Charlottesville Super Regional: Breaking down Maryland-UVA matchup

marylandGetting to know: The Terps Maryland has gone on the road in two tough environments and brought home a pair of regional championships the past two years – winning at South Carolina last year and then upsetting the #1 national seed UCLA last weekend.

Virginia is well-aware of how tough the Terps can be. Maryland defeated All-America lefty ace Nathan Kirby in Game 1 of the 2014 Charlottesville Super Regional before the Cavs came back to take the series in a deciding Game 3.

Maryland ace Mike Shawaryn (13-2, 1.66 ERA, 133K/108.2 IP) started Game 2 in the ’14 Super Regional, taking the loss after giving up five runs on 12 hits in six innings.

Shawaryn has been almost unhittable in 2015 – with a .199 opponent batting average and a 0.975 WHIP.

Closer Kevin Mooney has been even better, if that’s possible – a 1.21 ERA in 37.1 IP, a 3-0 record, 11 saves, a .131 opponent batting average, 47 strikeouts, the one issue being walks (22 in 37.1 innings is a big issue for a closer, actually).

Put those two together, and it’s hard to beat Maryland in a one-and-done scenario. But after Shawaryn, it’s a committee approach to getting innings. Taylor Bloom went six innings in the 2-1 regional clincher over UCLA on Monday, but neither of the starters in the Terps’ other two games in Los Angeles (Ryan Selmer and Brian Shaffer) got out of the third inning.

On offense, Maryland is led by Kevin Martir (.339/.434/.502, 7 HR, 44 RBI), Brandon Lowe (.329/.435/.545, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 11-13 SB) and Jose Cuas (.241/.328/.443, 11 HR, 53 RBI, 10-14 SB).

 

uva-logo-new2Getting to know: The Cavs Virginia, like Maryland, has an issue with depth at starting pitching, though it’s not nearly as pronounced for UVA. Connor Jones (6-2, 2.90 ERA, 101K/96.1 IP) has been lights-out since April 18, going 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in six starts (UVA is 5-1 in those games), with 50 strikeouts in 44.2 innings, and Brandon Waddell (3-5, 4.12 ERA)  had his best outing of 2015 in the Cavs’ 3-1 win over San Diego State, giving up a run on four hits in seven and a third, striking out five and walking two.

Virginia’s blueprint will resemble what we saw last weekend. Have Jones and Waddell get the ball to closer Josh Sborz (4-2, 2.02 ERA, 13 saves, .165 opponent batting average), and win in two.

The scary part for UVA is what happens if the series goes to a deciding Game 3. Alec Bettinger (4-5, 4.89 ERA) started the third game of the regionals last weekend, but failed to get an out before being lifted, being charged with five runs in an ugly a line as you’re going to see.

With Maryland having its own issues with starting pitching, it’s not as much an issue this weekend as it could be for UVA coach Brian O’Connor.

On offense, UVA is led by Matt Thaiss (.326/.420/.520, 9 HR, 59 RBI), Pavin Smith (.309/.378/.470, 6 HR, 40 RBI) and Kenny Towns (.299/.370/.457, 5 HR, 58 RBI).

 

Inside the Numbers

Offense: The Terrapins have a team .264/.368/.407 slash line with 52 homers, and score 6.05 runs a game. UVA has a team slash line of .273/.361/.378 with 32 homers, and the Cavs score 5.47 runs a game.

Pitching: Maryland’s team ERA is 3.23, with opponents batting .234 and a team WHIP of 1.33 UVA has a team ERA of 3.52, with opponents batting .237 and a team WHIP of 1.40.

Defense: Maryland’s team fielding percentage is .972 with 68 team errors, and the Terps gave up 64 unearned runs. Virginia’s team fielding percentage is .969 with 72 team errors, and the Cavs gave up 40 unearned runs.

– Preview by Chris Graham

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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