Terp Looks to Continue Baseball’s New Successby Liam Farrell | photo by John T. Consoli
Sophomore pitcher Mike Shawaryn has a simple goal whenever he takes the mound: command the strike zone. But since coming to Maryland two years ago, he has done more than that—his arm controls the whole diamond.
Sharwaryn is helping create a new era for Terp baseball. The All-American led the ACC and set the Maryland single-season record in 2014 with 11 wins—a milestone not even reached by Terps who later played in the major league. It was the most successful season in Maryland history; the team fell just one game short of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.
“You didn’t realize how precious that moment was until after the season,” he says. “You just think, ‘That was a special ride.’”
Shawaryn is enjoying another special ride this season. By mid-May, he was 11-1 with a 1.71 era and 108 strikeouts. Opponents were hitting just .203 when facing his arm.
As a high schooler in New Jersey, he won four consecutive state titles and had three no-hitters in his senior year. Recruited by baseball powerhouses like Louisiana State, Miami and Vanderbilt, and drafted in 2013 by the Kansas City Royals, Shawaryn says he came to Maryland because he could get an education, play at a high level and be close to home.
Helping to end a 43-year drought of postseason play, and to secure the Terps’ first-ever series win by sweeping South Carolina—snapping the Gamecocks’ 28-game home postseason winning streak in the process—wasn’t on his mind when he got to College Park.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” he says. “There is something to be said for being the first (to accomplish something) at a program.”
The college baseball world took notice, as sports media picked the Terps to win the Big Ten this year, and some ranked the squad in the preseason top 15. With just a handful of games left, the Terps were hanging around the top 25 and tied for third in conference standings.
The challenge during the whole season for Coach John Szefc, now in his third year, is to make sure the players stick to the same daily grind that earned them last year’s success.
“I don’t think you have a lot of monstrous egos around here. Mike is a great example of that,” Szefc says. “The guy knows nothing but winning championships (from high school). And that’s how we try to treat it.”
Not surprisingly, Shawaryn echoes that sentiment. Making history is nice, but winning championships is better.
“We want to make it to Omaha and do something special,” he says.
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