See also: Super Regional scoreboard
Maryland (39-21) at No. 3 Virginia (47-13)
Saturday: Noon (ESPN2)
Sunday: Noon (ESPN2)
Monday: 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Coach: John Szefc.
Postseason History: 1st super regional appearance. Seeking 1st trip to Omaha.
Postseason Route: No. 2 seed in Columbia Regional. Won in three games, beating South Carolina in the final.
(Anonymous coach breaks down the Terps)
"You've got two electric arms with pitchability on the front end with Stinnett and Shawaryn. I think their middle bullpen is a little suspect, but their closer can be pretty electric too. They bring a blue-collar mentality, they're scrappy, fight you tooth and nail, and they've got a little bit of mojo going on right now too.
"Shawaryn, I'm going to say is an 88-92 guy with a really good straight change, pitches to both sides of the plate, and a breaking ball, it's a three-pitch mix. He has really good poise for a true freshman, he's a physical freshman, a lot of poise and knows how to pitch. Stinnett, it's power, electric stuff. He has really good shape on the breaking ball. I think the fastball can get up to 95 or maybe 96, but it's gonna live at 92 with late life and tilt. He's got a little extra gear out there on the mound, and it's three pitches.
"Kevin Mooney, the closer, has a fastball and a real hard 12-6 curveball, really does a good job of pounding the bottom of the zone and not afraid to throw the breaking ball at any time in the count. I think as a staff, with Szefc, (Jim) Belanger and Rob Vaughn, all three of them do an outstanding job of preparing their guys, and when it comes to game time, they let them play. If there is a weak link, it will be their middle bullpen. I think they like their first two starters and their closer, but that's probably where you get them.
"White is a scrappy lefthanded guy that can bunt his way on, can hurt you with a double or triple in the gap, but he's going to fight pitches and really grind out at-bats. Wade doesn't show a lot of home runs, but the power is there, he's a good gap-to-gap line drive hitter. Lowe is not your typical 3-hole guy, but again, a gap-to-gap, grind-it-out, lefthanded bat. Cuas got hot in the tournament, he's got sneaky pop, a little bit of a free-swinger, but playing with a lot of energy in the postseason. Schmit is their silent MVP. Offensively, defensively, he's what Maryland baseball's about. He's that blue-collar grinder guy, I think he's a college senior, probably been told 'no' more than he's been told 'yes,' and he's out to prove something.
"The other guys, Lewis and Papio and Cieri, give you a look from the left side, they'll fight some pitches, move runners with bunts and hitting behind, they're real good situational hitters. Martir, who they hide in the 9-hole, plays a little like Cuas, a bit of a free-swinger, but he's got a chance to run into stuff. His main job is to take care of that pitching staff, and really does a good job as a defensive catcher. They are really strong up the middle, I really like Wade over at first. But the strength of the defense is that shortstop; he's a grinder."
Coach: Brian O’Connor
Postseason History: 5th super regional appearance (2nd straight). Seeking 3rd trip to Omaha.
Postseason Route: No. 1 seed in Charlottesville Regional. Won in three games, beating Arkansas in the final.
|3B||John La Prise||L||So.||.383||.429||.468||1||14||12||21||5|
(anonymous coach breaks down the Cavs)
"I think when you're building a team, this team screams, "Omaha." It screams, "national championship." From an offensive standpoint, you have a complete balance of power and speed. You have an approach to hitting, and different approaches throughout the lineup, which drives opposing pitching coaches nuts. It's not just a gorilla ball team or a manufacture-runs team, there's balance. When you have that, and you have the left and right matchups, it can drive an opposing pitcher nuts. You combine that with a talented pitching staff, a team that plays with energy, a team that plays defense, a team that looks hungry, there's a reason why they're very successful.
"I think one of the biggest challenges in collegiate baseball is when you deal with injuries, when you're dealing with student-athletes, getting them all to click at the same time. There's no doubt, without Fisher in the lineup, they were a different lineup. I think with him back in there, they're a very scary lineup. They're dealing with a lot. They're dealing with the pressure of having the No. 1 (preseason) ranking on their chest, the draft pressure. But at the end of the day, they have a lot of talent, diversity, speed, power.
"Cogswell's a grinder, a college grinder. He's going to work the count and use all fields. He's a threat to drive a double in the gap, but also to eat up some pitches from your starter, drop a bunt down. Pinero is a talented freshman, has the ability to use all fields, hit behind runners, move runners, drop a bunt down. Then you have guys in scoring position and you're facing Papi, McCarthy, Fisher, which is dangerous for anybody. When you've got two potential first-rounders hitting in the three- and five-hole, give me another team in the country that has that. Papi's a disciplined power guy, with the ability to be patient and run up pitch counts of a starting pitcher. If you try to pitch around him, now you have multiple guys on base with McCarthy and Fisher coming up.
"If they don't drive the ball out of the yard, their singles can turn into doubles in a hurry because they can run. The biggest piece of that puzzle was when they got Fisher back, it got a lot of guys to breathe a little bit. He has the ability to beat out a ground ball, turn a double into a triple, or drive the ball out of the yard. It's a beautiful thing. Then when you get past him, with Towns or La Prise at third, Downes, Irving—those are experienced college guys. Irving, a nine-hole guy who has caught a bit for Team USA, he does a good job moving runners down in the bottom of the order. Downes is a guy who has hit for serious pop in his career. La Prise and Towns are college grinders. When they were missing a guy or two in their lineup, Downes might have been trying to do too much, and he was dealing with some injuries, but there's no doubt the power is there, and when he does get ahold of it, it's scary. When you make a mistake, he makes you pay.
"Defensively you've got a Team USA catcher, a veteran, an iron horse behind the plate who does a good job controlling the staff. Cogswell moved from short to second this year because it was the best fit for the team, you've got a freshman with outstanding range who looks like a future Cal Ripken out there (Pinero). You've got your veteran guys on the corners, then three gazelles running around in the outfield. They have spacious gaps, and they play their funky shifts, but man, they cover serious ground.
"Kirby, No. 1, he's lefthanded. No. 2, he's got a little edge to him on the mound, and he's done a great job of taking on that role. It's electric stuff, it's lefthanded, power stuff. He pitches to both sides of the plate, uses all three pitches, got great angle, got velocity. You take him in combination with the other lefty, the pitchability lefty (Waddell), and I guess Lewicki is in the rotation now. Either way, it's four quality guys, with (Josh) Sborz and Lewicki, two left and two right, all with quality stuff. Waddell's a Tommy Glavine type, pitchability lefthander.
"Connor Jones has a live arm, power fastball-slider guy, good build, good arm for a freshman. He's done a good job in that bridge-the-gap role for an inning or two. (Whit) Mayberry, that's the thing, their other bullpen guys are experienced guys, so they've been around the block a little bit. They know what it takes to compete at a high level. If they don't get the start they want, those can hold you at bay until they can chip away. Then you finish it off with maybe the most elite closer in college baseball. Howard has a power slider, above-average major league fastball, and he's an athlete on the mound in the late innings that can field the bunt and hold runners. He's got a mentality of, hey, it's game over."