Maryland baseball will look for their fifth win in six days as the Saint Joseph’s Hawks come to College Park Wednesday for the first game in a home-and-home series.
The Hawks have yet to win a game in their nine contests. Meanwhile, the Terps are playing .500 ball despite starting out the season 1-5.
Shortstop Kevin Smith said that after the team dropped four games to No. 5 Louisville and No. 7 LSU, the players staged a meeting to “set some stuff straight.”
Since then, the Terps have won four straight and Smith has noticed a change in the dugout.
“I feel a lot of energy from guys off the bench, pitchers and everyone just trying to have a little more fun,” Smith said. “Everyone kind of gets more confidence and everyone cracks a few smiles here and on the field so that’s nice to see.”
This new energy was heard all throughout the weekend in the USA Baseball-Irish Classic. One instance was when designated hitter Nick Cieri stepped to the plate Saturday against then-No. 6 NC State.
“That’s a whole lot of cheese up there!” a player shouted from the dugout. Teammates call Cieri “cheese” solely because of his love for the deli item.
Reliever Ryan Hill said players feed off this spark from the dugout. So far, it seems to have a strong effect on the offense. The Terps have scored 33 runs in the last four games after struggling mightily against LSU.
Head coach John Szefc said he’s seen improvements from the pitching staff and on defense, but the most notable change comes from the offense.
“Our guys are getting to the point offensively where it’s getting difficult for a pitching staff to get them out 27 times,” Szefc said.
Some players in the lineup started out slowly, but have come around in the past few games. Szefc said that’s to be expected when playing teams like Louisville and LSU.
Smith and second baseman Nick Dunn both have seen improvements. Smith is coming off his third straight multi-hit game, while Dunn recorded six hits in the last two games.
The Terps hope this growth will leak over to the mound for sophomore right-hander Cameron Enck, who will make his first start of the season Wednesday.
Enck has pitched in two games thus far and has surrendered seven earned runs and eight hits in just 2.1 innings pitched.
Opposite of Enck will be Hawks right-hander Hayden Seig. The 6-foot-5 freshman has ceded seven earned runs in 5.2 innings while striking out six.
Szefc said that left-hander Andrew Miller and right-hander Jared Price will be available out of the bullpen Wednesday. Both have pitched 4.1 innings, and neither has allowed a run—Price hasn’t even allowed a hit.The bullpen will need those two after Tayler Stiles, Ryan Selmer, Mike Rescigno and Ryan Hill all combined for 7.1 innings Tuesday.
Maryland and Saint Joseph’s will take the field at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
Edited by Connor Mount.
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