To say that the 2014 Maryland baseball team had a successful season is an understatement. This group of players and coaches lifted Maryland into national prominence within the college baseball world. While it's still too early for the final national polls, it would be safe to assume that Maryland will be ranked among the top 25.
The 2014 Terps went further than any other Maryland baseball team has gone. In the process a buzz was generated around Maryland baseball that will hopefully continue to grow. Certainly a new bar has been set for future teams to try to surpass.
Rather than give a review of the whole season I'll focus on the extraordinary achievements of the past four months. The breadth and depth of team and individual accolades is astonishing.
The Terps finished 40 - 23 overall, six more victories than the previous high-water mark of 34 set in 2002. Getting to 40 wins is a measuring stick of accomplishment in college baseball, akin to a 10 win season in football. Looking at it from a different angle, Maryland will end the year with an RPI around 20. That's out of approximately 300 schools playing DI college baseball.
Maryland compiled a regular season mark of 15 - 14 within the ACC. Fifteen wins in ACC play ties the school record set in 1970, and is the first time since 1981 that the Terps finished above .500 in conference play. Throwing the ACCT into the mix, Maryland was 2 -2 against a potential #1 team (Virginia) and beat FSU twice in a season. The latter had never been done. In fact, there was a time when FSU had beaten Maryland over 30 straight times. Maryland was three innings away from winning the ACCT in this their final year in the conference. The Terps hadn't been to the ACCT in 9 years and had never appeared in the tournament's championship game.
When the Terps traveled to Columbia, SC for their NCAAT Regional round of games, it was the first such appearance in 43 years. The host team South Carolina had not lost an NCAAT game played at their stadium stretching back 28 straight contests. The Terps not only ended that streak but beat the Gamecocks twice to sweep through the Columbia regional. As a result Maryland went to its first-ever Super Regional round. In Charlottesville the Terps took the first game against familiar foe Virginia before dropping the final two games: Maryland was just one victory away from going to the College World Series.
Besides setting a team record for wins, the 2014 team also set single-season marks for at-bats, HBP, saves, innings pitched, and strike outs by Maryland pitchers.
The 2014 season saw yet another first for the Terps: three players were selected to All-ACC Teams. Jake Stinnett was a starting pitcher on the second team, while center fielder Charlie White and second baseman Brandon Lowe were selected to the third team. There were also Freshman All-American honors to be had. Mike Shawaryn and Lowe were chosen to be on the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) placed Shawaryn and Lowe on its Freshman All-American teams, the first time that honor had been accorded to a Terrapin.
In the 2014 MLB draft four Terps were selected: Stinnett in Round 2 by the Chicago Cubs; LHP Ben Brewster in the 15th round by the Chicago White Sox; White in the 21st round by the Chicago Cubs; and shortstop Blake Schmit in the 26th round by the Minnesota Twins. For White and Schmit being drafted was doubly sweet since it was by a local team. White was the first outfielder taken by the Cubs so it's likely that he'll forgo his senior season at Maryland and sign with Chicago. Brewster represented the ultimate in perseverance. Lightly used during his first three years at Maryland, Brewster came into his own this year as a coveted member of the Terps' bullpen.
Lowe's .348 batting average was good for second in the ACC as was his .464 OBP. Schmit's .308 BA ranked 18th in the conference and he was tied for fifth with 18 doubles. White ranked 5th in runs scored and 2nd in stolen bases. LaMonte Wade's 17 sacrifice hits this season is a new school record, as is White's 245 AB.
White became the Terps' all-time leader in stolen bases with 86, which is 24 more than his closest competitor. Kyle Convissar increased his record HBP total to 67 over his career; the next closest hitter has 45 career HBP.
Shawaryn led the ACC with 11 victories. This total easily surpassed the previous Maryland single season record of eight wins. Stinnett led the ACC in innings pitched (118, a Maryland record), strike outs (132, a Maryland record), complete games (4), and tied for first with two shutouts. Kevin Mooney was third in the ACC with 13 saves, which tied the Maryland single-season mark set by current Toronto Blue Jay Brett Cecil. In fact Mooney is now just one save behind Cecil's all-time Maryland mark of 23 saves. The versatile Bobby Ruse was tied for fifth in the ACC with 31 appearances on the year (a Maryland record). Not to be forgotten is Stinnett's no-hitter against Massachusetts, the first Terp to hurl a no-no since 2008.
Like a good wine the 2014 baseball team will be remembered in future years as an excellent vintage. This team's success brought new fans out to see Maryland baseball. Here at Testudo Times we hope that in our own small way we've added to the growing buzz.
Terrapin baseball competes annually with lacrosse and two professional baseball teams. But a time will come when Bob "Turtle" Smith stadium is packed with fans wearing red. Given how Maryland baseball has set itself up for sustained success, it may not be long before chants of "Go Terps" resound throughout the stadium. When that happens, members of the 2014 team can be justifiably proud of their instrumental part in making that a reality.