(Photo via the UMD Twitter account, @TerpsBaseball)
The Maryland Terrapins baseball squad, led by head coach John Szefc, finished last season with a 38-23 record, including an impressive 20-3 home record, and a 15-9 record in Big 10 conference play. That was good enough for the Terps to make an NCAA Regionals appearance but nothing further as they went 1-2 and were knocked out by West Virginia. This season Maryland will look to improve on last year’s finish and reestablish themselves as regional champions.
Over the offseason the Terps suffered two major setbacks. Star pitcher Brian Schaffer signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks after being selected in the sixth round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Second, head coach John Szefc left the team to take the position of head coach for the Virginia Tech Hokies. Maryland, however, has already started the process of filling these gaps as former associate head coach for the Terps, Rob Vaughn, was named the new head coach for Maryland this year. The starting pitcher role still remains up for grabs however as frontrunner candidates Taylor Bloom and Tyler Blohm will look to take over as the team’s ace this year.
Returning Maryland players are coming back to the team this fall after finding success in a number of summer leagues across the country. The biggest success came for Marty Costes and Nick Dunn, who as teammates on the Brewster Whitecaps, were key parts in capturing the first Cape Cod League championship for the team since 2000.
Dunn, after hitting .261/.345/.384 last season with the Terps, was able to break out with the Whitecaps, slashing .333/.424/.431 over the summer netting him the best average on the team, and fourth best in the league. Meanwhile Costes showed his consistency this summer slashing .293/.427/.511 for the Whitecaps, similar to the .322/.429/.548 he hit for the Terps last spring. Pitchers Hunter Parsons, Tyler Blohm, and John Murphy all also made appearances in the Cape Cod league this summer.
With the graduation of Brandon Gum last spring the Terps will lose a productive bat in the lineup as he lead the team last season in both batting average (.338) and on-base percentage (.451). This year look for Zach Jancarski, Marty Costes, and Nick Dunn to pick up the slack and provide a solid core of offensive production.
There are plenty of freshman on this year’s squad who are looking to make their case for a starting spot in the coming years. Some of the highlights from this year’s class of 13 commits include Christopher Alleyne and Justin Vought who are joining the team as the number one shortstop prospect and number two catching prospect out of Pennsylvania respectively. Outfielder Randy Bednar and left-handed pitcher Grant Burleson are staying in-state and joining the Terps as the number five and seven prospects respectively from Maryland. Lastly, Drew Wilden joins the team this year as the number one left-handed pitcher and seventh overall prospect out of New Jersey.