Maryland baseball begins their Road to Omaha today in the Columbia regional. The Terps play Old Dominion at 1:00 today on ESPN3. Let’s take a look at the other three teams in the regional:
#1 South Carolina Gamecocks: South Carolina clearly deserves to host a regional. The Gamecocks play in the SEC, which is the best conference in college baseball, and they perform well year in and year out. This year has been no exception, as the Gamecocks finished the year at 42-16. South Carolina’s pitching staff has been lights out the second half of the year, and Jack Wynkoop and Wil Crowe will play big roles in determining how far the Gamecocks go. Jordan Montgomery is the team’s workhorse, and Joel Seddon has pitched to a 0.85 ERA out of the bullpen. Greyson Greiner and Kyle Martin lead the Gamecocks offensively, and Tanner English and Joey Pankake also are big contributors. Plain and simple, this is a very good Gamecocks team, and they will compete in every game they play.
#3 Old Dominion Monarchs: While the Monarchs don’t have a flashy record, they can hit. Four players in their lineup are batting over 300. PJ Higgins makes this team go; he leads the team with 75 hits. Nick Walker provides a power bat, and Josiah Burney gets on base at an astonishing .405 rate. Andy Roberts is a reliable
number one starter, and Ryan Yarbrough is a respectable number two. However, it seems unlikely that the Monarchs will go deep into the postseason, as they lack pitching depth behind Roberts and Yarbrough. However, ODU still has a chance to win a few games in Columbia, and they could give Maryland some trouble today.
#4 Campbell Fighting Camels: The Big South champions are no pushover in this regional either. The Camels achieved their 3rd straight 40-win season this year, and they finally are on the Road to Omaha for the first time since 1990. Campbell is unproven, so it is hard to know what to expect as they go up against the best in college baseball. The Camels are not an offensive-minded team, but senior Matt Nadolski is a player to watch, as he is hitting over .300 and he has some pop in his bat. However, the Camels have a dominant pitching staff. Workhorse Heath Bowers has thrown nearly 110 innings this year. Starters Ryan Koopman and Hector Cedano also boost sub-3.00 ERAs. Closer Ryan Thompson has been lights out, recording 17 saves and pitching to a sub-1.50 ERA. Campbell will rely heavily on him this weekend. The Camels will be an interesting team to watch. While they might not come away with the regional, they certainly could make a push and win a few games.
Maryland played well in the ACC Tournament, but they key to advancing out of Columbia will be Jake Stinnett and Mike Shawaryn. Stinnett will get the ball today against ODU, Shawaryn will most likely get it tomorrow. Maryland needs to win both games that Stinnett and Shawaryn pitch.
Regional play is double elimination. The winners of the Maryland-ODU game and the South Carolina-Campbell game will play in the winner’s bracket tomorrow, and the losers will play in the loser’s bracket.