Friday, April 18, 2014

Tayler Stiles the Latest Freshman Pitcher to Dominate Ranked Opponent

by John Vittas

Originally Published for WMUC Sports (March 19, 2014)

Mike Shawaryn isn't the only freshman pitcher baffling powerhouse ACC lineups in 2014. Add Tayler Stiles to the list.

Stiles pitched four and one-third scoreless innings in relief Saturday, earning the win in Maryland's 3-2 upset victory over No. 13 North Carolina.

"Every time any good team comes in here it's going to be a little nerve-racking," Stiles admitted. "Especially going out there with bases loaded and two outs. I'd say I was nervous but I handled it well and battled through it."

Stiles began his day Saturday by stranding three Tarheel runners to help fellow freshman Mike Shawaryn. Stiles pitched all of his four and one-third innings in a tie game. The outing was the longest of Stiles' career.

Courtesy of Christian Jenkins / The Diamondback
"I felt tired because I wasn't used to throwing that much," he said. "But I stuck with my fastball and kept trying and command the zone."

Stiles (2-0) followed it up with another scoreless outing Tuesday, picking up the save against Delaware. Heading into Wednesday's clash with UMBC, Stiles has allowed just 12 base runners in 12 innings this season, pitching to a 1.50 ERA in seven relief appearances.

Tayler grew up in Prince George's County, playing for Bishop McNamara, where he earned several impressive accolades, including Player of the Year honors for both the conference and the county.

"I always rooted for the Terps," Stiles said. "I came to the basketball games, a few of the football games. They were always on my side."

Stiles ventured just over the border into Montgomery County this summer, playing for the Silver Spring/Takoma Park T-Bolts of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. The league features primarily Division I talent, and Stiles had little trouble adapting. As one of the youngest players in the league, the rising freshman pitched to a 2.33 ERA over 34 and two-third innings. He allowed just 27 hits and struck out 36.

"The Ripken League was great," Stiles said. "Playing against Division I college baseball players before I even got to college was huge for me. I loved playing in the Cal Ripken League, I loved everything about it."

When asked what the key to success is, Stiles' answer was simple.

"Ever since I've been pitching, all my coaches have preached preparation," he said. "Preparation is the key to all success. I'm doing everything I can in between outings, doing my running, doing my lifting, eating properly, because I just feel that preparation is the most important thing."

Stiles and the Terps will be in action against another ranked team this weekend when No. 11 NC State comes to College Park for a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 pm.

To view Stiles' player profile, click here.
To listen to Stiles' interview from Sunday, click here.

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