Maryland baseball looks to raise its level of play against Coastal Carolina

Maryland baseball started its 2019 season 5-0 in midweek games, concluding with an 8-4 midweek record as the Terps returned to the Big Ten Tournament.

The Terps faltered, however, after taking two straight from Elon on March 19-20, going 3-4 the final two months of the season.

This season, Maryland started on the right foot against George Mason, outscoring the Patriots 10-2 in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to put the exclamation point on a 13-3 blowout win despite some sloppy play in the field and missed opportunities at the plate.

Now, the Terps will look to take that momentum into the weekend, facing a familiar foe in Coastal Carolina.

“We gotta keep challenging ourselves every single day to just measure ourselves against our best brand of baseball,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “If we do that, I think you live with the score either way. That’s what I want to see moving forward.”

The Terps will see them the Chanticleers times, starting on Saturday as Maryland faces right-handed starting pitcher Zach McCambley, an MLB Draft prospect who has struck out 18 in 13 innings this season with a 2.08 ERA.

McCambley is easily the best pitcher that the Terps have seen so far — and a point of focus for the squad.

“The difference is that when you’re facing McCambley on Friday night, you might not get seven innings worth of opportunities like we got [against George Mason],” Vaughn said. “A game could be won or lost in the first or second inning on offense or defense, just cause he’s that kind of arm.”

The Terps will throw left-hander Sean Fisher, who has shined in his first two collegiate starts this season. He’s giving up one earned run in 11.2 innings, holding batters so far to a .195 average against him. He still has room to improve, but pitch into the sixth and seventh inning is a good sign for a reliever-turned-starter.

“I’m really just trying to be efficient,” Fisher said. “Limiting big innings and endings guys’ at-bats quicker is the biggest thing.”

Behind him is a Maryland lineup that has already scored double-digit runs twice this season and has scored eight runs or more in five of its first seven games. Right now, the Terps are hitting just .244 as a team, but are averaging eight runs a game. But the hits have been big when they’ve come, as Maryland has hit seven home runs in its last four games.

However, on defense, Maryland has been less consistent, committing 13 errors as a team, more than double its opponents’ total. 

“The biggest thing we’re looking to improve on is our defense,” outfielder Randy Bednar said. “Trying to help our pitchers out any way we can, especially Fisher going out on Friday night. It’s important, having that trust behind them.”