The college baseball season has reached its midway point.
Through hundreds of games involving Maryland teams, there have been plenty of surprises, disappointments and outstanding individual performances.
Here’s what’s happened so far, how local colleges have fared and which players have most impacted their teams.
Coppin State University: Overall (5-14), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (4-2).
The Eagles lost 10 of 11 to begin the season. They rebounded once conference play began, going 4-3. They’ve been paced by Nazier McILwain, a sophomore first baseman from Passaic, N.J., who is leading the team in hitting (.414), runs (17), hits (24), doubles (3), home runs (3) and RBIs (20).
Frostburg State University: (11-10), Capital Athletic Conference (3-5).
The Bobcats look very different from two years ago, when they made it to Appleton, Wis., for a Division 3 College World Series appearance. They’ve hit .302 as a team, but a struggling pitching staff is a big reason for the near .500 start. Preseason All-American Greg Schneider, a right-hander who was featured in our “Players to Watch” piece, is 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA in seven starts.
Hood College: (5-11), MAC Commonwealth Conference (1-5).
The Blazers, who are in their third year of existence, have had another slow start. They picked up a good win early in the season against Catholic University, a team that has been receiving votes in the d3baseball.com Top 25 poll, but have really struggled in conference play. Freshman outfielder Josh Greenberg has been a bright spot, hitting .431 in 15 games. He’s leading the team in hits, and is tied for the lead in doubles and RBIs.
Johns Hopkins University: (14-5), Centennial Conference (0-0).
Johns Hopkins has had a great start and is ranked 19th in the country. The Jays have three wins against Top 10 teams, including wins against the top two Division 3 squads on the same day. They’ve relied on a surprisingly good offense, led by several seniors including Conor Reynolds. A Loyola Blakefield grad, Reynolds has reached base 33 times in his last 11 games.
University of Maryland: (15-8), Big Ten Conference (2-1).
The preseason Big Ten favorites struggled early, losing five of their first six, including a brutal weekend in Baton Rouge, La., where they were swept by LSU. Since then, the Terps have gone 14-3 overall, and 10-1 at home. The Terps have relied heavily on their starting rotation of North Harford’s Brian Shaffer (pictured above), Taylor Bloom (Riverdale Baptist) and Tyler Blohm (Archbishop Spalding). The local trio has combined for 10 wins and 96 strikeouts in 18 starts.
University of Maryland Baltimore County: (5-11), America East Conference (2-1).
UMBC had a nightmare start to the season, losing nine of 10. Since then, the Retrievers have won four of six, including two of three against conference opponent Albany. Junior outfielder Collin Stack is hitting .290 and leads the team with 18 hits and 11 runs scored.
University of Maryland Eastern Shore: (3-20), Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (1-5).
The Hawks lost their first 10 and have yet to win a road game in 14 tries. They’re currently on a nine-game losing skid. Westminster’s Wesley Martin (Winters Mill) has done his part, though. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound freshman has picked up two of the Hawks’ three wins and leads the team in starts and innings pitched while posting a 3.53 ERA in seven games.
McDaniel College: (8-8), Centennial Conference (0-0).
The Green Terror lost a lot of talent from their 2016 squad, so growing pains seemed inevitable. After a 4-8 start, including a 2-6 spring trip to Florida, McDaniel has won four straight. Outfielder Nick Valori, a graduate student from New Jersey, is hitting .436 and leads the team with 24 hits and 16 RBIs.
Mount St. Mary’s University: (4-15), Northeast Conference (2-4).
The Mountaineers started their season with 14 straight road games, losing each one. They finally got some home cooking last weekend, and have won four of five, including two in the conference against LIU Brooklyn. Zach Call, a senior right-hander from Huntingtown High School (Calvert County), has picked up three of the team’s four victories.
United States Naval Academy: (16-9), Patriot League (0-0).
After a 3-7 start, the Midshipmen have thrived, capturing 13 of their last 15. That included an 11-game winning streak. They haven’t begun conference play, but no other team in the Patriot League has a winning record. Navy is batting .306 as a team with six starters hitting above .300. Right-hander Noah Song has been great, going 4-1 with 48 strikeouts in six starts.
Salisbury University: (17-7), Capital Athletic Conference (9-1).
The Seagulls have played a tough schedule, but have held their own. They’ve been in and out of the Top 25 this season, but are currently standing tall near the top of their conference. An experienced roster, and one that includes a trio of Division 1 transfers, is a big reason why. Seniors Pete Grasso and Tom LaBriola (Huntingtown High) are hitting above .300 while sophomore infielder Jack Barry (Reservoir High) is leading the team with a .378 average.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland: (6-13), Capital Athletic Conference (0-8).
The Seahawks have had a bit of a rough season so far, especially in the conference, where they are winless. They’ve played some tough teams, such as Salisbury and Randolph-Macon (Va.) College, and are 0-5 in those games. Freshmen Zach Thompson (Archbishop Spalding) and Matt Bieler (Bowie) give the Seahawks hope for the future.
Stevenson University: (6-13), MAC Commonwealth Conference (1-5).
The Mustangs have lost their last seven games and are at the bottom of their conference. Pitching is a big reason for the lackluster season; their cumulative ERA is 7.60. Senior outfielder Kevin Kopas (Linganore High) is leading the team in hitting (.438) and RBIs (22).
Towson University: (9-11), Colonial Athletic Association (0-0).
Towson won six of its first seven, but has slowed some while playing tough opponents such as East Carolina University and the University of Virginia. The Tigers were riding a six-game losing streak until a comeback win against Coppin State on Wednesday. The Tigers lack solid overall numbers on both sides of the ball, with a low team batting average and a high ERA. Sophomore infielder Richard Miller is hitting .304, while right-hander Kevin Ross (Good Counsel) has a 2.05 ERA in five starts.
Washington College: (9-10), Centennial Conference (0-0).
One of two teams in the Centennial Conference with a losing overall record, the Shoremen have won two straight as they are about to enter conference play. Seniors Charlie Meder and Evan Hirschbaum are each hitting above .300, as are freshman Ryan Zwier, sophomore Wes Robertson and sophomore Luke D’Ostilio. On the mound, senior lefty Billy Griffin (Middletown) and righty Logan Dubbe (Glenelg) have combined for five of the team’s wins.
BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Top Performers of the Week
Jordan Lawson, LHP, Mount St. Mary’s University
Grad. Student/Harrisburg, Pa./Cedar Cliff HS
Lawson dazzled on the mound Wednesday against the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound lefty threw nine strong innings, allowing one run and striking out four in what was his second start of the season. He didn’t factor into the decision, but his team won in extra innings, 2-1.
Charlie Meder, OF, Washington College
Sr./Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Ludlowe HS
Meder hit .333 last week over three games. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound outfielder drove in nine runs while scoring three times. He hit a grand slam against Gallaudet on Saturday in a 9-4 victory. He also recorded his 100th career hit last weekend. He was named, “Shoreman of the Week.”
Alex Ross, LHP, Johns Hopkins University
Jr./San Ramon, Calif./De La Salle HS
Ross started against Plymouth State in Fort Myers, Fla., last Thursday and struck out a career high 13 in 7 1/3 innings. That’s the fourth-most strikeouts by one pitcher in school history for a nine-inning game. The 6-foot, 210-pound southpaw, who is in his first year in the rotation, didn’t get a decision as the Blue Jays lost, 4-3.
Moments worth mentioning
The Terps took two of three in their conference opener against the University of Michigan last weekend in College Park. They won the first two, but fell to the Wolverines on Sunday in what was their first loss at home this season. … Navy senior catcher, Adrian Chinnery was selected as a candidate for the 2017 Senior CLASS Baseball award. To be nominated for the “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School” award, a candidate must be a senior at the Division 1 level and have excelled in areas of community, classroom, character and competition. … McDaniel mounted an impressive comeback against Hood on Wednesday. Down 12-3 in the sixth, the Green Terror scored 13 unanswered runs, including four in the top of the 10th. Freshman Tim Griest had four hits, including his first collegiate homer, four RBIs and four runs scored.
Matchup to watch
Frostburg State and Salisbury will meet Saturday for a conference doubleheader in Frostburg. It’s a rematch of the 2016 Capital Athletic Conference championship that Salisbury won. First pitch is set for noon.