Weekend Series Preview: Iowa (21-8)

by John Vittas

The Terps continue the meaty stretch of their schedule this weekend as they welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes to town. Iowa is ranked in four of the five major polls and provides another difficult test. They are an experienced team on-the-rise that has yet to lose a Big Ten game. Their 6-0 start is the best in school history.

Iowa logoThe Hawkeyes are very similar to last week’s opponent, Nebraska, but a little more balanced. They rank sixth in hitting (.276), fourth in pitching (2.80) and second in defense (.980). Their bullpen isn’t as dominant as the Huskers’, but Iowa’s starting pitching is just as impressive.

Hawkeyes starters are 11-3 with a 2.39 ERA this season. In their six Big Ten wins, their weekend starters have only allowed 10 runs over 42 innings (2.14 ERA). They’ve played their best baseball on the weekends and haven’t lost a series all season.

Their contests have been won and lost in the early stages of the game. Iowa is 18-1 when leading after six innings, and 0-6 when trailing after eight. They’ve jumped on teams early, outscoring their opponents 25-7 in the first inning.

Iowa has thrived on the road this year, having played 22 of their first 29 games away from Iowa City. That success is due in large part to their experienced roster. Four of their starting position players have over 100 career starts, including catalyst Eric Toole.

Toole has started 161 games for the Hawkeyes and has started every game in the leadoff spot and centerfield this season. As you might expect, Toole leads the conference in stolen bases and is top-7 in hits, average and on-base-percentage. He’s batting .458 in Big Ten play and carries a 28-game streak of reaching base into this weekend’s series.

Joel Booker has started every game in right field this season and Jake Mangler has done the same at second base. Mangler is batting .340 with runners in scoring position, and Booker is hitting .317 in such situations.

STARTING PITCHING MATCHUPS

FRI AT 6 PM

702981 Shawaryn HS vs.  Peyton Iowa logo

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (7-0, 2.00) vs. Jr. RHP Tyler Peyton (4-2, 2.17)

There’s not much more you can say about Shawaryn. He’s a winner. Sunday marked the halfway point of the 2015 season, and the righty from New Jersey is two wins away from the school record…as a sophomore. If he gets the win Friday, he’ll move past Charles Devereux into second place all-time, and one away from Devereux’s teammate, John Rayne, who holds the school record. Shawaryn continues to lead the Big Ten in strikeouts and wins.

Tyler Peyton is an excellent two-way player, and has raised his pitching numbers considerably this year. He ranks sixth in the league in strikeouts (42), 11th in ERA (2.17) and 12th in innings pitched (45.2). Peyton tossed 14 straight scoreless innings to start his Big Ten season, which included a complete game shutout against a ranked Indiana team two weeks ago. He followed it up with eight innings of one-run ball against Purdue last weekend. He also went 4-for-9 as a hitter in those two games.

SAT AT 2 PM

702981 Stiles HS vs. Hickman Iowa logo

So. LHP Tayler Stiles (3-2, 3.27) vs. Jr. RHP Blake Hickman (4-1, 3.13)

Stiles returned to the weekend rotation last Saturday and was outstanding. He struck out eight over seven innings and allowed only one run on six hits in a win against Nebraska. Head Coach John Szefc said the improvement of Stiles’ changeup has neutralized right handed bats and made him a much more effective pitcher.

Blake Hickman was drafted by the Cubs out of high school and had been a two-way player for Iowa until this year. The transition to the mound exclusively has gone well, as the Chicago native has completed six innings in five of his last six starts. Hickman is holding opponents to a .212 average, a mark that is good for seventh in the Big Ten.

SUN AT NOON

702981 WZALTZFPGBOMAJU.20131002150521 vs. Mathews Iowa logo

Jr. RHP Kevin Mooney (0-0, 1.64) vs. Jr. RHP Calvin Mathews (3-0, 1.25)

Mooney will be making his third start of the season and his second as the Sunday starter. The long-time closer had his worst outing of the season against Nebraska last week. He only lasted three innings while allowing four walks and five runs (2 earned). His fastball command was not where it normally is, and he’ll look to correct things against the Hawkeyes.

Calvin Mathews has not pitched as deep as the other two Iowa starters, but he has been the most effective. His 1.25 ERA ranks third in the conference, and his .227 opponents’ average is top ten. A former Friday night starter, Mathews has only given up four earned runs in seven starts and hasn’t allowed more than five hits in any game this season. The bad news for the junior is that he has yet to pitch past the sixth inning as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury.

Weekend Series Preview: No. 18 Nebraska (23-7)

Nebraska is the best team Maryland has seen this season (barring one game with UCF) and will provide the first and maybe the toughest test of 2015. This weekend’s series pits the Big Ten’s top offense (Maryland) against the conferences best pitching staff (Nebraska) – something has to give.

Nebraska logo

Nebraska is as hot as it gets – winners of 15 of their last 16 games – including a three-game sweep of a ranked Texas team last weekend.

Their pitching staff is lights out. Nebraska’s weekend starters have a combined ERA hovering around 2.60 and their bullpen is even better. Maryland will not survive if they fall behind this weekend. With rain expected in an already-pitching-friendly College Park, the Terps will have to grind out wins in competitive, low-scoring games.

Nebraska reached the NCAA Tournament as the lone at-large Big Ten team last year. They finished third in their Regional, defeating Binghamton and falling to Cal State Fullerton twice. The Huskers posted a final record of 41-21, reaching their first NCAA Tournament since 2008.

Historically, Nebraska is a been a hotbed for pro talent. Seven Cornhuskers are expected to break Spring Training as Major Leaguers and several more populate the Minor Leagues.

ErstadHead Coach Darin Erstad enters his fourth season in Lincoln. Known for his offensive prowess as a part of the 2002 World Series Champion Anaheim Angels, Erstad has built a national power at Nebraska. An alum of the school, Erstad was a former No. 1 overall pick and a two-time MLB All Star.

Nebraska features a left-handed heavy lineup, led by sophomore centerfielder Ryan Boldt. Boldt leads the team with a .339 average and five stolen bases. The Huskers have four other starters batting above .300. However, they are starved for power, only hitting six home runs as a team all year.

They’ll beat you with pitching defense – the Huskers rank first in the Big Ten in both ERA (2.30) and fielding percentage (.983).

Maryland Notes: The Terps are undefeated at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium this season (7-0) – Kevin Mooney is the seventh Terps pitcher to start a game in 2015 – Mike Shawaryn is now 17-4 to begin his college career – that 17-win plateau puts him in a tie for third place in school history and three wins off the school’s all-time mark

Pitching Matchups

SATURDAY AT NOON

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (6-0, 2.11) vs. Sr. RHP Chance Sinclair (4-3, 3.45)

702981 Shawaryn HS vs. Sinclair Nebraska logo

Shawaryn continues to dominate. Fresh off 7.1 innings of one-run ball against Michigan, the New Jersey righty continues to lead the Big Ten in strikeouts and wins. With the rest of the rotation in constant flux, Maryland needs Game 1 on Saturday with Shawaryn on the mound.

While Shawaryn hasn’t lost in 2015, Nebraska ace Chance Sinclair hasn’t lost a Big Ten game in his career – he’s 7-0 in his 9 career Big Ten starts. Sinclair was First Team All-Big Ten and Third Team All-American last year after going 9-1 with a 2.15 ERA over 100 innings. He was the first Cornhusker since 2008 to eclipse triple digits in innings. He’s a former JUCO transfer and does not strike out many, but pitches deep into games and eats innings.

SATURDAY AT 3:30PM

So. LHP Tayler Stiles (2-2, 3.81) vs. Sr. LHP Kyle Kubat (4-0, 1.33)

702981 Stiles HS vs. Kubat Nebraska logo

Stiles returns to the weekend rotation after an incredible run in the Terps’ bullpen. He is coming off of a seven-inning outing against Michigan where he held the Wolverines to two hits. Stiles also showed the ability to get out of key jams and had become one of the most important arms in the Maryland bullpen. After a tough start to the season in the weekend rotation, Stiles and the Terps are hoping he straightened things out in the bullpen and that Take 2 in the rotation goes better.

Kubat has been the best pitcher for Nebraska this season. The Waterloo, Neb. native is looking for career win No. 20 Saturday, and is coming off consecutive nine-strikeout outings (career highs). A former Freshman All-American, Kubat ranks top 10 in the Big Ten in ERA (1.88), wins (4) and opponents’ batting average (.211), and is tied for second with 47.1 innings pitched. He’s also gained a reputation as a big-game pitcher, which Saturday certainly qualifies as. Kubat has brought home multiple postseason accolades.

SUNDAY AT NOON

Jr. RHP Kevin Mooney (8 IP, 0.00) vs. So. RHP Derek Burkamper (4-1, 2.87)

702981 WZALTZFPGBOMAJU.20131002150521 vs. Burkamper Nebraska logo

Mooney, Maryland’s all-time saves leader, left his heralded spot as the team’s closer on Wednesday. The right-hander threw 39 pitches in two scoreless innings of work to help beat JMU. Mooney has yet to allow a run in eight innings of work in 2015 and has the stuff to beat anyone – which is why the Terps’ coaching staff is turning to him to serve as the band-aid to a battered weekend rotation.

Burkamper was drafted by the Red Sox out of high school and is in his first year in the weekend rotation. The 6-foot-2 inch righty from Iowa is coming off an excellent outing against Texas. He reached the ninth inning, allowing only two runs and five hits. He did not walk a batter as Nebraska won 6-2. It was the longest outing of Burkamper’s career.

Series Preview: Michigan (12-11)

The Wolverines open up their home Big Ten schedule with an unfamiliar opponent, as they host the Terps in the first game between the two schools since 1957. What will be familiar for Maryland however, will be the head coach on the stoop of the opposing dugout, Erik Bakich, who was at the helm in College Park from 2010-2012.

 

Erik Bakich helped turn around the Maryland program and paved the way for John Szefc to take the Terps to their first super-regional last season

Michigan is coming off an 8-3 mid-week victory over Bowling Green, but were swept by Nebraska on the road last weekend to open Big Ten play. The Terps are coming off a mid-week defeat to James Madison 8-6, as the Terps were unable to dig themselves out of an 8-0 hole, despite a worthy comeback effort. The loss snapped Maryland’s ten game winning streak.

 Probable Starters:

Saturday at 12pm

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (5-0, 2.27) vs. So. LHP Brett Adcock (2-3, 5 . 4 0)

702981 Shawaryn HS vs. brett adcook team-logo-mich

Shawaryn hardly broke stride entering conference play. He tossed eight innings against Minnesota allowing just one unearned run and striking out 6 to extend his conference leading win total to five. Shawaryn also leads the conference with 47 strikeouts, ten better than the second place mark. Not only is Shawaryn keeping teams off the scoreboard, he’s keeping them off the basepaths as well, boasting a .191 opponent average, and giving up just six walks in 39 2/3 innings pitched.

 Adcock has been inconsistent this season. He was named Big Ten pitcher of the week March 2, after striking out 11 over seven shutout innings in two-hit win over Siena. His following start against Coastal Carrolina he struck out seven in 5 2/3 and did not give up an earned run. However, in the conference opener against Nebraska, Adcock struggled. He gave up six runs, five earned, on five hits, and was pulled in the second inning. Adcock relies on deception from the left side, and leads the conference with 14 batters called out on strikes.

Saturday at 3:30pm

Fr. LHP Willie Rios (1-0, 6.28) vs. Fr. RHP Ryan Nutof (1-2, 3 . 5 8)

702981Rios vs. ryan nutof team-logo-mich

Rios is coming off a tough outing against Minnesota, in which he allowed seven hits and seven earned runs over just two innings pitched. The freshman has been hurt this season by leaving too many pitches over the plate, as he has conceded 18 hits through 14 1/3 innings pitched. His lone victory came against Princeton two weeks ago, when he went six scoreless innings, striking out five.

As a freshman, Nutof has been a workhorse for the Wolverines. He has pitched a team high 32 2/3 innings, striking out 26, but a lack of run support has kept his win total lower than his numbers would dictate. In his last start against Nebraska he struck out seven, but allowed five earned runs, in 5.2 innings pitched.

Sunday at 12pm

Sr. RHP Bobby Ruse (4-0, 4.09) vs. Fr. RHP  Jayce Vancena (0-1,  3 . 4 4)

 

702981Ruse HSvs.jayce vancena team-logo-mich   

Since making the move to the starting rotation Ruse has earned a win and a no decision, with the Terps winning both games he started. He didn’t go as deep as he would have liked in his start last week against Minnesota, giving up three in four innings of work. However Ruse continues to do what the coaching staff has asked of him; give his team a chance to win regardless of when he comes in the game. Ruse is currently tied for second in the conference with four victories.

Vancena has been a solid arm in the Sunday slot for the Wolverines. In his first career start against Davidson, he allowed just one earned run over 5.1 innings pitched. The 6-5 freshman, received a no decision in the series finale against Nebraska, giving up one earned run in 4 2/3 innings, striking out four.

Wolverines to Watch:

Jacbob Cronenworth, Junior, first basemen/ relief pitcher 

Batting leadoff, he’s the fist guy you see in the batters box, and his duel role as a closer makes him the final guy you might see on the mound. Cronenworth has a .312 average with 29 hits on the season and has scored 25 runs, good for second in the conference. He is also tied with Brandon Lowe for walks, with 16, good for second in the Big Ten. On the mound he posts a 2.79 ERA in six appearances and has earned three saves on the season. He has struck out 11 in 9 2/3 innings of work.

Jackson Glines, Senior, center fielder

Glines was named Big Ten player of the week March 2, after batting .611 in the weekend prior. On the season he leads Michigan in mnay offensive categories with a slash line of  .453/.533/.549 and has 40 total bases batting in the two hole. His average and on base percentage both lead the Big Ten, and he is second in hits to Brandon Lowe with 34. He has also yet to make an error, patrolling center field.

Cody Bruder, junior, left fielder

Bruder is batting .330 on the year with 6 doubles and 21 driven in. His RBI mark is tied with Nick Cieri for fifth in the conference. He transferred from Orange Coast College, where he was named an Empire Conference first team selection as a sophomore last season.

Weekend Series Preview: Minnesota (7-10)

The Terps take a seven game winning streak into Big Ten play Saturday after 61 years in the ACC. They’ll begin their history in the Big Ten against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Gophers

Minnesota (7-10) has yet to play a home game. They’re coming off a split of a two-game set with Richmond, a team who Maryland beat 8-3. The Golden Gophers allowed 25 runs in the two games against the Spiders.

Maryland’s offense is operating at an all-time high. The Terps have averaged 10.6 runs per game over their current winning streak. For more stats and figures on the 2015 Terps, check out the game notes.

Pitching Matchups

SATURDAY AT 1 PM

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (4-0, 2.84) vs. Sr. RHP Ben Meyer (0-2, 4.56)

702981 Shawaryn HS vs. Meyer Gophers

The first battle of Big Ten aces in 2015 will be a good one.

Shawaryn is the reigning Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after an 11 strikeout performance that saw the Terps’ righty shutout the Princeton Tigers over seven innings of work. He leads the Big Ten in strikeouts by a wide margin and is holding opponents to a .189 batting average.

Meyer was one of the best pitchers in the conference in 2014, finishing sixth in ERA (2.39), fifth in strikeouts (67) and fourth in innings pitched (98). He’s as seasoned as they come and should be one of the best starting pitchers the Terps have seen this season.

SATURDAY AT 4:30 PM

Fr. LHP Willie Rios (1-0, 2.19) vs. Jr. LHP Dalton Sawyer (3-2, 3.54)

702981 Rios vs. Sawyer Gophers

Rios was terrific in his last start against Princeton, allowing only four hits over six innings while shutting out the Tigers. He could’ve pitched deeper but was pulled after 72 pitches. The freshman showed he can be economical by keeping the ball down in the zone and forcing batters to pound pitches into the slow Shipley Field turf.

Sawyer is transitioning into the starting rotation this year after posting a 2.62 ERA as the team’s closer last year. He is considered a major prospect and is pitching well at the moment. Scouts will certainly be paying close attention to the Rios-Sawyer Saturday matchup.

SUNDAY AT NOON

Sr. RHP Bobby Ruse (4-0, 3.50) vs. So. RHP Tim Shannon (1-1, 3.86)

702981 Ruse HS vs. Shannon Gophers

Ruse makes his second start of the season after leaving the bullpen last weekend. Bobby struck out eight Princeton hitters in five innings on Monday as he looks to pin down the Sunday starter role with another strong outing.

Shannon is in his first year with the program after transferring in. His control has been excellent, having walked only two batters over his first 21 innings. He’ll be the third Minnesota starting pitcher to toe the rubber at at least 6-foot-5 this weekend.

Scouting the Gophers

This is the first ever meeting between Maryland and Minnesota.

John AndersonThe Gophers have been a long-time powerhouse in the Big Ten. Head coach John Anderson is in his 34th season in Minneapolis and has taken Minnesota to 17 NCAA Tournaments. He’s had 32 winning seasons and has captured 16 Big Ten titles and six Coach of the Year awards. Anderson has more wins than any other Big Ten coach (1,151) and has produced 90 pro draft picks, including 18 Major Leaguers.

Strengths: experience, rotation

Offensively, Minnesota returned five of their top eight hitters from last season, including their top four bats. Connor Shaefbauer led the team in hitting last year and returns for his third year at second base.

Matt Fiedler has had a breakout sophomore campaign, ranking second in the conference in hitting with an average of .422. He’s slugging at .609 and has been dominant on the mound, allowing only one hit through six innings this season.

Dan Motl, Tony Skjefte, Jordan Smith and Michael Handel all started last year as well and will be in the lineup this weekend against the Terps.

The rotation for the Gophers is as steady as there is. The ace, Ben Meyer has had an ERA in the twos throughout his career. Dalton Sawyer has only allowed 19 hits in 28 innings this seasons and Tim Shannon has only walked two batters through 21 innings and has a sub-4 ERA. They are all capable of pitching deep into games, and will likely need to.

Weaknesses: offensive firepower, bullpen

Despite an experienced and united lineup, the Gophers have not been hitting this year. Their team slash line of .242 / .313 / .344 is well off the Terps pace of .305 / .411 / .467. Fiedler is the only Gopher batting above .258.

In the bullpen, Minnesota has five relievers with double-digit ERAs. Excluding their weekend rotation, 10 of their remaining 13 arms have ERAs north of six. The Terps will look to rally late in games again this weekend.

Series Preview: Elon (8-9)

Fresh off a sweep against Princeton, No. 14 Maryland (12-4) heads to Elon to take on the newest member of the CAA for a two-game midweek set. The Terps will look to build on their five game winning streak before heading home to open Big Ten play on Friday.

CLICK HERE TO READ OFFICIAL GAME NOTES

Pitching Matchups

TUESDAY AT 4 PM

702981 Shaffer vs. Bakker Elon

Fr. RHP Brian Shaffer (1-0, 7.20) vs. Sr. RHP Lucas Bakker (2-3, 9.00)

Shaffer is making his first appearance in 9 days, when he was roughed up by UNC Wilmington. The freshman lasted just three innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits to the hard-hitting team. A move to the midweek could get the Shaffer back on track, but Elon will be a test.

Bakker has been an outstanding college pitcher throughout his career, but has hit a major road block in 2015. After leading the team in wins, innings and strikeouts last year, the Australian has been knocked around to the tune of a .347 opponents batting average in 2015.

WEDNESDAY AT 4 PM

702981 Drossner HS vs. Elon

Jr. LHP Jake Drossner (0-0, 4.50) vs. TBD

The Terps have won both of Drossner’s starts, but Pennsylvania lefty has been unable to get through the fourth inning in either of them. Maryland will need him to pitch deeper against an Elon lineup that poses matchup problems from top to bottom.

Scouting the Phoenix

The good part: Elon is batting .311 this year, with six of their starters batting over .340.

The bad part: Their pitching staff is giving up 11 runs per game.

Expect a lot of runs the next two days, as the Phoenix allowed 41 runs to East Carolina over the weekend. So far this year, they’ve given up 11 runs or more in eight different games. Factor in that the Terps scored 33 runs in three games against Princeton this weekend, and Maryland’s lineup should be eager to get back on the field Tuesday.

Offensively, Elon is led by senior Casey Jones, who batted .418 last year to win the SoCon batting title and finish fourth in the country in hitting. He was top six nationally in AVG, OBP and SLG and won the Southern Conference Player of the Year Award. He’s off to a .348 start this season and has much more help, as four other Elon hitters have a higher average so far.

Chris King and Nick Zammarelli are the main power threats for Elon. Zammarelli already has four home runs and 26 RBIs, while King is at three and 24 respectively. Joey Tomko (.410), Ryan Cooper (.375), Quinn Bower (.361) and Austin Leeney (.353) are all off to great starts to help fuel the high-octane Phoenix offense.

Historically, Elon has been a mid-major powerhouse, having posted 17 winning seasons in head coach Mike Kennedy’s 18 years. They’ve recorded 51 wins over ACC teams during that span and captured six Southern Conference titles. The most recent one came in 2013, when they finished as runner ups in the Charlottesville Regional.

Weekend Series Preview: Princeton

The Princeton Tigers (1-6) visit College Park this weekend for a three-game series which will include a Saturday trip to Harford CC due to impending rain.

The Tigers won 14 games each of the past two seasons, meaning anything less than a sweep will be a disappointment for the 16th-ranked Terrapins (9-4).

Princeton old school

They’re led by junior infielder Danny Hoy, who hit three home runs in one day against UNC Greensboro last weekend. Hoy is off to a .357 start with a team-high 11 RBIs. He batted .285 with good power last year.

Peter Owens leads the team in hitting with a .478 average through seven games and key returner Billy Arendt is batting .370 with six RBI. Sophomore Zack Belski is the other name to remember. He’s slugging at a .462 clip to begin the year after posting a .280 season as a true freshman season last year.

Head coach Scott Bradley is in his 18th season at Princeton and has taken the Tigers to six NCAA tournaments. He is the younger brother of former USA National Soccer team head coach Bob Bradley. Scott played nine seasons in Major League Baseball, and served as an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners for much of the late 1980s.

MBN will broadcast each of the three games this weekend, with Terps Pre-Game Live beginning at 2:30pm on Friday here.

Pitching Matchups

FRIDAY AT 3 PM

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (3-0, 3.65) vs. So. RHP Chad Powers (0-2, 4.00)

702981 Shawaryn HS vs. Powers Princeton logo

Shawaryn is coming off his worst start of the season. He allowed six earned runs and seven hits over 4.1 innings against the Seahawks, teeing up three home runs in the process. His peripheral numbers are still outstanding. He’s struck out 30 batters in 24.2 innings and is only allowing opponents to hit at a .176 clip against him.

Chad Powers, the ace of this staff, has had two vastly different outings this season. In his first start of the year against LSU, Powers was very good, only allowing two hits in five strong innings. Unfortunately, his team made errors behind him so he allowed three runs, only one earned, and was handed the loss. In his second outing, Powers ran into trouble, giving up seven runs in four innings of work.

SATURDAY AT 7 PM at BEL AIR

Fr. LHP Willie Rios (0-0, 4.26) vs. So. LHP Keelan Smithers (1-1, 7.71)

702981 Rios vs. Smithers Princeton logo

Rios looked impressive in his first college start against UNC Wilmington, but his defense betrayed him as the Terps committed six errors in an 11-9 loss. The Connecticut native is looking for things to settle down as he gets the start in Bel Air under the lights.

Keelan Smithers has the singular win for this Princeton ball club. However, it was not a product of his pitching. He has lasted only three and four innings in his initial two outings, and has given up five runs in both. He pitches to contact, and has only struck out three of the 41 batters he has faced.

SUNDAY AT 2 PM

Sr. RHP Bobby Ruse (3-0-, 4.15) vs. TBD

702981 Ruse HS vs. Princeton logo

Ruse comes out of the bullpen to make his first start of 2015. He’s vulchered three wins out of the bullpen so far, striking out 14 batters in 13 innings. Ruse started four games last year and is accustomed to transitioning in and out of the bullpen. With the weekend rotation coming off a difficult series against UNC Wilmington, Ruse is looked to to be a steadying senior presence against Princeton.

Series Preview: UNC Wilmington (7-3)

The Terps (7-2) have headed south for the fourth straight weekend and will play their first true road series of the season.

They’ll take on the UNC Wilmington Seahawks (7-3), who have been the class of the Colonial Athletic Conference since its inception 30 years ago. The Seahawks are looking for their 17th consecutive winning season and third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years.

UNC W beat NC Central 9-3 on Wednesday after getting swept by Florida State last weekend. However, the Seahawks hung with the Seminoles, losing the three games by a total of four runs.

UNC Wilmington field

Strengths

1. Experience – Wilmington is led by seniors Corey Dick and Luke Dunlap, both of whom have racked up several All-Conference and Freshman All American accolades. Four other starters are entering their third year of college baseball, two of which started last year. All in all, four of this year’s Seahawks starters were in the lineup during their NCAA Regional run in 2013.

2. The Bullpen – Austin Magestro, William Shepley and Jordan Ramsey have been lights out through the first 10 games, allowing only 3 ER over 25.2 IP (1.05 ERA). Considering that none of their weekend starters pitched past the fifth inning last weekend, we could see a lot of Magestro, Shepley and Ramsey this weekend.

3. Coaching – Mark Scalf has built a dynasty on the North Carolina coast. He’s won 11 CAA titles (8 regular season, 3 tournaments), 758 games and produced 58 pro players. He’s looking for his seventh NCAA Tournament berth in 24 seasons at the helm in Wilmington.

Weaknesses

1. Throwing Strikes – The Seahawks’ pitching staff walked 27 batters in 24 innings against Florida State last weekend and is averaging 7.8 BB/9 on the year. This plays right into Maryland’s hands, as their patient approach should serve them well this weekend. Brandon Lowe and LaMonte Wade will likely be on base a ton, and it’ll be up to the middle of the order to come up with timely hits.

2. Reliable Starting Pitching – Nick Monroe leads Wilmington with 14 innings pitched over three starts, meaning all of their starting pitchers are averaging less than 5 IP per start. If the Terps can prolong that trend, they should be able to get deep into the UNCW bullpen.

SATURDAY AT NOON

So. RHP Mike Shawaryn (3-0, 1.80) vs. Jr. RHP Nick Monroe (1-0, 3.86) 

702981 Shawaryn HS vs. Monroe UNCW UNC W

Shawaryn has been downright dominant over his last two starts. The line: 14 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 18 K. The Seahawks’ lineup should provide a much-needed challenge for the sophomore hurler. Shawaryn has already amassed 14 wins in his Terrapins career, and seems to thrive early in the season.

Monroe was a two-way player last year, but has settled in to the Saturday starter role in 2015. His overall numbers are respectable, but walks are an issue for him, having walked 13 hitters in 14 innings.

SATURDAY AT 4 PM

Fr. LHP Willie Rios (2 IP, 0.00) vs. Jr. RHP Ryan Foster (1-0, 3.75)

702981 Rios vs.  Foster UNC W UNC W

Rios will make his first collegiate start after being used sparingly out of the bullpen. He answered the call in each of his first two outings, tossing a scoreless inning in each. Rios hit 94 mph on the gun against Appalachian State last Saturday and is one of the more highly rated recruits to ever attend Maryland. It will be interesting to see how deep he’s allowed to go on Saturday and whether his velocity holds over several innings.

Foster finished top 10 in the conference in ERA last year (3.47), providing support behind ace Mat Batts. He’s kept his opponents in check again in 2015, but is allowing them to hit at a .302 clip against him.

SUNDAY AT 1 PM

Fr. RHP Brian Shaffer (1-0, 6.00) vs. Jr. RHP Evan Phillips (1-0, 7.88)

702981 Shaffer vs. Phillips UNCW UNC W

Shaffer had a nice bounceback outing last weekend against Appalchian State, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings of work. He picked up the win and has only walked one batter over his first 12 innings of work.

On the other hand, Evan Phillips has issued nine free passes in eight innings through his first three starts. He’s been hittable too, and is looking to get his college career on track after being drafted by the Royals out of high school.