Friday, April 18, 2014

Stinnett, Terps Head into Tallahassee Confident, Ready for Opportunity

by John Vittas

Originally published for WMUC Sports (March 7, 2014)

The Terps enter this weekend’s series at No. 2 Florida State confident and riding a seven-game winning streak. Maryland has outscored their opponents 43-12 over that span.

“Our pitching’s been really good, obviously,” head coach John Szefc said. “Our defense has been pretty flawless too, we’re just trying to get some guys comfortable at the plate. We’re a little bit inconsistent offensively.”

Maryland swept UMass over the weekend, outscoring the Minutemen 17-3. Senior ace Jake Stinnett highlighted the series with the school’s seventh no-hitter Saturday, striking out nine and walking only two in the process. The California native will pitch Friday night against No. 2 Florida State.

“I feel really good about this team,” Stinnett said. “The vibe is very good. I can tell that we have a lot of guys that are confident in their ability and confident in this team and that’s something that’s contagious out on the baseball field. I see a lot of good things coming in the future."

Maryland’s only two losses have come against a nationally-ranked Florida Gators team. In years past, stealing one of three from a ranked team would be considered a success. But this year’s team was not happy with the result.

“After Florida, we were kind of kicking ourselves because we knew we could play better,” freshman pitcher Mike Shawaryn said.

Teammates echo those type of expectations. The Terps aren’t starstruck heading into Tallahassee. Instead, they view the No. 2 Seminoles as just another team in the way.

“We just see it as another game,” Sunday starter Jared Price said. “We’re very confident. We started off the season hot and we continue to get better every day.”

This year’s team is looking to finish with a winning record for the third consecutive season for the first time in 41 years. But that’s not the only goal. Two wins this weekend against the nation’s number two team should get the Terps into the top-25 and the national spotlight, as people in the game will start to view Maryland as a legitimate contender.

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