After winning its first home series and a midweek victory against George Mason, Maryland baseball will travel down to Coastal Carolina looking for revenge after last year’s 7-2 loss.
The Terps were able to pick up a 13-3 win against George Mason on Tuesday before heading out, but it wasn’t pretty.
Head coach Rob Vaughn described Maryland’s hitting as “sloppy” after the Terps left 15 men on base by the end of the game. Despite leaving the runners stranded, the team was eventually able to pour on 10 runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings combined.
Although the Terps’ bats may have been a bit cold with runners in scoring position, they were scorching hot for home runs. While Maxwell Costes continued his hot streak with his third dinger of the season, teammate Randy Bednar also celebrated his first bomb of the year.
“It felt really good,” Bednar smiled, reflecting on his two-run blast, “It’s definitely a good feeling to come out and be able to do that.”
Bednar and Costes are leading Maryland’s offense with a combined four home runs and 15 RBIs through seven games. The duo will be looking to continue their efficient batting as the Terps face Coastal Carolina in the team’s first true road series.
Friday’s game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m., Saturday’s game will kick off at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s finale will begin at 1 p.m.
Coastal Carolina University (4-3)
2019 record: 36-21-1 (15-13 Sun Belt)
Head coach Gary Gilmore has built a culture of winning at Coastal Carolina during his 24 years with the program. Gilmore’s tenure with the Chanticleers has brought them 11 Big South titles, two Sun Belt titles, 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, and a national championship in 2016. Coming off another conference title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019, the 2016 Coach of the Year will be looking to dismantle the Terps in Coastal’s first full home series of 2020.
Hitters to know
Senior infielder Scott McKeon has been an offensive powerhouse this season, only going a single game without a hit. McKeon leads the Chanticleers in hits, tallying 11 across his first seven games. The 6’0 infielder also holds a .393 batting average alongside a .429 slugging percentage and has gotten at least two hits in each of his past four games.
The senior out of Raleigh, North Carolina, has made quite the opening statement this season, and he will likely look to continue his efficient hitting against Maryland’s rotation this weekend.
Sophomore catcher BT Riopelle has been an offensive anchor for the Chanticleers this year, but it may not seem that way at first glance. The catcher started the season off going 3-for-20 at the plate over his first five games, but has heated up recently. In his past two starts, the sophomore has gone 4-for-7 with five RBIs.
In addition to his recent hitting efficiency, Riopelle is leading Coastal in total bases (16), home runs (2), and RBIs (7). Despite batting a quiet .259, the 6’0 sophomore will definitely be looking to make some noise against the Terps this weekend.
Freshman infielder Cooper Weiss has been an unlikely hero for the Chanticleers recently. After getting just one at bat through the team’s first three games, Weiss has made a statement. In his past three games, he’s gone 6-for-11 with two RBIs. In his most recent outing against West Virginia, the young infielder went 3-for-3 and scored three runs.
Although his past three games may be a small sample size, the freshman has made the most of his reps and has the power to be a serious threat against Vaughn’s squad.
Pitchers to know
Junior Zach McCambley has quickly established himself as the ace of the Chanticleers pitching staff by dominating Coastal’s opponents this season. McCambley has started the 2020 season on fire, posting an ERA of 2.08 and WHIP of 1.08 through a team-high 13 innings pitched. Most notably, however, the Pennsylvania native has thrown a combined 18 strikeouts in just two starts.
It looks like Maryland’s offense won’t be getting too many freebies from the 6’1 righty either, as he has only walked two of 52 batters faced.
Redshirt senior Scott Kobos is a familiar foe for Maryland, as he has pitched in the last two meetings between the Chanticleers and Terps in 2018 and 2019. After a junior year shortened by injury, Kobos has started off his final year of eligibility on solid ground by recording a 2.45 ERA through his first two starts. Like his teammate McCambley, the Charlotte native hasn’t been giving batters any easy plate appearances, only walking one in two games.
Despite the impressive numbers for the lefty, a glaring weak point has been the amount of hits he’s allowed. Kobos has given up 15 hits across two starts, a number Rob Vaughn and his squad will surely look to increase this weekend.
Sophomore Nick Parker rounds out Coastal Carolina’s deadly rotation, adding depth to an already-stacked pitching staff. In his last start against Kennesaw State, the Pennsylvania native struck out four batters over seven innings to help Coastal win 13-5. Coming off an average freshman campaign, Parker has begun his sophomore campaign as an x-factor on the bump. Posting a 2.70 ERA through 10 innings pitched, the young righty has established himself as a crucial presence on the mound for the Chanticleers.
While Parker has held opponents to below three runs in his two appearances, the .278 opposing batting average he allows will surely be something that Maryland’s offense wants to take advantage of.
They don’t like walking batters. Coastal Carolina is currently 43rd in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio, boasting a 3.47 K/BB. The Chanticleers only walked 17 batters through their first seven games, giving them 2.43 walks allowed per nine innings, which is the 23rd-best in the nation. Coastal’s pitching staff will likely look to attack the strike zone against Maryland’s bats.
Allowing hits. Although the Chanticleers have walked just 17 opposing batters, they have also given up 60 hits this season. With a home-run happy Costes in tow, the Terps have the potential to do some major damage to some balls in the strike zone this weekend.
Three things to know
1. A pitching duel is on the horizon. Maryland’s pitching has come out of the gates guns blazing this season, turning what was thought to be a stagnant rotation into a sucker punch of efficiency. But Coastal Carolina’s rotation is red hot in 2020, with all four starters averaging ERAs under three runs.
The clash between these two pitching staffs will serve as a good test for the younger arms in Maryland’s rotation, but it also highlights the possibility of low scoring games. Maryland and Coastal Carolina are neck-and-neck for combined ERAs, ranking 44th and 43rd in the country, respectively, so pitching will be at a premium.
2. Maxwell Costes is back in his groove. After going just 3-for-14 in his first five games, Costes has burst back on the scene. In his previous two games, the Baltimore native has gone 6-for-7 with four RBIs and three home runs.
“I’m seeing the ball really well,” Costes said. “I’m swinging at the pitches I should swing at and taking the pitches I should take.”
Costes also made a point of staying confident in the box and putting the barrel on the ball. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year seems to have broken out of an early sophomore slump at the perfect time, as Maryland will need all the firepower it has against the Chanticleers.
3. Is Zoellner Maryland’s wild card? Right-handed pitcher Elliot Zoellner has been the unsung hero of Maryland’s pitching staff this season. Of the 10 batters Zoellner has faced, none of them have reached reached base. In the most recent game against George Mason, the senior played a crucial role in Maryland’s win.
In addition striking out four batters, Zoellner retired every Patriot he faced in his 2.1 innings of play. The Annapolis native’s pitching performance gave Maryland the opportunity to build a lead and eventually take over the game. Following the contest, Vaughn had nothing but praise for the righty.
“I’ll get that guy in there as much as I can,” Vaughn joked after being asked about Zoellner’s availability for the upcoming series. “He threw about 30 pitches today, so technically he could probably be back on Friday, but more than likely it’ll be more of a Saturday/Sunday thing.”