Maryland baseball: With sweep of Pitt, Terps are in the ACCT; NCAA's likely

Maryland plays TEAM baseball - @mercator88

Maryland had a banner week, winning five games (four on the road and one at a neutral site) to extend their streak to eight straight wins. They finish over .500 in ACC play (first time since 1981) and make the ACCT for the first time since 2005.

It was a banner week for the Terps to say the least. They entered the week having swept a competitive (despite their record) Notre Dame squad. But there was still much work to be done in order to secure a spot in a post-season tournament, be it ACC or NCAA. Well, the Terps did indeed take care of business and so much more.

More numbers than you can shake a stick at

The Terps went 5 – 0 this week, extending their winning streak to eight games. Four of the five games were on the road, and the remaining game was at a neutral site. The five games included a win over possible NCAA tournament team VCU, Towson (played at Aberdeen), and a sweep of Pitt on their funky field. The sweep of Pitt was the first ACC road sweep by the Terrapins since doing that against Puke in 1999.

The Terps didn’t “just” win: they dominated. In the five games they outscored their opponents 48 – 10, with only one of the wins being by a single run. Maryland collected 56 hits (17 for extra bases) while holding the opposition to 29 hits (five for extra bases). Everyone contributed, epitomizing a true team effort. Three players had hits in every game (Martir subbed in one game without an AB): Brandon Lowe, Tim Lewis, and Kevin Martir. Lowe went seven for twenty with 10 RBIs; Lewis was eight for 21 and scored four times; Martir had seven hits in only 12 ABs, knocking in eight runs. Maryland pitchers allowed just six earned runs in five games for an ERA of 1.20. Both starters and relievers pitched in (pun intended). Maryland had little difficulty with the unusual hops that came their way via Cost Field, and played better defensively than home team Pitt.

Where things “stand”

The Terps are currently 33 – 19 overall, 15 – 14 in the ACC. They have one regular season game left against a tough WVU team tomorrow. Maryland’s 15 – 14 ACC record marks the first time since 1981 the Terps had a record above .500 in conference play. The Terps have an RPI of 31 with a SOS of 43. Their record against top 100 RPI teams is a respectable 15 – 12. Maryland is currently ranked #41 in the USA Today/Coaches poll.

In terms of individual accolades, Lowe is currently second in the ACC with a .355 average; he leads the conference with a .478 OBP, and is tenth with a slugging percentage of .482. Charlie White leads the ACC with 27 steals, with Blake Schmit ranks seventh with 21 swipes. Jake Drossner’s 2.18 ERA is good for eighth in the conference.  In terms of opposing BA, Jake Stinnet is fourth and Bobby Ruse is eighth. Jake Stinnett leads the league in innings pitched (95) and is tied with Carlos Rodon with 111 strike outs. Mike Shawaryn is tied for the most wins (9) with Miami’s Chris Diaz. Kevin Mooney is fifth with nine saves. Of course things could change as all teams besides Maryland and Georgia Tech have one more weekend of ACC games.

Here is a table with the latest ACC seeds:

Rank Team Record win pct
1 Miami 22 - 5 .815
2 Virginia 21 - 6 .778
3 Florida State 19 - 8 .704
4 Duke 15 - 12 .556
5 North Carolina 14 - 13 .519
6 Maryland 15 - 14 .517
7 Clemson 13 - 13 .500
8 Wake Forest 13 - 14 .482
9 Georgia Tech 14 - 16 .467
10 NC State 11 - 16 .407
11 Pitt 11 - 16 .407
12 Boston College 9 - 18 .333
13 Virginia Tech 8 - 19 .296
14 Notre Dame 6 - 21 .222

Maryland has clinched a spot in the ACCT. The important thing now is seeding, as the teams ranked 7 through 10 have to play a “play-in” game. Maryland is currently ranked #6 and would get a “bye”. Clemson has three games left at home against Boston College. If they take two of three they’d be tied with Maryland and probably get the sixth seed as a result of beating the Terps twice this season. Wake Forest would have to win out to surpass Maryland. Since their last three games are against Virginia that doesn’t seem likely. Puke plays three at Florida State. If the Blue Devils are swept they’ll fall below Maryland. Finally, North Carolina has three games at Miami next weekend. If UNC drops two of those games they’ll fall below the Terps. So, as Bette Davis once said, “Hang on, ‘cause it’s going to be one hell of a bumpy ride”.

The Terps have probably locked up an NCAA tournament bid, regardless of what happens in the ACCT. However, they can seal the deal by beating WVU tomorrow and taking at least one game in the ACCT.

Records are being broken

There was plenty of history taking place this past week. Mike Shawaryn set the Maryland single season record for wins (9). He’s only a freshman, so barring injury he has a shot of breaking the career record for wins (20) set by John Rayne (1989-1992). Kevin Mooney has nine saves in 2014, bringing his career total to 18. The all-time leader with 23 saves is current major league pitcher Brett Cecil. Jake Stinnett is 0.1 innings behind Bob Ferris’ 95.1 innings for most innings in a season. Stinnett needs eight more strikeouts to surpass former MLB player Eric Milton for second most strike outs in a single season. Steve Schmoll holds the record with 124 strike outs.

Maryland's swan song season in the ACC was a memorable one. Their 15 wins ties the single season mark set by the 1970 Terrapins team. Regardless of the outcome of tomorrow's game, the Terps will finish the regular season winning > .600 of their games. That hasn't been done by a Maryland team since 1981. With one more win Maryland will have tied their single season record for wins (34) set back in 2002.

Kudos to Coach Szefc, his assistant coaches, and the players who have made Maryland baseball relevant in the national picture. They've achieved their pre-season goals. Now it's time for them to make some post-season noise.

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