College Corner: Looking at top performers and results for each four-year program in Maryland - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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College Corner: Looking at top performers and results for each four-year program in Maryland

Photos courtesy of the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University and Salisbury University

The college baseball season has come to an end for most four-year colleges in Maryland. Six schools made the postseason and, so far, two have won their conference tournaments.

Of the 15 schools covered by BaltimoreBaseball.com, four finished with winning records while two failed to reach double-digit victories. Two programs remain in action, and have hopes of reaching the Division 1 World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Here’s how each Maryland program fared and the top performer at each school in 2017:

STILL PLAYING

University of Maryland

The Terps were 34-19 in the regular season, including an impressive 20-3 mark at home. Maryland was in and out of the Top 25 rankings, peaking at 22nd. The preseason conference favorite is seeded fourth entering the Big Ten Tournament, which began Wednesday in Bloomington, Ind. The Terps opener with Iowa was postponed from Wednesday to Thursday afternoon due to inclement weather.

Top Performer: Brian Shaffer (pictured above, left) went 7-3 in the regular season and was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. The junior right-hander and graduate of North Harford High School led the Terps in strikeouts (98) and complete games (2).

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University of Maryland, Baltimore County

While the Retrievers finished below .500 at 20-23, they were 11-9 in the America East Conference and qualified for the postseason. They’ve underperformed on the mound with a 6.01 team ERA, and rely on an offense that is hitting .292.

Top Performer: Andrew Casali led UMBC in several offensive categories, including at-bats (175), runs (30), hits (56) and triples (3). The senior outfielder batted .320, the second time the New Canaan, Conn., resident hit higher than .300 in a season (.315 in 2015).

SEASON COMPLETED

Coppin State University

The Eagles finished 11-31, three fewer wins than they had in 2016. Coppin failed to make the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, but picked up eight victories in conference play.

Top Performer: Nazier McIlwain led Coppin in almost every major offensive category, including batting (.377), runs (33), hits (57), doubles (11), home runs (3), RBIs (33) and walks (25). The sophomore first baseman was named to the All-MEAC Team and the All-Academic Team.

Frostburg State University

One year after winning 30 games and making a regional tournament appearance, the Bobcats went 17-19, winning eight games in the Capital Athletic Conference. Losers in seven of its last eight, Frostburg missed out on the conference tournament.

Top Performer: Greg Schneider was one of 10 pitchers in Division 3 baseball to surpass 100 strikeouts. He finished with 103, good for eighth most. The junior right-hander from Jefferson Hills, Pa., was 4-4 with a 2.93 ERA and was the only Bobcat named to the All-CAC First Team.

Hood College

For the first time in the program’s three-year history, the Blazers did not finish with a losing record. Hood was 20-20 overall and 9-12 against Middle Atlantic Conference opponents. The Blazers hit .305 as a team and had six players appear in at least 25 games while hitting above .300.

Top Performer: Cam Esposito, a junior outfielder from Columbia, N.J., led the Blazers in runs (42), hits (55), doubles (10) and triples (6). His efforts earned him MAC Commonwealth First Team honors.

Johns Hopkins University

Hopkins finished the season ranked second in the country with a 38-8 mark. The Blue Jays won the Centennial Conference and earned the top seed in the Mid-Atlantic Regional. After winning the first two games and upping its win streak to 21, Hopkins lost two straight, ending its season without a World Series trip.

Top Performer: Senior shortstop Conor Reynolds (pictured above, middle) hit .366 and led the Centennial Conference in walks (43), runs (58) and on-base percentage (.527). The Loyola Blakefield grad was named Conference Player of the Year and Mid-Atlantic Region Player of the Year, according to d3baseball.com.

McDaniel College

For the first time in three years, the Green Terror missed out on the Centennial Conference tournament. They were 13-22, winning only five games against conference opponents. McDaniel was a solid hitting ball club, though, with a team average of .312.

Top Performer: Graduate student and Sewell, N.J., native Nick Valori finished the season as the Conference leader in hitting at .419. The outfielder led McDaniel in runs (32), hits (57) and home runs (5). He received first team honors in the conference and was named to the All-Region third team by the ABCA.

Mount St. Mary’s University

The Mount couldn’t break double-digit wins this year, going 8-39 overall. They lost the first 14 games of the season and eight of their last 10 – the program’s eighth straight losing season.

Top Performer: Will Enrico, a senior catcher from Camp Hill, Pa., hit .312 in 41 games. His average, on-base percentage (.389) and slugging percentage (.424) were all top three on the team.

Salisbury University

The Sea Gulls started 2-4, but picked up the pace and finished 35-11 overall. They lost one game in the Capital Athletic Conference and captured the conference title. Salisbury earned the top seed in the South Regional, but was knocked out by Roanoke College. The Gulls finished the season ranked 10th in the country, according to d3baseball.com.

Top Performer: Pete Grasso, a senior two-way player, appeared in 45 games, recording team highs in hits (72), batting average (.381) and at-bats (189). On the mound, the right-hander was 9-1 with a team-best 2.17 ERA. Grasso (pictured above, left) was named the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the South Region Player of the Year by d3baseball.com.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland

The Seahawks couldn’t quite reach double-digit wins, finishing 9-22 and losing seven of their last eight. They hit .242 as a team and pitched to a 6.95 ERA.

Top Performer: Jay Hammett, a redshirt freshman from Coltons Point, Md., hit .345, good for the team lead. He also led the Seahawks in hits (38), doubles (10), home runs (3), RBIs (28), OBP (.402) and slugging percentage (.536).

Stevenson University

The Mustangs were 18-22, recording their fourth straight losing season. They won three fewer games than they did in 2016 and failed to make the MAC tournament. There were offensive bright spots: They hit .294 as a team, and scored 21 runs in their finale against Frostburg State. Head Coach Jason Tawney stepped down at the end of the season.

Top Performer: Kevin Kopas, a senior from Mt. Airy and graduate of Linganore High School, hit .396 and drove in 50 runs. He was a third team selection at first base on the ABCA Mid-Atlantic All-Region team.

Towson University

After a promising 6-1 start, the Tigers finished 20-34 and 6-18 in the Colonial Athletic Association. They hit .244, and only three players cracked the .300 mark. The pitching staff had a 6.25 ERA with an opposition’s batting average of .302.

Top Performer: Richie Palacios, a sophomore infielder from Brooklyn, N.Y., led the Tigers in numerous offensive categories including batting (.338), runs (43), hits (72), doubles (14), triples (3), home runs (5) and stolen bases (19).

United States Naval Academy

Navy finished 37-17, a six-win dropoff from last year when it made the NCAA tournament. The Midshipmen made the Patriot League postseason, but lost 4-1 and 5-0 to Bucknell University.

Top Performer: Travis Blue was one of two Midshipmen to start in all 54 games. The senior infielder from Orange, Calif., batted a team-best .343 while also leading Navy in hits (73), doubles (16) and at-bats (213).

University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

The Hawks went 12-40, but qualified for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference postseason. They lost their postseason contests by a combined score of 14-5. The Hawks struggled both at the plate, hitting .246, and on the mound, with a 6.76 ERA.

Top Performer: Ryan Rotondo, a sophomore infielder, was one of four players for UMES to play in 50 or more games. The Warwick, R.I., native hit .297 and was second on the team with 26 RBIs.

Washington College

At 15-23 overall and 6-12 in the Centennial Conference, the Shoremen finished ninth of 10 teams. They had a team batting average of .262.

Top Performer: Senior left-hander Billy Griffin was 4-3 with a 3.73 ERA. The Middletown High School graduate started 10 games and led the staff in innings (60 1/3), strikeouts (81) and wins (4). He was named to the Centennial Conference All-Sportsmanship team.

 

Worth mentioning

Towson head coach Mike Gottlieb was fired last week after 30 years guiding the Tigers. Towson has had a losing record each of the past four seasons since making the NCAA tournament in 2013. A national search for Gottlieb’s replacement is underway. … Maryland picked up several Big Ten accolades this week. Shaffer earned Pitcher of the Year and left-hander Tyler Blohm (Archbishop Spalding) won Rookie of the Year. Infielder AJ Lee (St. John’s, Washington D.C.) and outfielder Marty Costes (Archbishop Curley) also earned conference honors. … Hopkins senior catcher Ryan Orgielewicz was named the Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year by the ABCA. He hit 13 home runs this season, including four in the Mid-Atlantic Regional last week. … Head coach Bob Babb was named Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year.

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