The 2014 season was a milestone for Maryland baseball, achieving more than any other team in Terrapin history. Will the Terps be able to build on 2014 and achieve sustained excellence? The answer won't be known until around six months from now. But there are indications that Maryland won't be a one-year wonder. The 2014 class was ranked #20 by Baseball America, and many of the returning players had notable summer league efforts. Today's first of the three Fall World Series games gave a glimpse into how the 2015 squad will look.
Each year the baseball team concludes its Fall practice by scheduling three intra-squad games called the Fall World Series. The roster is split into two teams called the Aggies and Old Liners (Maryland is known as the "Old Line State"). Each team has an equivalent mixture of returning players and "rookies". In the Fall World Series, two subjects seem especially noteworthy: how the newcomers perform and who mans each position. Maryland lost two key starters to the pros in Charlie White (CF) and Blake Schmit (SS). So rebuilding up the middle could be a challenge.
Some Things Don't Change
Mike Shawaryn was one of the starters and he threw five scoreless innings. He was only in one jam which he got out of by inducing a 1-2-3 double play. Jake Drossner was the Aggies' starter, and he also appeared sharp. His curve ball was nasty and left more than a few players looking at a called strike three. The Terps looked really polished in the field, including a diving catch by Jamal Wade and a running grab by Anthony Papio. Nick Cieri hit the ball hard as did LaMonte Wade. But the game's laurels go to Papio, whose two run blast to right-center field was the deciding factor in the game. In fact Papio almost went yard twice, earlier hitting a shot off the top of the right-center field wall.
There were numerous additions/changes to the Terps' roster from last yeat. It appears that the job at short will be a battle between freshmen Andrew Bechtold and Kevin Smith. Wade will probably move from first base to center field. First base might be manned by either freshman Justin Morris or RS freshman Matt Onifrey. The biggest surprise (literally) was RS freshman RHP Andrew Green. Early in 2014 Green was accidentally struck by an errant throw while he was warming up and missed the entire season. The tall right-hander can really bring it and should see substantial playing time this year. Another big surprise was Mike Rescigno's transition from 3B/1B to relief pitcher. Rescigno had a rocket arm at third, but he showed enough promise in Fall ball on the mound to take on that role.
This is a deep squad, perhaps even more so than the 2014 team. Doing the little things, like Patrick Hisle laying down a perfect sacrifice bunt or Brandon Lowe easily swiping a bag should stamp mark this team. Expect there to be numerous positional battles, including pitcher. One pitcher who parlayed a great NECBL season over to the Fall is Alex Robinson.Today Robinson sailed through a 1-2-3 ninth with two strike outs, and hit 95 on the radar gun. He and Kevin Mooney will make a formidable tandem in the pen.While Cuas will start at third, expect to see freshman Kevin Biondic get playing time somewhere. This is a team that can do serious damage in the B1G.
Weather permitting, I'll try to make it out to at least one more game. Look for my write-up in a Fan Post.