If Maryland baseball fans (LOLOL, right? "Maryland baseball fans") could point to one thing this season that has contributed the most to their success it would most certainly be their pitching staff. That is, if you can get them away from their crab cakes and football long enough to talk, and find one that didn't discover Maryland baseball on Sunday night.
Most UVa fans have come to appreciate and adore excellent pitching. This year, Maryland has had just that thanks in large part to their three weekend starters: SO Jake Drossner, SR Jake Stinnett, and FR Mike Shawaryn. Combined, those three have accounted for 22 of Maryland's 39 wins and have started 42 of their 62 games.
Stinnett has been the ace of the Terps staff and is who UVa will see Saturday afternoon when the two teams square off in Game 1 of the Super Regionals. Stinnett's 2.65 ERA is good enough for 2nd on the Maryland roster, but blows away the rest of the team with 130 strikeouts. Those 130 strikeouts are also good enough for 3rd best in the country. His 0.94 WHIP and .192 batting average against aren't thing to slouch at either.
Luckily for UVa, they have already seen Stinnett, in the ACC tournament. Although he struck out 10 over 8 innings, he surrendered 4 runs on 10 hits, and ultimately got the win. The 10 Ks are worrisome, but playing in Greensboro allowed Maryland to take advantage of the Little League field and score more runs than would likely have been scored if the game was in Charlottesville.
However, the staff's impressive numbers don't stop there. As a team, they have a 3.36 ERA which is the 64th best in the country and a 1.24 WHIP which is 33rd best in the country. Those numbers are good, but need to be looked at in a different way. That 3.36 ERA is actually the 9th best ERA in the ACC, and the 1.24 WHIP is significantly worse than the 1.13 WHIP Arkansas had and slightly better than the 1.25 WHIP Bucknell had. The numbers are good, but UVa has seen better more times than not already this season.
Where Maryland is better than most other teams, is the strikeout department. Their 8.34 strikeout per nine inning ratio is the 9th best ratio in the country. In comparison, the Hoos only have an 8.2 K/9 number. Luckily for UVa fans, the Hoos combat the strikeout the best in the ACC, only striking out 4.88 times per game.
In the end, Maryland is going to get their strikeouts earn their bases by crowding the plate to get hit. The question will be whether UVa can limit the damage done by those HBPs and score enough runs to outpace the Terrapins.