Late rally comes up short as Terps fall to High Point, drop series

For the second time in as many nights, the Maryland Terrapins had the tying run in scoring position in the ninth inning, but couldn’t cash in, as they lost to High Point, 7-4, Friday night. Maryland (33-19, 15-9 Big Ten) has now lost four straight for the first time this season, and falls to 4-6 in the month of May. The Terps have lost four straight series, with their last series victory coming Apr. 21-23 in a sweep of Michigan State at home.

The High Point bullpen held the Terps in check for most of the ballgame, as they managed just three hits through the first seven innings. Maryland’s bats came alive late, plating three in the eighth and one in the ninth, but Will Watson struck out with two men on in the ninth as the Terps couldn’t complete the comeback.

Maryland starter Tyler Blohm struggled for the third straight week, allowing three runs, all earned, over just four innings. The freshman left-hander was in a hole early, as Josh Greene’s RBI groundout gave High Point a 1-0 lead in the first. The Panthers struck again in the second, when Hunter Lee tripled to lead off the frame and scored on a wild pitch. Blohm, looking for his first scoreless frame, retired two in the third on a double play before Carson Jackson drove a pitch deep over the left-field wall to put the Panthers up 3-0.

Ryan Hill, who relieved Blohm, worked a scoreless fifth, but ran into trouble in the sixth after the Terps had cut the deficit to 3-2. The right-hander surrendered a walk and a single, and worked a 2-1 count on the next hitter, Jordan Sergent, before John Murphy replaced Hill. Murphy walked Sergent, but after allowing one run to score on an infield hit, struck out the side.

Murphy struggled opening the seventh, however, allowing two to reach on a walk and an error, and Ryan Selmer came in but provided little relief. The normally reliable right-hander surrendered three runs on a single, a perfectly executed squeeze bunt, and another single as the High Point lead swelled to 7-2.

While Maryland’s pitching struggled throughout, High Point’s dominated early on. Starter Drew Daczkowski baffled Maryland through the first three innings, allowing just one baserunner, Watson, on a hit by pitch. With the Panthers gearing up for the Big South tournament Tuesday, however, the freshman right-hander was pulled after three frames due to an inning limit.

Happy to see Daczkowski gone, the Terps jumped on his replacement, left-hander Cooper Jeffers, in the top of the fourth. Brandon Gum led off the frame with a single to right, and Marty Costes followed with a one-out single, putting a Terp in scoring position for the first time in Friday’s contest. After Nick Dunn flied out, Watson walked to load the bases for Kevin Smith, the team leader in home runs this season. Jeffers promptly uncorked a wild pitch and Gum scampered home, putting Maryland on the board, but Smith struck out, stranding two in scoring position.

Down 3-1 in the fifth, Maryland struck again off Jeffers. Madison Nickens was hit by the first pitch of the frame and Kevin Biondic, making his first start since March, flared a single into shallow right to put runners on the corners. Gum followed with a rocket to deep left that found Austen Zente’s glove for a sacrifice fly, cutting the deficit to just one run. Biondic advanced to second on a balk, but AJ Lee struck out swinging to end the frame.

The High Point bullpen held the Terps silent until the eighth, when, down by five, Gum again led off with a single against Muhammed Eid. AJ Lee followed with a two-run homer to left, his seventh of the season and just the second extra-base hit of the series for the Terps. With the deficit now just three runs, Nick Dunn singled with one out, prompting Eid’s exit. The new pitcher was Rion Murrah, who dominated Maryland for two innings Thursday night. Watson greeted him with a single, the third time the outfielder had reached base in the contest, bringing the tying run to the plate in Kevin Smith. After a fly out, pinch hitter Nick Cieri drove home Dunn to make it 7-5.

Still trailing by two in the ninth, Biondic opened the inning with a single to right and moved up on a wild pitch. Gum popped out, and Lee followed with a rocket to right-center field that Greene made a diving catch on, but Biondic tagged and advanced to third with two outs. A second wild pitch brought him across to cut the Terps’ deficit to just one run. Costes and Dunn both reached, putting the tying run in scoring position, but Watson struck out on three pitches to end the game.

Maryland is back in action Saturday at 1 p.m. against High Point, looking to avoid being swept for the second time this season.

Bats go silent as Terps fall to High Point for third straight loss

In a season marred by shaky pitching, Brian Shaffer has been the one consistent Maryland starter, leading the Big Ten in innings pitched and ERA. The Terrapin ace turned in another strong start Thursday, tossing an eight-inning complete game, but a late rally fell short as Maryland lost 2-1 on the road to the High Point Panthers. The Terps (33-18, 15-9 Big Ten) have now dropped three in a row for the first time since being swept by LSU Feb. 24-26 in Baton Rouge.

Shaffer (7-3) struggled early, surrendering runs in the first and fourth, but settled in, retiring the last 15 hitters he faced and completing eight innings for the third straight start. The junior right-hander struck out seven Panthers, pushing his season total to 98, while allowing five hits and throwing just 93 pitches.

Meanwhile, a Maryland lineup that had scored at least five runs in three of the last four contests was held to one run or less for just the third time this year. The Terps managed just four hits on the day, and plated their lone run of the game in a late ninth-inning rally.

Down 2-0 with just two outs remaining, AJ Lee lined a sharp single to center and Marty Costes followed with a walk. After Nick Dunn flew out, Will Watson put the Terps on the board with an RBI single. With the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on first, Nick Cieri flied out to center to end the game.

The Terps’ only other scoring opportunities came early in the game, as they had a runner in scoring position with less than two outs in each of the first two innings. Brandon Gum, making his first start of the season in the leadoff spot with Zach Jancarski out of the lineup, reached on a hit by pitch to open the game. Lee, moved from sixth in the lineup to the two-hole, then struck out, but the ball got away from High Point catcher Spencer Brown, allowing Gum to advance to second. Costes and Dunn then flied out and grounded out, respectively, to strand Gum at second.

Will Watson led off the second with a line drive double into the left-field corner, putting himself in scoring position with no out. Danny Maynard struck out, but a Kevin Smith groundout moved Watson to third with two out. Madison Nickens came up and tried to drive in his fellow Louisiana native with a bunt, but was thrown out at first to end the inning.

Gum hit a one-out single in the third but was subsequently picked off to end the rally. High Point starter Andrew Gottfried was pulled after just three shutout innings, but the bullpen shut down the Maryland lineup for the next five frames. Matt Hodges, Rion Murrah and Austin Heinz set the Terps down in order for four of the five frames, with the only blemish being Nick Dunn’s one-out walk in the seventh. Heinz was replaced by Garrett Letchworth in the ninth, but he was pulled after walking Costes, and left-hander Jeremy Johnson closed out the game to pick up the save.

Meanwhile, High Point jumped out to an early lead in the first inning. Conner Dunbar lined a double over the first-base bag with one away and moved to third with two out. Josh Greene then hit a ball that Dunn made a diving stop on, but the Maryland second baseman threw to first just too late to get Greene, and the run scored. The Panthers struck again in the fourth, when Green and Carson Jackson led off with back-to-back singles and moved up on catcher Justin Morris’ throwing error. Shaffer retired the next three, however, starting his string of 15 straight, although one was a Jordan Sargent groundout that plated Greene for High Point’s second run.

With the loss, the Terps fall to 4-5 in the month of May, and 8-13 on the road. They take on High Point again Friday at 6 p.m. looking to even the series.

Series Preview: High Point Panthers

After losing two of three to Northwestern in their final home series of the season, the Maryland Terrapins wrap up the regular season with a three-game road series at High Point, starting Thursday. With the series loss to Northwestern, the Terps (33-17, 15-9 Big Ten) have lost three straight weekend series dating back to April 29-30 at Indiana, and own a 4-4 record in the month of May.

Despite recent struggles, Maryland’s offense has been strong for most of the year. The Terps have scored 300 runs this season, good for fourth in the Big Ten, and their 51 home runs trail only Illinois and Indiana. They have also been a threat on the basepaths, stealing 92 bases in 50 games, their highest total since swiping 94 in 2013.

The top three in Maryland’s order – Zach Jancarski, Brandon Gum and Marty Costes – have been instrumental in the team’s success, as each ranks in the top ten in the conference in on-base percentage. Costes leads the team with a .343 average, .430 on-base percentage and 37 RBIs, while Jancarski is hitting .324 with a team-high 19 steals. Infielders AJ Lee and Kevin Smith have also come on strong of late. Smith leads Maryland in homers (10) and slugging (.550) while Lee collected multiple hits in each game against Northwestern to raise his season average to .336.

While the offense has been solid for the most part, the Terps’ pitching has been shaky recently. Friday night starter Brian Shaffer continues to dominate, leading the Big Ten in ERA and innings pitched, but the bullpen struggled over the weekend. Jamal Wade and Ryan Hill, two key relievers, allowed a combined seven runs in .2 innings Saturday, raising both of their ERAs above four. Ryan Selmer and Andrew Miller, John Szefc’s go-to guys at the back end of the bullpen, each surrendered a run in Sunday’s loss, but still own sub-3 ERAs. Miller has posted a 1.96 ERA in 20 innings out of the bullpen with a .153 opponent’s batting average, while Selmer is tied for the team lead in appearances (22) and leads the team with seven saves. John Murphy has figured into the bullpen rotation recently, and the right-hander leads Maryland pitchers (min. 20 innings) with a 1.27 ERA.

Maryland has struggled of late, but High Point has been hot. The Panthers (27-20, 12-11 Big South) dropped two of three at Radford over the weekend, but won five straight prior to that. They also own a 15-8 record at home, and have won four in a row on their home field. High Point has been solid, but not spectacular, both offensively and on the mound this season, hitting .257 as a team and pitching to a 4.33 ERA.

Junior Blake Schunk leads the team with a .338 average, and has hit safely in six of his last seven contests. Despite not boasting the high average that Schunk does, the trio of Josh Greene, Austen Zente and Carson Jackson has been the heart of the Panther lineup this season. Greene leads the team with 18 steals in 23 attempts, and is tied with Jackson for second in RBIs (27). The senior outfielder owns a .293/.374/.453 slash line and has appeared in all but four of the team’s games this season. Zente leads the Panthers in homers (9), slugging percentage (.500) and RBIs (31), but is no slouch on the basepaths, swiping 13 bags. Jackson leads the team in hits (50) and doubles (13) while going a perfect 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts.

High Point’s pitching, while not flashy, has gotten the job done this season, as six of the eight Panthers that have tossed at least 20 innings have ERAs under four. Right-hander Rion Murrah and southpaw Matt Hodges are the go-to guys out of the bullpen for High Point, as they have combined for 38 relief appearances. Murrah leads the Panthers with a 2.86 ERA and opponents are hitting a paltry .218 off the junior. Hitters fare even worse off Hodges, managing just a .204 average, as the sophomore lefty leads the High Point bullpen with 41 innings pitched, 42 strikeouts and five saves. Other notable relievers include Jeremy Johnson (3.75 ERA, 36 innings) and Cooper Jeffers (3.96 ERA, 20.2 innings).

The Terps and Panthers last faced off in College Park a year ago, on April  1-3, 2016. High Point took two out of three in that series, winning Friday and Sunday, while Maryland claimed Saturday’s contest, 13-5.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

THU 6:00 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Brian Shaffer (7-2, 1.72 ERA) vs. So. RHP Andrew Gottfried (3-2, 3.96 ERA)

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Right-hander Brian Shaffer continues to dominate opponents. The Terps’ Friday night ace threw another gem last time out against Northwestern, allowing just one run over eight innings while striking out eight. He leads the Big Ten in ERA and innings pitched (89) and ranks second in strikeouts (91).

High Point will counter Shaffer with right-hander Andrew Gottfried. The sophomore struggled last time out against Radford, allowing five runs on seven hits and four walks over six innings. His previous outing, however, was a gem, as he tossed six shutout innings with seven strikeouts to pick up the win over Charleston Southern. The right-hander only has 40 strikeouts in 50 innings, but he doesn’t give up hard contact, as opponents hit just .202 off him.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

FRI 6:00 p.m. EST

Fr. LHP Tyler Blohm (8-5, 3.25 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Drew Daczkowski (5-4, 2.96 ERA)

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Friday is a matchup of freshmen, with Tyler Blohm taking the hill for the Terps. The southpaw has gotten a decision in all 13 of his starts this season, and leads the Big Ten with eight wins. He ranks eighth in the conference in ERA, and has fooled opponents, allowing just a .219 average against him. He struggled his last time out, however, allowing three runs (two earned) in just four innings. He allowed just two hits, but walked two and threw 75 pitches.

Blohm will share the rubber with freshman right-hander Drew Daczkowski, one of two freshmen in the High Point rotation. Daczkowski has been the Panthers’ best starter this season, leading the team in ERA, innings pitched (70) and strikeouts (67), despite compiling just a 5-4 record. He does struggle with the long ball however, as he has surrendered a team-high nine homers this season. He got tagged with the loss against Radford last weekend after giving up three runs (two earned) over six innings, but threw a complete game the week before.

Starting Pitching Matchup 

SAT 1:00 p.m. EST

Jr. RHP Taylor Bloom (5-2, 4.41 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Trevor Holloway (3-5, 4.08 ERA)

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2017 has been an up-and-down season for Taylor Bloom, who has failed to replicate his dominant 2016 (2.46 ERA, 102.1 IP). The right-hander ranks second on the Terps in innings pitched, but has allowed 82 hits in 69.1 frames for a .300 opponents’ average. He pitched well enough to win last time out, surrendering four runs in six innings, but was tagged with a no-decision after the Terps blew a late lead and lost in extra innings.

Like Bloom, Trevor Holloway has shown signs of brilliance this year but struggled at other points. His 57.1 innings pitched are second only to Daczkowski, but he has struggled with control, walking 33, hitting seven and uncorking 11 wild pitches. Holloway has not been efficient, as he has completed five innings in just one of his last four starts, and hasn’t completed six since April 2 against Gardner-Webb.

Jamal Wade’s first three career hits were home runs. Now, he’s a pitcher.

The view from the mound is a little bit better than the view from the batter’s box, according to junior Jamal Wade.

Wade, an outfielder-turned-reliever, has emerged as one of the Terrapins’ more effective—and surprising—arms out of the bullpen. In just 16.1 innings, the right-hander has struck out 27 batters and walked twelve. His .203 opponent’s batting average is third-best on the team among pitchers with 15 or more innings-pitched.

Currently, Wade is striking out 14.9 batters per nine innings, a mark that would be second in the nation if he had enough innings to qualify.

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Jamal Wade tossed two scoreless frames against Richmond, striking out two and walking two. [Credit: Hannah Evans/MBN]
His first career appearance as a college pitcher came against then-No. 5 LSU at Alex Box Stadium on February 25. It was mop-up duty, with the Terps already trailing 12-0. He entered the ballgame with two runners on base and nobody out, with 10,608 fans clad in purple and gold cheering against him—a daunting situation for a debut.

“Usually when hitting, I’m never nervous—I don’t think I’ve ever been nervous hitting or in the outfield,” Wade said after the appearance. “I was fine the whole time warming up, and then when I got out there, I was like ‘wow, this is for happening for real.'”

His first career pitch was a ball. The second pitch induced a 6-4-3 double play. Then, after allowing a single that scored a run (charged to freshman right-hander Elliot Zoellner), Wade closed out the inning with a flyout. In the next frame, he retired the side in order, recording his first two career strikeouts in the process.

“Until this fall, I never thought I’d be pitching in a college game, so it was pretty cool,” Wade said after the outing. “After that first pitch, I was locked in.”

LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE

Over the summer, Wade played for the Keene Swamp Bats in the Northeast Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL). He arrived as a hitter, and returned to College Park, Maryland, as a two-way player.

Early in the summer season, the Swamp Bats found themselves trailing the Valley Blue Sox 14-5 in the seventh inning, and discovered they had run out of pitchers because rosters were still depleted—many players were still with their college teams in the NCAA Tournament or playing in other leagues on temporary summer contracts.

So, the Swamp Bats’ head coach, Jimmy Neygrych—currently a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh—asked the dugout for volunteers. Wade was the first to raise his hand, and got the ball.

“I just warned him not to throw any off-speed pitches or gear up and throw hard, just lob that ball over and get ready for it,” Negrych said.

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Jamal Wade pitches in high school for the St. Paul’s Crusaders. [Photo Credit: Courtesy of Varsity Sports Network]
Unbeknownst to Negrych and the rest of the team, Wade had pitched in high school for the St. Paul’s Crusaders. His senior season, he went 8-1 with a single-season record 0.52 ERA. In 69 innings, he struck out 54 batters and walked 21. So, Wade had no intention of listening to his summer coach.

“He told me to just go out there, throw all fastballs at 75 percent so you don’t hurt yourself,” Wade said. “In the back of my mind, I was like, ‘All right, I’m not going to do that. I want to actually try to pitch.’”

He came out firing heaters in the low-to-mid-90s, and flashing a powerful curveball. The right-hander worked a 1-2-3 frame, striking out two. In the next frame, Wade allowed a leadoff single, but struck out the next three batters he faced.

“His first pitch, he got into his stretch and threw it in there, and it was like, WHOOMPH,” Negrych said. “Three pitches later, the guy hitting wasn’t even near the baseball. It was just shocking how good it was.”

Neygrych recognized that Maryland head coach John Szefc might have lightning in a bottle in Wade, and gave the Terps’ skipper a call.

“I told him [Wade] was sitting 91-93 with a breaking ball that was absolutely filthy,” he said. “So, I asked [Szefc] if he wanted me to get [Wade] with our pitching coach to mix him in to see what he could do out there. You could tell right away that that ball just—I mean, there was something different about it.”

So Szefc called Wade to see how he felt about pitching, and asked if wanted to continue. Wade jumped at the opportunity.

“I remember talking to our pitching coach—Chris Combs—and he was amazed at how much [Wade] wanted to work at it,” Negrych said. “[Wade] would seek him out to ask to throw a flat-ground to work on a change-up, or work on a breaking ball. I think the success he had on the mound made him hungrier to keep learning that because he just felt so good about what he was doing out there.”

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Jamal Wade trots around the bases after a two-run home run on June 24 against the Vermont Mountaineers. [Photo Credit: KSB Photo / Smart On Sports]
Wade finished the Swamp Bats’ season as a two-way player, hitting .267 with two home runs in 24 games. On the mound, he stuck out 21 and walked only eight batters in 11⅓ innings, posting a 1-1 record and a 1.58 ERA. Wade led the league (min. 10 innings) in strikeouts-per-nine innings, posting a mark of 16.70.

The experiment continued in the fall during intrasquad scrimmages, and Wade quickly made his mark. More than once, he earned “Flamethrower of the Week” honors from the team, awarded to the pitcher who throws the hardest fastball during intrasquad action. Still, he struggled, admittedly trying to prove himself to the team as a pitcher based on the numbers he posted during the summer. When he relaxed and took the pressure off himself, results improved.

“I think the first few times, you saw him as a position player who was just throwing,” Maryland shortstop Kevin Smith said. “Now when he gets up there, it’s like any other pitcher that comes out of the bullpen.”

And, like any other pitcher, Wade has had the occasional rough outing. Just this past weekend, he entered in the fifth inning against Northwestern after five straight batters reached base against right-hander Ryan Hill. Wade subsequently threw a wild pitch—his eighth of the year—and allowed a single before walking the final three batters he faced. He was charged with two runs and failed to record an out, resulting in his ERA ballooning from 3.86 to 4.96.

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Junior Jamal Wade is the latest Terp to make the transition from being a position player to being a pitcher. [Photo Credit: Hannah Evans/MBN]
The growing pains are not uncommon for a position player transitioning to a become a full-time pitcher. And Wade isn’t the first Maryland player to make that conversion. Right-hander Mike Rescigno was the most recent to jump from the batter’s box to the mound, becoming a full-time pitcher last season. Former Terps right-hander Jake Stinnett began his Maryland career as the starting third baseman his freshman year. He eventually became the team’s ace en route to his selection in the second-round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs.

“[Transitioning to the mound] is not a foolproof process where there’s only one way to do it—it depends on the guy. It’s taken [Wade] a while, but his progress has been very impressive,” Szefc said. “[The fall] was a quick, early look at what might be there and you can’t deny it, so you look at it and go, ‘well, let’s keep working with this, keep developing it, and see where it goes.’”

POWER SURGE

Wade arrived at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, like Stinnett, as a third baseman. Not only was he a third baseman, but considered to be the top third baseman in the state of Maryland according to Perfect Game. His play for St. Paul’s earned him First Team All-Metro honors from The Baltimore Sun in 2014.

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Jamal Wade collects his first career hit—a home run—against Princeton on March 16, 2015. [Credit: Jamal Wade/Instagram (jam_al_day3)]
During his first few practices, Wade, like he did in high school, played the infield. But after just a couple of weeks, he was moved to the outfield—his first position switch. It wouldn’t be his last.

The 6’0, 200-lb. Wade began his collegiate career 0-for-8 at the plate. Then, in his ninth at-bat, he crushed a home run against Princeton for his first career hit. Two weeks later, Wade smacked another long ball—this time against Michigan—for his second career hit.

Then, just one week later, Wade was a late addition to the starting lineup in the Terps’ series finale against Nebraska after Nick Cieri injured his hand during batting practice. In his second at-bat of the day, Wade went deep again, giving him three career hits, all of which were home runs.

“I was kind of shocked, Wade said. “I wasn’t trying to hit home runs, I was just trying to swing hard and get a hit. After the third one, I did try to swing for the fences and ended up actually hitting a single.”

Wade hit two more home runs his freshman year, but finished the season with a .231 average, tallying more strikeouts (29) than hits (21) in 35 games. As a sophomore, Wade managed just three hits in 27 at-bats, striking out 11 times. This season has been much of the same for Wade at the plate, where he’s 0-for-7. In his career, Wade has struck out 41 times in 125 at-bats, or once every three at-bats.

Jamal Wade two way

“You have less than a second to react to the ball, and you don’t know what’s coming,” Wade said. “[Hitting] is the hardest thing to do in sports. No matter how much you practice, three-out-of-ten and you’re a Hall-of-Famer, so you’re pretty much set up for failure.”

COMMITTED TO PITCHING

Down in Wilmington, N.C., before a two-game set against the UNC Wilmington Seahawks earlier this season, the Maryland coaching staff had a meeting with Wade. They asked him how he was feeling about pitching, and told him they planned on using him more, so he should be ready to come into the game later that day.

Just a few hours later, the right-hander was on the mound, making just his third career appearance. To that point, he had tossed three innings, allowing three hits and a run, striking out three and walking two.

The first batter he faced, shortstop Kennard McDowell, struck out swinging, but scampered to first base after the ball got away from catcher Danny Maynard. McDowell later moved to second on a balk, and scored on a single. After the single, Wade struck out the next three batters he faced, striking out four batters in an inning for Maryland for the first time since redshirt senior right-hander Jared Price turned the trick on April 8, 2014 against George Mason. The four strikeouts in the frame for Wade also more than doubled his career total.

The next frame went much quicker for the hurler, as he struck out the side in order for a total of seven strikeouts in just two innings of work.

“Right after, [pitching coach Ryan Fecteau] said, ‘Well, I guess our talk went well,’” Wade said with a laugh.

Smith, Wade’s roommate, doesn’t have a vivid memory of the feat, even though he was only a few feet away at shortstop.

“You don’t really notice when you’re playing,” Smith said. By the eighth or ninth inning you’re looking back and realize you don’t remember much about those two innings and that’s because he struck everyone out.”

Bullpen appearances
*Ryan Hill (2), Tayler Stiles (2), Mike Rescigno (1), and John Murphy (1) have all made starts this season. Graphic only includes relievers who have made 10 or more total appearances this season.

Throughout the beginning of the season, Wade continued to take batting practice. But, the weekend after his appearance against UNC-W, during the Terps’ series against Rutgers, he decided to quit hitting and commit to focusing on pitching. Since 2016, he was just 3-for-34 (.088) with twelve strikeouts and zero extra-base hits. The coaching staff was fully supportive of his decision.

“I think he wanted to put 100-percent of his effort into what he feels like is going to be his future, here and at the next level,” Szefc said.

And, Wade is being called on out of the bullpen more often since that weekend—the midway point in the season. The first half of the year, the right-hander appeared just four times in 25 games. In the 25 games since, he’s made ten relief appearances, tied with Hill for second-most on the team in that span, trailing only right-hander Ryan Selmer.

“He has gradually worked his way into a pretty important role, Szefc said. “It’s almost like he’s kind of re-made his baseball life a little bit, which is a good thing. He’s become one of our really important guys and I think he knows that.”

THE NEXT STEP

As the season has progressed, there have been more and more scouts whose radar guns perk up when Wade enters a ballgame. His fastball has touched 95 mph, and his curveball, which sits in the low-80s, has many teams intrigued.

Negrych thinks that Wade could end up being one of the best prospects to come out of the 2016 NECBL summer, largely because of his untapped potential, but also because of his curveball.

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Junior Jamal Wade completes the win for the Terps. Hannah Evans/Maryland Baseball Network. 4/15/2017

“I talked to some scouts who were asking about his story, and I told them I thought his breaking ball was the best one in the league,” Negrych said. “It’s a 12-6 [curveball] that’s just got some snap to it.”

And, even though he’s come a long way he pitched over the summer, and even farther since he pitched in high school, Wade still surprises even himself.

“I didn’t think I’d be throwing as hard as I am now,” Wade said. “When they told me, I was like, ‘Wow, I never threw that hard in my life.’ My curveball still shocks me sometimes. Sometimes it’s okay, and other times it moves a lot more than I thought it would.”

When he enters from the bullpen, “Do What I Want” by Lil Uzi Vert blares through the stadium speakers. The song—and it’s lyrics—are emblematic of Wade’s journey from third base to the outfield, and now from the outfield to the mound.

“Do What I Want” – Lil Uzi Vert

After struggling at the plate for a few seasons, Wade has found success on the mound. Now, Wade is doing what he wants. And what he wants to do is pitch.

MBN Podcast: Episode 37 (John Murphy)

On this edition of the MBN Podcast, Jake Eisenberg and Justin Gallanty choose a “Terp of the Week” and break down Maryland’s weekend series against Northwestern. Plus, another “Fair or Foul” segment, where they make statements about the team and defend them. Also, a chat with Maryland pitcher John Murphy (29:05) and Justin flips the script on Jake with a fun interview (48:43).

Rankings Update: Week of 5/15/17

After a strong start to the season and Big Ten play, the Maryland Terrapins (33-17, 15-9 Big Ten) have struggled of late, losing their last three weekend series. Over the weekend, they dropped two out of three to Northwestern at home – just their second and third losses in College Park this season. They currently sit fourth in the Big Ten, but with their regular season conference schedule over, their final position in the Big Ten standings will be decided by the rest of the conference next weekend while the Terps scoreboard watch from High Point, North Carolina.

Maryland entered the week ranked in just one national poll (Perfect Game, 25), but after a 2-2 week and with two home losses to Northwestern, the Terps have dropped out of all major rankings. They have also fallen to 36th in RPI, a drop of 12 spots since last week.

While the Terps can no longer influence their finish in the Big Ten standings, they will look to close out the regular season strong when they face off against High Point. The Panthers are not ranked in any national poll and sit 132th in RPI.

Big Ten: 4

D1Baseball.com: Unranked

Baseball America: Unranked

Perfect Game: Unranked

RPI: 36