Six Terrapins earn Big Ten yearly awards

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After powering Maryland’s cleanup spot with 12 homers in the regular season, infielder Maxwell Costes was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year on Tuesday — one of six Terps to earn a yearly award from the conference.

Costes, also named to the All-Big Ten first team as a first baseman, is joined by All-Big Ten second team outfielder Randy Bednar, and All-Big Ten third team recipients in starting pitcher Hunter Parsons, third baseman Taylor Wright, shortstop AJ Lee and designated hitter Michael Pineiro.

Costes and Pineiro were also named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team.

Costes’ first year in College Park rivaled that of his older brother Marty, who the Houston Astros selected last year in the MLB Draft. Costes has been one of the most consistent hitters in the Terps lineup this season, blasting a team-high 12 home runs, a mark that also ranks fifth in the Big Ten.

The Baltimore native started in all 55 regular season games, picking up at least one hit in 37 of them. He collected four hits in the final weekend of the regular season against Iowa, which helped propel Maryland to a sweep and a Big Ten tournament berth.

Costes’ 44 runs batted in and .500 slugging percentage ranked in the top 10 in the conference, while his 19 hit by pitches led all Big Ten hitters. He becomes the second Terrapin to win Big Ten Freshman of the Year in the last three seasons, joining starting pitcher Tyler Blohm.

Senior ace Hunter Parsons has continued the recent trend of dominant Friday night starters for Maryland, going 9-3 with a 3.62 ERA. The Terps won in 10 of his 14 starts and only lost one time with Parsons on the mound during conference play.

The right-hander led the conference with 97 innings pitched, one of the more difficult pitchers to take out of a game. At 120 pitches in his final regular season start, Parsons stayed in the game against Iowa after a mound visit and struck out the final batter of the eighth inning on just three pitches.

Parsons’ best start of his senior season was against Indiana — the Big Ten regular season champions — when he shut out the Hoosiers on two hits over eight innings.

Bednar improved mightily in only his sophomore season, finishing the regular season with a .300 batting average and a team-high 52 RBIs, 47 runs, 69 hits, 29 walks, and a .543 slugging percentage.

The outfielder ranked in the top 10 in slugging, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, and runs batted in. His 19 doubles trailed only Wright, his teammate, for the conference lead. Bednar was one of three Terps to start in all 55 regular season games.

Wright, who transferred into the program last season, led the Big Ten with 20 doubles. In just two seasons, the Canadian already ranks fourth all-time in Maryland history for doubles. The infielder’s 12 steals and 29 walks were tied for the team lead.

Lee, a senior captain, was a key component of Maryland’s push into the postseason in 2019. He missed several games early in the season with an injury but was dominant after returning, and finished the regular season with a team-high .301 batting average.

The shortstop hit .588 in the final week of the season, earning Big Ten Player of the Week honors. Lee had arguably the biggest hit of the Maryland season so far, demolishing a walk-off homer in the series opener against Iowa. He hit three of his six home runs this year in the final four games of the regular season.

Pineiro, who didn’t play at all during his true freshman season in 2018, contributed in a much larger role this year. The outfielder played in 41 games, hitting .250 with three home runs and 23 runs batted in.

No. 6-seeded Maryland begins postseason play Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET against No. 3 Illinois in the Big Ten tournament.

Maryland’s Big Ten tournament scenario cheat sheet

With three games left to play in the regular season, Maryland sits in 10th place in the Big Ten Conference standings, just a half-game back of eighth-place Rutgers for the final conference tournament spot.

The Terps are now 9-12 in conference play, after losing two of three to Minnesota over the weekend. Maryland no longer controls its own destiny to clinch a Big Ten tournament appearance for the first time since 2017, but still has plenty of ways to get into the field of eight in Omaha next week.

Here’s a look at the current Big Ten Standings:

  1. Michigan 15-5*
  2. Indiana 14-7*
  3. Illinois 13-8*
  4. Nebraska 13-8*
  5. Minnesota 13-8*
  6. Iowa 12-9
  7. Northwestern 10-11
  8. Rutgers 9-11
  9. Ohio State 9-12
  10. Maryland 9-12
  11. Purdue 7-13
  12. Michigan State 7-13
  13. Penn State 4-18

* Clinched spot in Big Ten tournament 

Rob Vaughn’s team finishes the season with a three-game series at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium against the Iowa Hawkeyes (30-19, 12-19 Big Ten), a team that is not only playing for a Big Ten tournament spot, but an NCAA tournament bid as well.

With seven teams, including Maryland, chasing down the remaining three spots in Omaha, here’s a look at every scenario that gets the Terps back to the postseason.

Other series around the Big Ten:

Minnesota @ Northwestern, Illinois @ Michigan State, Ohio State @ Purdue, Rutgers @ Indiana, Michigan @ Nebraska

If the Terps go…

3-0 against the Hawkeyes

A sweep against Iowa would almost certainly put the Terps into the Big Ten tournament. At 12-12 in conference play, Maryland would only need these results to clinch a spot.

  1. Scenario 1: Maryland finishes in 6th place
    • Minnesota wins at least one game against Northwestern
    • Indiana wins at least one game against Rutgers
    • Purdue wins at least one game against Ohio State
  2. Scenario 2: Maryland finishes in 7th place
    • Northwestern sweeps Minnesota
    • Indiana wins at least one game against Rutgers
    • Purdue wins at least one game against Ohio State
  3. Scenario 3: Maryland finishes in 8th place
    • Northwestern sweeps Minnesota
    • Rutgers sweeps Indiana
    • Purdue wins at least one game against Ohio State

2-1 against the Hawkeyes

While the Terps would need some more help in this case, a series win would put Maryland in pretty good position. At 11-13 in conference play, the Terps would need these results to clinch a spot.

  1. Scenario 1: Maryland finishes in 7th place
    • Minnesota wins at least two games against Northwestern
    • Indiana wins at least two games against Rutgers
    • Purdue wins at least two games against Ohio State
  2. Scenario 2: Maryland finishes in 7th place
    • Minnesota wins two games against Northwestern
    • Indiana wins at least two games against Rutgers
    • Ohio State wins two games against Purdue
  3. Scenario 3: Maryland finishes in 8th place
    • Northwestern wins at least two games against Minnesota
    • Indiana wins at least two games against Rutgers
    • Purdue wins at least two games against Ohio State
  4. Scenario 4: Maryland finishes in 8th place
    • Minnesota wins at least two games against Northwestern
    • Rutgers wins at least two games against Indiana
    • Purdue wins at least two games against Ohio State
  5. Scenario 5: Maryland finishes in 8th place
    • Minnesota wins two games against Northwestern
    • Rutgers wins at least two games against Indiana
    • Ohio State wins two games against Purdue

1-2 against the Hawkeyes

Just one win this weekend would put Maryland in a tough position. At 10-14 in conference play, the Terps would need a lot of things to go their way.

  1. Scenario 1: Maryland finishes in 7th place
    • Minnesota sweeps Northwestern
    • Indiana sweeps Rutgers
    • Ohio State wins one of three against Purdue
    • Illinois wins at least one game against Michigan State
  2. Scenario 2: Maryland finishes in 8th place
    • Minnesota sweeps Northwestern
    • Indiana sweeps Rutgers
    • Ohio State wins one of three against Purdue
    • Michigan State sweeps Illinois
  3. Scenario 3: Maryland finishes in 8th place
    • Minnesota sweeps Northwestern
    • Indiana sweeps Rutgers
    • Ohio State wins zero, two, or three games against Purdue
    • Illinois wins at least one game against Michigan State

0-3 against the Hawkeyes

If the Terps are swept this weekend by Iowa, they will fall to 9-15 in conference and will be eliminated from contention. Maryland can not make the Big Ten tournament if the team loses its final three games.

Pro Terps Update: 4/16/19

Three former Terps started the 2019 season in the majors, and it’s likely more will reach the big leagues for the first time in their careers by the end of the year.

Here’s a look at those pro Terps whose seasons have already started:

LHP Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)

While Cecil spent part of 2018 as the only Terp in the pros, both Adam Kolarek and Brandon Lowe joined him as major-leaguers by the end of the season. Cecil is still struggling with an injury, however, and is currently on the 60-day injured list.

LHP Adam Kolarek, Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

After making his major-league debut in 2017, Kolarek put up stints in the majors in 2017 and 2018, before making the opening day roster for Tampa Bay this season. The lefty started last season in Durham with the Bulls, but got the call up to Tampa after only 31 appearances in the Rays’ AAA-affiliate, during which he boasted a 1.61 ERA.

Kolarek has made nine appearances in 2019 after throwing 34.1 innings for Tampa in 2018. This season, Kolarek holds a 0.00 ERA in 5.2 innings pitched, which include four strikeouts.

2B/OF Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

Since his major-league debut last August, Lowe proved himself worthy of a full-time spot on the Rays’ roster, signing a six-year contract extension in March.

In his 15 games with Tampa this season, Lowe has stayed hot, batting .302 and slugging .585 with four home runs, including a two-homer game on April 12.  After signing his contract extension, the second baseman has showed Tampa he was worth the cash.

OF LaMonte Wade, Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins, AAA)

Wade made the move up to AAA partway through 2018 after hitting close to .300 with the Twins’ Chattanooga Lookouts. Since the move, the outfielder hit .229 in his 74 games with Rochester in 2018, including 11 home runs.

Now, Wade remains in Rochester, batting .219 in his first 10 appearances, though he has a .375 OBP after working eight walks and putting up seven hits.

RHP Mike Shawaryn, Pawtucket Red Sox (Boston Red Sox, AAA)

Shawaryn quickly ascended the Red Sox’s minor-league system after being drafted in the fourth round in 2016. Last season, Shawaryn started out with the Portland Sea Dogs in AA before making the move to AAA. In Pawtucket, Shawaryn threw a 3.93 ERA in seven appearances, six of which were starts. He went 36.2 innings, striking out 33 and allowing only 16 runs.

After making the Red Sox’s major-league camp to start spring training, Shawaryn is back in AAA. In his 11.1 innings pitched over two starts he’s struck out 14 and allowed four runs on 10 hits and only two walks.

RHP Jake Stinnett, Tennessee Smokies (Chicago Cubs, AA)

Stinnett is currently on the Smokies’ seven-day injured list, according to thecubreporter.com.

SS/3B Kevin Smith, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays, AA)

Like many former Terps, Smith moved through the Blue Jays’ minor-league system quickly. After spending time with Toronto’s Low-A and High-A teams in 2018, Smith started this season in AA with the Fisher Cats.

So far he’s batting .268 with one home run and 11 hits in 10 games. The season is still young, however, and if Smith’s 18 homers in 83 games in High-A are any marker, Smith may turn things on soon.

LHP Alex Robinson, Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota Twins, High-A)

After struggling with injury early in 2018, Robinson returned to the mound for 25 games with the Miracles, posting a 4.98 ERA before another brief stint on the injured list in late August.

This season, Robinson has been listed on Fort Myers’ seven-day inured list since April 1.

RHP Brian Shaffer, Charlotte Stone Crabs (Tampa Bay Rays, High-A)

Since his sixth-round draft pick by Arizona in 2017, Shaffer has stayed solid in the minors. This season is the right-hander’s first full season with the Stone Crabs, after Arizona traded him to Tampa Bay in August last year.

Shaffer remains steady on the mound, boasting a 2.57 ERA in seven innings pitched over three relief appearances so far this year. The righty recorded four strikeouts in those three outings, while allowing only two runs on seven hits.

2B Nick Dunn, Palm Beach Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals, High-A)

Dunn spent time in both short-season A and low-A last season after his fifth-round draft pick from the Cardinals. In his 65 games between the two leagues, Dunn batted .253 with three home runs and 14 doubles (all of which came in Low-A).

This year, Dunn started the season in High-A with Palm Beach. In 44 at-bats over 10 games so far, Dunn is hitting .273 with three RBIs and 12 hits, including one double. Additionally, Dunn has only struck out four times so far this season.

OF Marty Costes, Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros, Low-A)

After only four games in short-season A, Costes spent the majority of last season with Houston’s Low-A affiliate. Between the two leagues, the outfielder batted .231 with a .345 OBP.

Now, Costes remains with the River Bandits, hitting .300 in eight games. Among his nine hits so far, Costes has one triple and three RBIs, while he struck out only four times.

RHP Jamal Wade, West Virginia Power (Seattle Mariners, Low-A)

In his first season with the Power, Wade is continuing his dominance on the mound. The right-hander struck out 10 batters in his 4.2 innings of relief so far, meaning of those 4.2 innings, only four outs have not been Ks.

Wade boasts a 3.86 ERA in those two outings, having allowed only two runs on four hits and four walks.

Maxwell Costes wins 3rd Big Ten Freshman of the Week award

Maryland infielder Maxwell Costes picked up hits in all five games last week, including two home runs, helping earn his third Big Ten Freshman of the Week award of the season.

In the Terps’ 3-2 week, which included a midweek win over William & Mary a pair of victories against Northwestern, Costes drove in eight runs while scoring seven times. In addition to his two homers, he also hit three doubles last week.

The Baltimore native now leads the Terps with a .287 batting average, and among qualified hitters, he also leads the team with a .512 slugging percentage and a .419 on-base percentage. Costes is now on a seven-game hitting streak, the longest of his career.

Now up to six home runs this season, Costes is steadily chasing the nine homers his older brother Marty slugged as a freshman for the Terps back in 2016, a mark that led all freshman in the Big Ten.

Costes’ production at the plate over the weekend helped Maryland accomplish a feat that hadn’t happened in over a decade. After winning two of three against both Illinois and Northwestern on the road in back-to-back weekends, the Terps have now won a road series in consecutive weekends for the first time since 2006.

For a relatively young team, Maryland is now an impressive 11-7 on the road and only 6-9 at home in College Park. The pair of road series victories currently has the team in the in the top half of the Big Ten standings with five series remaining.

Maryland freshmen prove they belong, get first at-bats as Terps

maguire AB Indy

When Maryland baseball traveled for the majority of its early-season games, infielder Josh Maguire stayed in College Park. He and catcher Tavan Shahidi would work in extra offensive reps while the Terps spent their weekends on the road.

Oftentimes, players that aren’t expected to receive time on the field are excluded from team travel plans. And to start his freshman campaign, Maguire was one of those players left behind, with the only ways to closely follow games via online video and radio streams.

But head coach Rob Vaughn has shown he has no qualms about fiddling with the Terps’ lineup and rewarding players who prove themselves in practices and in games. That now includes Maguire, who has started in Maryland’s last six games.

It all started with two pinch-hit opportunities two weekends ago against Indiana, when Maguire’s first-career hit left the yard in only his fourth at-bat of the season.

“I couldn’t draw it up any better,” Maguire said on Terps Pregame. “It’s what you dream of … the feeling was awesome.”

Maguire 2AB Sat Indy
Photo credit: Paige Leckie / MBN

Now, in 42 at-bats, it’s clear the freshman’s hard work both with and away from his team early in the year has paid off. The freshman is hitting .231 with six hits, three of which are home runs. He leads the Terps with a .577 slugging percentage.

On Wednesday, freshman Zach Doss found himself in a similar situation to Maguire. While Maguire practiced while the Terps were on the road, Doss took reps in the Maryland bullpen, where he treated every catching rep as if it was a real game, according to senior captain John Murphy.

So, when Doss found himself in Maryland’s lineup suddenly, replacing catcher Sebastian Holte-Mancera in the fourth inning Wednesday against West Virginia, the freshman was ready to face a Division I opponent for the first time.

When Doss entered, Maryland was yet to plate a run and trailed West Virginia 5-0. Vaughn didn’t like the tempo at which the Terps played their first three innings, and gave Doss the nod with the hopes the young catcher would reinvigorate the Maryland lineup.

The Terps eventually lost 8-1, but Doss’ energy behind the plate did give Maryland a boost. In the fifth, the Terps finally put a run on the board after right fielder Michael Pineiro and Doss reached base on a hit-by-pitch and a walk.

Doss’ high-energy personality brings the emotion out of people, Murphy explained. It’s not necessarily what Doss says to his teammates, but the way he carries himself.

“I thought he was the bright spot of the game tonight,” Vaughn said. “That guy shows up [every day] and works. He’s a workhorse. he gets after it, he does his thing every day. [He] infused us [with energy] in a spot that we really needed it.”

Doss-cheer-Saturday
Photo credit: Paige Leckie / MBN

Doss didn’t record an official at-bat until the ninth inning, after he walked in the fifth and was hit by a pitch in the seventh. In the bottom of the ninth, Doss struck out swinging.

But even then, Doss reached base — his third time in as many at-bats for the Terps — when the third strike got past the West Virginia catcher and Doss sprinted to first safely. It jump-started a bases-loaded rally that ultimately fell short.

“I tell these guys, it’s a game of opportunities,” Vaughn said. “Maguire got his opportunity a couple weeks ago, and has taken advantage of it. Doss got an opportunity tonight, and showed us that he can handle it, that he’s more than capable to catch at this level and handle his own business.”

Former Terps Kolarek, Lowe make Rays’ Opening Day Roster

Two former Maryland Terrapins, left-hander Adam Kolarek and infielder Brandon Lowe, will begin the 2019 MLB season on the Tampa Bay Rays’ 25-man roster, manager Kevin Cash revealed Tuesday.

Kolarek, who edged out teammate Emilio Pagán for the final roster spot, didn’t have the best spring, pitching 9.2 innings with an 8.38 ERA. However, Kolarek is coming off a quality 2018 season, which is part of the reason that Cash opted to have him on the Opening Day roster.

After spending 31 games last year with the Durham Bulls (AAA), in which the lefty cruised through 44.2 innings to the tune of a 1.61 ERA and a 10.48 strikeouts-per-nine-innings, Kolarek made his next 31 appearances at the major-league level. In 34.1 innings with the Rays, Kolarek became a reliable lefty out of the bullpen, limiting opposing lefty batters to a .208 batting average.

Lowe, who recently signed a six-year deal with Tampa Bay, now appears to be a player that the Rays view as a major contributor for the foreseeable future. He had himself an outstanding Spring Training after finishing his debut season in 2018 with a .774 on-base plus slugging percentage.

In 53 at-bats, Lowe slashed .377/.411/.698 while tying teammate Avisail Garcia for the team’s most Spring Training home runs at three and leading the team in RBI at 17.

Both former Terrapins have made it a long way since being major contributors on some of the better teams Maryland has seen in the past couple of decades. Prior to getting drafted by the New York Mets in 2010, Adam Kolarek pitched two seasons (2008-2009) with the Terps, making 43 total appearances and recording a 4.26 ERA and 4.68 ERA in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Lowe, who had been drafted by the Rays in 2015, was a major component in helping the Terps make their first two NCAA Super Regional appearances in the school’s history in 2014 and 2015, slashing .338/.448/.509 between the two years.

This is the first time that either former Terrapin will be breaking camp with a major-league team as they’ll open the season Thursday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg when the Rays take on the Houston Astros at 4 p.m. ET.

Former Terps pitcher Ryan Hill signs pro contract

Former Maryland right-hander Ryan Hill signed a professional contract with the Florence Freedom (Ky.) of the Frontier League on March 18, according to the league website.

Hill transferred to Maryland from Grayson County College in 2016, where he put up a 2.29 ERA in 39.1 innings pitched in 2016, and recorded a combined 89 strikeouts over his two years as a Viking.

One of the Terps’ go-to relievers, Hill played at Maryland for two seasons. In 2017, the righty made 29 appearances, including two starts, throwing 46.2 innings while working a 5.01 ERA and striking out 55.

After starting 2018 on the bench due to eligibility issues, Hill made nine relief appearances, finishing his senior year with a 2.92 ERA in 12.1 innings pitched, while striking out 14.

Right-hander Taylor Bloom, Hill’s college teammate who went undrafted after last season, signed with the Frontier League’s Washington Wild Things last June and made four appearances before being released in July. He is not currently listed on a roster for the 2019 season.

Hill and the Freedom open their season on May 9.