WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Deacs are known for their power hitting, having slugged 96 home runs this season — good for second in the nation, as five players have hit double-digit dingers.
The Maryland Terrapins are similarly as prolific on the base paths, ranking 11th in the NCAA with 101 stolen bases on the season. They have five players in double digits, led by leadoff hitter Zach Jancarski’s 20 stolen bases.
"Well, Rob Vaughn and Anthony Papio do a very good job of working in practice with those guys, on the up tempo running type game, our numbers reflect that,” Maryland coach John Szefc said. “That won’t change, it really hasn’t changed throughout the season, that’s kind of what we do. Really, those guys have just done a very good job of developing our running game and it’s something we’ve put a lot of stock into.
“It not only helps us get extra bases but the biggest thing I’ve seen it does is in a lot of cases it will take the pitcher’s focus off the hitter so that the hitter is going to get better pitches to hit while they’re worried about controlling the running game. That really helps our offense a lot."
The Terps (37-21) begin play at 2 p.m. Friday in the Winston-Salem Regional against No. 2 seed West Virginia (34-24).
Szefc said the Terps plan to start their Friday night ace, Brian Shaffer (7-3, 2.18) against the Mountaineers.
“We feel really good about the guy we have on the mound tomorrow in Brian Schaffer, the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year,” Szefc said. “I think we feature a few other guys that are really hot and are playing well.”
Senior Brandon Gum transferred from George Mason to finish his playing career at Maryland.
"It’s awesome, that’s why I chose here,” Gum said about the Terps playing in the NCAA Regional here in Winston-Salem. “This is why I wanted to come, to be in the NCAA Tournament again. Obviously, the first time being very different down in Houston with three Texas teams. This atmosphere might not be as hostile, but it’s going to be fun."
Gum leads the Terrapins with a .330 batting average, has 13 stolen bases on the season and has scored 44 runs.
The winner will advance to play Saturday evening the winner of Friday night’s game between Wake Forest and UMBC.