as a person and open up more about his mental health struggles.

“Baseball was clearly what he does, not who he is,” Vaughn said. “He didn’t necessarily know that and we helped him grow into learning that and actually being able to appreciate that, so when he does start losing himself on the baseball field he can come back to it. But, he’s always been an incredible human being. He has serious depth to him and he cares about people. You can’t say enough about Maxwell, he’s an incredible person.”

Pro Terps Update: 2020 Opening Day edition

Opening Day for the abbreviated 2020 MLB season has finally arrived, and several former Terps find themselves on 30-man rosters in what can only be described as a 60-game sprint to the postseason.

Those in the majors may be the only ones seeing any professional baseball action over the pandemic-filled summer, as the 2020 Minor League Baseball season was canceled on June 30. Some independent leagues are currently active, but a majority of the group of former Terps that were in those leagues are sitting the season out.

Here is a list of the pro Terps that begin the shortened season on their teams’ 30-man and taxi squad rosters:

LHP Adam Kolarek, Los Angeles Dodgers

Many fans and analysts alike have speculated that Adam Kolarek’s role as a Left-Handed One Out Guy (LOOGY) would be diminished with the league’s new three-batter minimum rule for relief pitchers, but Kolarek still stands out as one of L.A.’s best bullpen arms.

Kolarek was one of the 11 relief pitchers to be added to the Dodgers’ 30-man roster, and he earned the win for L.A. in MLB’s Opening Night on Thursday as he recorded five outs with just 14 pitches against the San Francisco Giants

2B Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays

The versatile Brandon Lowe looks to follow up his all-star 2019 season as a core piece for the contending Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have a crowded, talented infield featuring Yandy Diaz, Joey Wendle, Willy Adames, and the newest Japanese import Yoshi Tsutsugo, so Lowe may have to settle into more of a utility role while occasionally starting in the outfield.

Regardless of where Lowe finds his playing time, he’ll continue to play a big part in the Rays quest to the postseason in 2020.

OF LaMonte Wade Jr., Minnesota Twins

LaMonte Wade Jr. made it onto the Twins 30-man roster as one of the final outfield additions to the club, and the former Terp will look to build upon a solid rookie season with a stronger sophomore year, especially after putting together a decent Spring Training. Although it was four long months ago, Wade Jr. slashed .286/.423/.381 through 11 games, striking out only four times in 26 plate appearances.

Wade Jr. may struggle to have outfield starts over the likes of Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler, but his on-base proficiency provides a great tool for the Twins off the bench.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Boston Red Sox

Mike Shawaryn did not make the cut for Boston’s 30-man roster, but he has been included in their taxi squad playing in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. In a simulated game Thursday, Shawaryn threw 2 1/3 innings, securing a hold and striking out four batters.

With Boston losing many of its notable relief arms over recent years, Shawaryn could find his way into the bullpen if he continues throwing the ball well in Pawtucket.


INF Kevin Smith, Toronto (Buffalo) Blue Jays

Kevin Smith missed the mark to make it on the Blue Jays’ 30-man roster and will start the 2020 season playing with the Toronto taxi squad.

After having a tremendous 2018 where he slashed .302/.358/.528 across two minor league levels, Smith has struggled to find his footing ever since. In Spring Training earlier this year his on-base percentage-plus slugging was .503.

Smith, along with other Blue Jays on the taxi squad, may have to wait before having intrasquad workouts and games due to the home stadium snafu that Toronto is caught in. Today the team announced it will be playing the majority of its season at their Triple-A affiliate’s stadium in Buffalo, New York, where the taxi squad was originally supposed to play.

Outlook: Coach Vaughn on the pandemic and the future of college baseball

On Wednesday, March 12, within minutes of each other, the NCAA and the Big Ten ended the season for all spring sports, including baseball, due to concerns over the impact of the mounting COVID-19 pandemic.

Head coach Rob Vaughn and the Maryland baseball team left College Park early Wednesday, beginning their journey to Dallas, Texas, ahead of their biggest regular season contest: a weekend series against TCU.

But rather than shuttle the team to practice after the plane landed, Vaughn and his fellow coaches had to gather the group in a hotel conference room and discuss the news that their 2020 season was over before conference play had even started.

In that moment, and now, months later, Vaughn’s message to his team was simple, real and authentic.

“It happened so fast,” Vaughn said. “There are no words. Sometimes I feel like words get int the way in situations like that.”

Vaughn has since told his team not to be “superheroes” and to follow the state-by-state guidelines, listening to health officials. He’s also pushed his players to use their time without baseball to work on themselves and focus on academics.

“Don’t use this to stress about the baseball stuff,” Vaughn said, “use this to better yourself as a person in some way, shape, or form.”

Over two months later, the Terps have been adjusting to a different way of staying connected. Early-on, once the team had all returned home or to their apartments in College Park, the Terps tried an all-team Zoom session, experimenting with different ways to remain in touch and maintain the group’s bonds.

“The reality is, when you get 50 people on a Zoom call it’s a zoo,” Vaughn said. “Nobody’s paying attention, like your eyes just glaze over.”

After that initial video chat, Vaughn and the other coaches have changed their approach. Rather than risk getting “zoomed out,” as Vaughn put it, they’re meeting in smaller, targeted groups based more on personal interests. Shortstop Ben Cowles has been talking with assistant coach Matt Swope about his hitting, while pitcher Sean Burke and pitching coach Corey Muscara are working on Burke’s breaking ball, all via video chat.

More recently Vaughn heard from senior pitchers Tyler Blohm, Elliot Zoellner and Zach Thompson, all of whom will be returning for their final year of eligibility in 2021, a result of the NCAA Division I Council’s ruling that spring sport seniors would receive an extra year of eligibility.

While there remain many unanswered questions, including topics like roster management and how eligibility will be funded, Vaughn is happy to have three veteran arms back on the mound for what he believes will be an exciting season, in part as a result of MLB’s five-round draft.

“You’re going to see the most loaded college baseball around the country that you’ve ever seen,” Vaughn said. “I think across the landscape you’re going to have more high school kids get to [college] and more juniors staying in school…I think the landscape of college baseball one year doing [a five-round draft] is going to drastically change from here on out.”

For Maryland specifically, Vaughn is sticking to his mantra of treating each day as the most important, not making any one day, game or practice more special than the rest.

“It’s just more a sustained thing,” Vaughn said. “It’s great we have returning guys, but can we behave like winners and make decisions like winners for 60 days in a row. It’s not east to do but that’s going to be out biggest challenge [next year] and I’m excited.”

Like so many, Vaughn is taking it day-by-day, valuing the time he’s able to spend with his family and the interactions he’s having with his athletes, even if it is through a screen.

“I’m excited,” Vaughn said. “I don’t even care about the 2021 season, I’m just excited to get back out and take batting practice…try to strike out guys out every day. That’s what I want to do.”

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.”

Confidence, chemistry key in successful start to season for Terps

In their best start to a season since 2015, the Maryland Terrapin’s heads were held high after winning a closely-contested Sunday matinee versus the Rhode Island Rams.

While that 2015 squad was the last to make the NCAA tournament super regionals, the prospect of the Terps fully replicating that season doesn’t have head coach Rob Vaughn chomping at the bit.

“It’s so early,” said the third-year head coach las week, after a perfect 3-0 road trip to begin the season. “We sit here this weekend and we have a good weekend, the boys are on top of the world, they feel good, but you and I both know that this game can flip at the drop of a hat.”

Not one to jump to conclusions, Vaughn still saw the first weekend of the year as an early barometer for the remainder of the season, and Maryland outscoring opponents 23-6 in this three games, along with three stellar performances from the starting arms, certainly makes that barometer spike.

Before Maryland’s home opener versus Rhode Island this past weekend, Vaughn preached the importance of confidence to his team.

“He often says, ‘Do the right thing, it’ll pay you back,'” said senior pitcher Elliot Zoellner. “So we’re just trying to continue with that and head in with confidence into the weekend.”

Zoellner pitched once in the season-opening road trip a week ago, a perfect sixth inning to keep Charleston at bay, and this Sunday notched the final out in the top of the sixth to keep Rhode Island out of the run column.

While confidence has proven a vital tool for the young Maryland team in these first two weekends, this season’s squad has the most chemistry of any team in the past four years, according to Zoellner.

“We’ve bonded really well, the freshman class is great, all the transfers fit in really well,” said Zoellner. “The coaches have put together a really good culture over the past couple of years, and it’s great to be a part of.”

That sentiment of a strong team bond is felt by players across the board, including freshman Tucker Flint, who played a crucial role — hitting for a .545 average — in the Terps’ first three victories. Flint explained that the team’s chemistry has enabled some of the conficence Maryland has shown of late.

“I think everyone seems to know their role really well,” said Flint following opening weekend. “I think confidence-wise, having a great first weekend helps a lot. Going 3-0, it’s huge, and it makes us believe we can beat anybody going forward.”

While the Terps went only 2-1 in their second weekend — the loss being a near-comeback 11-8 slugfest — having a high level of confidence is crucial for such a young Maryland squad.

Sean Burke, a redshirt freshman who missed the 2019 season recovering from an injury, is an example of the innate power of confidence. The righty threw his second gem in as many starts Sunday versus Rhode Island, striking out eight batters over 5 1/3 scoreless innings en route to Maryland’s 3-0 victory.

“I’ve only been here for this year and last year, but I think this year our team obviously is very close,” Burke said last Wednesday. “We get along with each other really well off the field so I think that translates well on the field with us trusting each other and being confident in each other…I think everybody’s pretty confident.”

Maryland’s confidence will be put to the test on Tuesday, as the Terps play host to the George Mason Patriots in their first midweek matchup of the season. Last season Maryland went 9-4 in midweek matchups, a result the team hopes its confidence and chemistry — and abilities on both sides of the ball — will better this year.

Preseason Countdown No. 3: Top 5 Series for 2020


As they have the past few years, Maryland baseball faces national blue-blood programs on the road early in the season and will have to get past some of the Big Ten’s elite in order to reach the conference tournament.

Here are the Terps’ top five series of the 2020 season. 

@ Coastal Carolina, February 28-March 1

After opening the season in South Carolina on February 14, the Terps head back to the Palmetto State at the end of the month to face off with the Chanticleers. It’s the third straight year Maryland will face Coastal, losing 7-2 in one game last year, and beating the Chants 7-6 in 2018.

Coastal’s offense, which finished last season fifth in the country with 525 runs,  will be led by outfielder Parker Chavers. Baseball America named the junior a second-team preseason All-American coming off last season, when he batted .316 with 15 home runs.

Control will be key for the Terps’ pitching staff, as Coastal finished 11th in the nation last season with 350 walks, drawing eight in their matchup with Maryland. Coastal can also make free bases hurt, as they stole 79 bases on 93 attempts in 2019 (opponents were 78-95 against the Terps last season). The Chanticleers serve as a useful early-season measuring stick, as the first of five NCAA tournament teams the Terps will face this year. 

@ TCU, March 13-15

The Terps play five straight home games after their trip to Conway, South Carolina, before they head to Fort Worth, Texas to take on the new-look Horned Frogs. Coming off an NCAA tournament berth, the Horned Frogs lost their ace, Nick Lodolo, and their top three hitters to the MLB draft last year.

Despite the roster turnover TCU has plenty of talent, with top-15 recruiting classes in three of the last four seasons. Pitcher Charles King will be looking to step into the ace role left behind by Lodolo, coming off a junior season where he had a 3.36 ERA in 21 appearances, including eight starts. The Horned Frogs’ bullpen should be anchored by junior Augie Mihlbauer, who led the team with a 2.35 ERA in 28 relief appearances last season.

On offense, TCU returns only four players who appeared in more than 40 games, though those four players include reigning RBI leader, infielder Austin Henry, who hit .288 with 43 RBI and started all 62 games last season. Like the Terps, TCU will lean heavily on a young, yet talented roster, with impending learning curves making it difficult to project where the two teams will be when they meet.

@ Iowa, April 17-19

Entering the last series of 2019, Maryland needed to sweep Iowa to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament. The Terps secured that sweep, battering the Hawkeyes’ pitching staff to the tune of 26 runs in three games in College Park.

This year Iowa’s pitching staff, led by senior Grant Judkins, will look to quiet Maryland’s offense in Iowa City. Judkins was the team’s most reliable starter last season, with a 2.72 ERA in 15 starts, punching out 65 hitters while allowing just 70 hits in 82 2/3 innings.

The pitching staff will also be bolstered by the return of redshirt sophomore Jack Dreyer, who missed most of last season with a shoulder injury. When healthy, Dreyer looked sharp, striking out 11 and allowing just 2 runs in 7 1/3 innings over two starts.

The Iowa offense maintains most of its biggest weapons, with the team’s three batting leaders, Izaya Fullard, Zeb Adreon, and Austin Martin, all returning. Outfielder Ben Norman, the only player to start all 55 of Iowa’s games, also returns, coming off a season where he led the team with 12 doubles and 34 RBI along with six home runs, the second-most on the team.

Picked by Baseball America to finish fifth and sixth respectively in the Big Ten, both Iowa and Maryland should be looking to this series as a key time to pick up quality conference wins. 

@ Ohio State, May 8-10

This season the Terps drew a favorable conference schedule, avoiding the defending regular-season champion Indiana and national runner-up Michigan. Maryland will, however, have to face the defending Big Ten Tournament champs when they travel to Columbus.

The Buckeyes lost their tournament hero and closer Andrew Magno to the draft, but did retain their entire weekend rotation of Seth Lonsway, Garrett Burhenn and Griffan Smith. Lonsway was the Buckeyes’ most dominant pitcher the Buckeyes, punching out 126 batters in 92 1/3 innings and recording a 3.70 ERA.

On offense, the two biggest losses for the Buckeyes were Dominic Canzone and Brady Cherry, who had 16 homers apiece last year. The lineup still returns three 30-RBI players in Conner Pohl, Brent Todys and Zach Dezenzo, but the thump-and-fear factor provided by Canzone and Cherry will be difficult to replace.

Ohio State is also perhaps the most vulnerable of the Big Ten’s elite. While they found their stride in the postseason, the Buckeyes also were swept at home by Northwestern (by a combined score of 30-11), and went only 12-12 in conference play. 

vs. Minnesota, May 14-16

For the second year in a row, the Terps finish the regular season at home, this time with a three-game set against the Golden Gophers. Minnesota finished tied for third in the Big Ten last season, with a 15-9 conference record, and took two-of-three from Maryland in Minneapolis last year.

While the Gophers look to be near the top of the Big Ten again, they have a lineup that can be pitched around; the most dangerous hitter in the lineup, infielder Jordan Kozicky, had 11 home runs and 49 RBI last season but hit only .237 and struck out 62 times. Kozicky was the only player with more than 30 RBI and no qualified player hit over .300.

On the mound Minnesota will be led by ace Max Meyer. The now-junior led all Big Ten starters with a 2.11 ERA, had an 87-20 K/BB ratio and held opponents to a .202 batting average in 76 2/3 innings last season. Junior Joshua Culliver also figures to be a key part of the Minnesota pitching staff. Culliver led the team with 13 starts last season, and his ability to bring his ERA down from last season’s mark of 4.64 will be a key factor in Minnesota’s success.

After last year’s dramatic end to the season, the Terps know their series against the Golden Gophers could be the key to their postseason hopes and the deciding fate in their season. 

Preseason Countdown No. 5: Infield Preview


The Terrapins’ first line of defense will have some major changes this season, as head coach Rob Vaughn is tasked with filling holes left behind from the departure of shortstop A.J. Lee and third baseman Taylor Wright. Vaughn has been tweaking various formations all offseason in order to make the most seamless transition into 2020.

We’ve given you previews of potential starting pitchers and bullpen arms, next up is a preview of the infielders on the Terps’ roster.

Junior catcher Justin Vought Vought090518_01

In his first year as the team’s everyday catcher, Vought started 53 games behind the plate. He put up an average of .222 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI. The Pennsylvania native slashed two hits in the team’s first game of the Big Ten Tournament against Illinois, one of which flew over the outfield wall for a two-run homer.

The then-sophomore was named as a team captain prior to the 2019 season and will continue to provide the Terps with leadership this spring.

Redshirt-junior catcher Tavan Shahidi Shahidi090518_05

Shahidi transferred to Maryland following the 2018 season, where he played for Iowa Lakes Community College.

There, he finished with a line of .336/.445/.611 with 10 home runs and 11 doubles. The catcher redshirted last season due to an injury and the necessary surgery.

Freshman catcher James Heffley Heffley_2020

The Maryland native is part of a stacked freshman class entering College Park this season. As a senior at Albert Einstein High School, Heffley ended with an average over .500 and was named First Team All-Division for the third consecutive year. In his first appearance at Maryland, he put down a sacrifice squeeze bunt to bring in a run during the Fall World Series.

Redshirt-sophomore first baseman Michael Pineiro Piniero090518_03

Pineiro was coach Vaughn’s Swiss army knife in his first season playing for the Terrapins. In 44 appearances and 38 starts, the redshirt-sophomore stretched from left field to right field, designated hitter and first base. He finished with a .252 batting average, earning him a spot on the All-Big Ten Third Team.

Pineiro exploded over the summer, batting .333 in 36 games with the West Virginia Miners of the Prospect League.

Freshman first baseman Michael Bouma Bouma_2020

Bouma is one of Maryland’s highest prospects this season as he finished high school as the No. 1 first baseman in Maryland. He ended with a career average of .433 and 11 home runs at Sherwood High School.

During the Fall World Series, Bouma got a good workload with five at-bats, one of which he earned a single. He played both first and third base during Maryland’s fall scrimmage against Army.

Junior second baseman Tommy Gardiner Gardiner090518_03

Gardiner’s playing time took a hit in his sophomore campaign as he got into the starting lineup 20 times in 2019, with 11 fewer appearances than his freshman season, partially due to a shoulder injury that required surgery at the end of the season.

During his time on the field, the New Jersey native notched a six-game hitting streak and could see his time in the lineup spike with the loss of senior A.J. Lee after the 2019 season, leaving a middle infield spot wide open for the taking.

Sophomore second baseman Josh Maguire Maguire082818_03

Maguire broke into the lineup in the latter part of his freshman campaign, finishing the season with nine straight starts as a designated hitter. In 29 total appearances, Maguire had five doubles, two triples and three homers. After solidifying his role as an offensive threat to end his first season on Vaughn’s roster, the Delaware native could be a key component to the Terps’ roster this season.

Sophomore shortstop Ben Cowles Cowles090518_05

Perhaps one of the most important pieces to Maryland’s lineup this season will be second-year infielder Ben Cowles. A compliment to senior shortstop A.J. Lee last year as the team’s everyday second baseman, Cowles will now likely fill the hole that Lee left as the infield’s new leader. In 50 starts last year, Cowles found hit in five different parts of the lineup, earning 35 hits and 15 RBI in those appearances.

“He’s got a relentless work ethic,” outfielder Randy Bednar said at media day. “If there’s one guy who resembles Maryland baseball, it’s Ben Cowles.”

Junior shortstop Austin Chavis Chavis_2020

Chavis spent two years at Potomac State before transferring to Maryland this season. In his second year at the West Virginia JuCo, Chavis earned a batting average over .330 with 18 doubles, which ranks ninth in Potomac State history. Prior to college the infielder played at Calvert Hall, where he was named a preseason Under Armor All-American.

Sophomore third baseman Maxwell Costes Costes090518_03

The most talked-about returning Terp this season, Costes enters his sophomore campaign after a dominant freshman season, during which he was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week three times as well as the Big Ten Player of the Week once. Costes also earned a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

This season, Costes has already found his name on another ballot as he was named one of Collegiate Baseball’s Preseason third team Diamond Sports All-Americans. Maryland’s power-hitter led Big Ten freshman in home runs last season, after he knocked 15 balls out of the park. Costes also dominated in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, where he led the Amsterdam Mohawks to a league championship and was later awarded the PGCBL Player of the Year, along with a spot on the team’s All-Decade Team.

Junior infielder Brenton Davis Davis_2020

Davis joins Maryland as the team’s second transfer this offseason. Out of Southeast Community College in his home state of Nebraska, Davis earned an average of .353 in his first of two seasons with the team. During his time at Southeast, Davis split time between third base, shortstop and second base, making him a viable option all over the diamond for the Terrapins.

Freshman infielder Matt Orlando Orlando_2020

Orlando, the fifth-ranked player out of New Jersey, is another one of Vaughn’s keys to add more depth to a busy infield. The freshman was a three-time All-South Jersey honoree, along with First-Team All-State his sophomore year and Third-Team All-State in his final senior season.

His first contribution in a Maryland uniform came in the Fall World Series when he hit a base clearing three-run double.

Freshman infielder Aaron Perez Perez_2020

The Bronx, New York, native played finished his senior season at All Hallows with an average of .280. He came out of high school as the No. 3 ranked shortstop in New York and landed on the Perfect Game All-Tournament Team three times.



Preseason Countdown No. 6: Bullpen Preview


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. 7: Starting pitchers preview


Heading into the 2020 season, head coach Rob Vaughn will have plenty of options as he tries to mold his starting rotation, but it won’t be an easy decision. After losing ace Hunter Parsons to the 2019 MLB Draft, the pitching staff will attempt to find its next anchor with much of its bulk returning.

With names like Zach Thompson, Trevor LaBonte, Sean Fisher, Drew Wilden and Tyler Blohm headlining the returning starters, the staff will also include some new faces with freshmen Sean Burke, Nick Dean, Ryan Ramsey, and Sam Bello.

Here’s a look into how each starting pitcher is expected to be utilized in the 2020 season:

Senior LHP Tyler Blohm Blohm090518_01

Blohm has seen his number of starts dimish over his college career, morphing more into a bullpen arm and midweek although he remains in the mix for a rotation spot as he heads into his final year at Maryland.

He started six times last year, finishing with a 1-2 record and a 5.74 ERA over 15 2/3 innings pitched. While Blohm spent part of 2019 recovering from an injury, the hope is that he can return to what he was prior to last year.

Redshirt-Junior RHP Zach Thompson Thompson082818_02

Thompson spent all of his 2019 season in the weekend rotation, manning the No. 2 spot in the staff. He finished the year with a 5.08 ERA but had shown plenty of glimpses of why he may end up starting on weekends for another season.

In four straight starts in March, Thompson compiled a 2.59 ERA including one eight-inning start versus Eastern Carolina.

Junior LHP Sean Fisher Fisher090518_06

The returning junior pitched most of 2019 out of the bullpen, but heading into 2020 Vaughn is eyeing Fisher for a potential rotation spot.

Fisher spent his summer pitching in the Cape Cod Summer League for the Brewster Whitecaps, and he dominated with a 3-0 record while compiling a 2.84 ERA over 25 1/3 innings pitched.

Redshirt-Sophomore LHP Drew Wilden Wilden090518_01

Wilden had 11 appearances last season, including five starts, and put up a 5.82 ERA in 17 innings pitched.

Although his role could be more heavily-based in the bullpen this season, he could see some early midweek starts as Vaughn works to solidify his starting rotation.

Sophomore RHP Trevor LaBonte Labonte082818_02

LaBonte served as the backend of the Terps’ weekend rotation for the majority of last season, after an initial bullpen role.

Although he finished the season with a 5.98 ERA, he displayed bright spots, including an eight-strikeout, one-run performance versus a powerful Creighton offense, over the course of the season.

Redshirt-Freshman RHP Sean Burke Burke_2020

After being injured for all of 2019, the 6″6′ redshirt freshman will definitely be in the mix for the starting rotation, according to Vaughn.

Vaughn described Burke as having “electric stuff,” and it’s expected that the same pitcher who went 5-0 with a 0.44 ERA in his senior year of high school will be ready to provide a major impact to the Terps’ rotation.

Freshman RHP Nick Dean Dean_2020

Before missing time during his senior year at high school recovering from an injury, Dean had helped his high school win a district championship in his junior year with a 1.16 ERA with 60 strikeouts over 48 1/3 innings pitched.

Dean is “in the mix” for a starting spot this season, according to Vaughn, who has praised the freshman’s talented arm.

Freshman LHP Ryan Ramsey Ramsey_2020

The lefty freshman was named 2019 New Jersey Pitcher of the Year and was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 36th round of the MLB Draft, but opted to instead play at Maryland.

Bello led his high-school team with a 19-2 record and a 255/30 strikeout-to-walk ratio; he was named All-state twice during his junior and senior years. Ramsey is also ranked fourth among all New Jersey left-handed pitching prospects, according to Perfect Game.

Freshman RHP Sam Bello Bello_2020

Vaughn described Bello as a tough kid, “cut from the same cloth as [Sean Fisher],” during his media presser on February 29. Bello definitely earned that description after picking up several accolades during his high school career, including 2019 Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) Player of the Year.

According to Perfect Game, Bello is the fourth-best right-handed pitcher out of New York and the tenth-best overall in the state.