We welcome in Todd Carton from SBNation's Maryland blog site Testudo Times to discuss the Terps' baseball squad. The Terps are one of the last teams in right now for the ACC Tournament, which means BC has the chance to play spoiler with a good weekend. The Eagles are also holding onto the chance for a conference tourney berth by the slimmest of margins. After winning their first ACC series of the year last week at NC State, the baseball boys host UMD for the final time as league foes. UMD - not my alma mater at UMass-Dartmouth.
On the field, inconsistency from the pitching staff beyond Jake Stinnett (Friday) and Mike Shawaryn (Saturday) that can blow up quickly as they did in the loss to West Virginia Tuesday night is a problem. Another is the lack of clutch hitting. The most egregious example is the 3-2 loss to Mount St. Mary's when they left 17 men on base including leaving the bases loaded in each of the last three innings.
BCI: With the exception of the Clemson series, the Terps have played well over the past month or so, including a sweep of NC State. What's been the secret to that success?
TT: Mainly, five words: Jake Stinnett and Mike Shawaryn. Stinnett has been a revelation this season. He came to Maryland as a third baseman and really just started pitching last season. By the end of the season, he'd worked his way to being the Sunday starter. Early in the season, he backed up an 8-inning one-hitter with a no-hitter. In the head-to-head with Carlos Rodon, the scouts came to see Rodon but left talking about Stinnett.
Shawaryn is just a freshman and has pitched with remarkable aplomb. He's come out on Saturday after, say, a 3-2loss on Friday and consistently left the Terps in position to win that game.
The other factor is that the hitters have woken up, especially Charlie White and Jose Cuas. White is critical because he sets the table and is always a threat to steal a base. He set the program record last season with 36 steals and is an absurd 20 for 21 this season. Cuas has emerged as a legitimate power threat and has 5 home runs on the season.
BCI: Brandon Lowe is hitting .344. What kind of impact can he have on a game?
TT: He's been another surprise. He's a redshirt freshman and has emerged as the team's leading hitter. He bats in the two hole so his biggest impact comes when Charlie White gets on base. As I noted above, White is always a threat to steal and Lowe is comfortable falling behind in the count to give him that opportunity. It's no coincidence that he's second on the team in RBI.
BCI: One thing I noticed about the Terps is their ability to win ballgames when leading late into the games (I think they're undefeated when leading after 6, 7, and 8 innings). When you look at the bullpen, who should we really keep an eye out to lock down opposing bats?
TT: This one's simple - Kevin Mooney. He's a sophomore and was named to the NCBWA preseason Stopper of the Year Award. He had nine saves last year and already has seven this yea.r One joke I have because I'm an older guy who grew up in Baltimore is that he reminds me of Don Stanhouse - the Orioles' closer Earl Weaver nicknamed Full Pack because of the pitcher's propensity to pitch himself into jams before getting the save. Weaver said when Stanhouse came into the game, he'd smoke a full pack of cigarettes because of this. Mooney's much the same - often makes things interesting but usually gets the job done.
Be sure to check out Testudo Times for all things Maryland as the baseball season winds down to its final pitch!