Diamond Scouting Report: Maryland
May 16, 2012
Jared King and the Hoos hope to close the ACC season with a series win at Maryland.
The Virginia baseball team came within one out of a home sweep over Georgia Tech this past weekend. But, like the UC Irvine Super Regional game last year, baseball is a game of 27 outs, not 26, and the Hoos lost the finale 5-4 in 10 innings. Now, the Hoos travel to College Park to face the Maryland Terrapins in the final ACC series of the 2012 season beginning on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Here is a brief scouting report on the Terps.
Maryland Scouting Report
2012 Results to date: 31-22, 9-18 in ACC competition. Most recently, the Terps beat PSU 7-3 in a rain-shortened game of 5 innings prior to an 8-day exam break leading up to the Virginia series.
2011 Results: 21-35, 5-25 in ACC competition. The Terps did not make the ACC Tournament nor the NCAA Tournament in 2011.
2011 Series with Virginia: Virginia swept Maryland in three games in late March 2011 in Charlottesville.
Outlook: Coach Erik Bakich began his third year in leading Maryland baseball back to respectability. He has brought in top-25 recruiting classes in two of his first three years at Maryland, and has greatly improved the pitching staff talent (ERA of 7.39 in 2010, 5.24 in 2011, and 2.99 in 2012 to date.) In 2012, the Terps got off to a great start winning 11 of their first 12 games, including an opening series win against UCLA in Los Angeles. But when the ACC season started, Maryland promptly lost the first four ACC series, three of which were away series. In fact, the Terps have lost all five of their away ACC series this season. At home, Maryland was swept by both UNC and Clemson, but it beat NC State and Duke. This series with UVa is moved up a day to Thursday through Saturday due to the ACC Tournament starting the following Wednesday.
Coach Bakich had to replace two of his weekend starters from 2011 and 8 of 9 starting position players. In addition, the lone position starter holdover from last year, CF Charlie White (.304 in 2011, but only .203 in 2012), started the first 17 games of the 2012 season and has not played in a game since the Terps started the ACC portion of their season. It is a credit to the Maryland coaching staff for such a major overhaul in their starters that they are still in the mix for an ACC Tournament berth in the last series of the regular season.
Pitching: Maryland's team strength is its pitching staff. Senior RHP Brian Harman returned in 2012 after sitting out all of last season following "Tommy John" surgery. He is 6-3 this year with an ERA of 2.72 in 76 IP and will be one of the starting pitchers against the Hoos in this last series of the regular season. Senior RHP Sander Beck moved from primary reliever to a starting role in 2012 and is 5-2 with an ERA of 2.77 in 52 IP. Lately though, Beck has been moved back to a primary reliever role and the Terp closer, junior LHP Jimmy Reed (1-3, 2.85 ERA, 53 IP, 8 saves), could be one of the starting pitchers against the Hoos. He started the first game against FSU recently in Tallahassee. Senior RHP David Carroll (big guy at 6'8") also returned to a starting role and has improved his record and ERA in 2012 to 4-3 and 3.96 ERA over his 5-5 record and 4.70 ERA from 2011. He has pitched 63 innings in 12 starts, so he has not gone very deep into most games he's started. In their last ACC series against FSU in Tallahassee, the Terrapins started another senior RHP, Michael Boydon (2-3, 3.44 ERA, 49 IP) on Saturday in place of Carroll.
I would not be surprised to see any combination of these five pitchers as starters against Virginia, with the non-starters coming in at the first sign of trouble. The other primary relief pitchers for Maryland are senior LHP Cory Wacker (5-0, 1.88 ERA, 24 IP) and junior RHP Charlie Haslup (5-4, 2.32 ERA, 42 IP). Wacker is also the starting CF when not pitching. The Maryland pitching staff ERA is 2.99, which is good for third best in the ACC (Virginia is 5th at 3.31). Terp pitchers have walked 185 and struck out 371 compared to Virginia with 157 walks and 399 strikeouts.
Batting/Fielding: Offensively, Maryland has struggled at the plate at times and has only one starting position player batting over .300. Junior RF Jordan Hagel is batting .311 and leads the Terps in hits with 59. As mentioned, Wacker starts in CF now in place of White and he is hitting .262. Freshman Matt Bosse starts in LF and is hitting .210. In the infield, freshman K.J. Hockaday (.297) starts and 3B, senior Alfredo Rodriguez (.299) starts at SS, sophomore Kyle Convissar (.281) starts at 2B and senior Tomo Delp (.258) starts at 1B. The Maryland catcher is junior Jack Cleary (.292) and the normal DH is sophomore Tim Kiene (.246) who leads the Terps in HRs with 6.
The Maryland team batting average is .267, which is 9th best in the ACC. By comparison, Virginia leads the ACC with a team batting average of .300. Both teams are aggressive on the base paths, and Maryland has been slightly more successful in stolen bases (74 of 96 attempts) compared to Virginia (64 of 92 attempts). But teams have not run very much on the Terp pitchers and catchers (only 26 stolen bases in 58 attempts against Maryland).
Defensively, Maryland has been very solid considering all the new position players. The Terps fielding percentage is .973 which is tied with Virginia for the best fielding average in the ACC. Virginia has made the fewest errors (53) in the ACC, but Maryland (54) is right there and has played three more games.
Prediction: This ACC series means a great deal to both teams. Virginia needs to win at least one game to lock up second place in the Coastal Division. Maryland is one of five teams vying for the last two spots in the ACC tournament. The Terps are one game behind Wake Forest and two games behind both Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Maryland needs to sweep Virginia and hope that Miami sweeps Georgia Tech and UNC sweeps Virginia Tech. The Terps do not hold a tie-breaker advantage against anyone, so one loss to Virginia and the Terps will miss the ACC Tournament. For that reason, it would not surprise me to see their best pitcher (Harman) start the first game on Thursday against the Hoos after their exam break. Who starts for Maryland after game one will depend on the outcome of that first game. With a loss on Thursday, it really won't matter who starts for them because they will be playing for pride only then.
In past years, the Virginia coaching staff has tweaked the Hoo pitching rotation for the final ACC series to get the staff set up for the ACC Tournament and postseason play. This year, I don't think the Cavaliers have the starting pitching depth to make any adjustments at this stage, so I expect that Branden Kline will start the first game against Maryland on Thursday and then be ready for game one of the ACC Tournament should Virginia play on the opening day the following Wednesday. I would think that Kyle Crockett would be the first guy out of the bullpen on Thursday when needed to put the maximum focus on winning that first game. If the Hoos win on Thursday, I could see Artie Lewicki possibly moving up a day to start game two against Maryland on Friday to be in position to start game 2 of the ACC Tournament. That would leave Scott Silverstein to start on Saturday with Shane Halley waiting in the wings when needed. However, should the Hoos lose the Thursday game against the Terps, I think Lewicki might be saved until the Saturday game.
The starters and rotation for the ACC Tournament games will be clearer after this final ACC series and Sunday's announcement on what teams are the opponents in the pool group with Virginia. I will discuss these options further and have an ACC Tournament preview scouting report next Tuesday.
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