Maryland baseball, the No. 15 overall seed, will play Long Island University in an NCAA Tournament regional in College Park Friday at 7 p.m., the selection committee announced Monday.
The Terps, who are making their second straight tournament appearance under coach Rob Vaughn and fifth in the past eight tournaments, are hosting the program’s first regional, as they are one of 16 teams to earn a bid after winning a school-record 45 games and claiming the Big Ten Conference regular-season title.
“It’s a great feeling for us to be able to host a regional and play on our home field,” fifth-year outfielder Chris Alleyne said at the team’s watch party Monday afternoon. “They haven’t experienced it before, and they deserve it.”
Wake Forest and UConn round out four teams competing at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium in the College Park Regional Friday through Monday in a double-elimination format.
The Terps will play the winner of UConn-Wake Forest, which begin play Friday at 1 p.m., and if they win at least three games, they will advance to the super regional and play the winner of the Stanford Regional. Last season, the Terps went 2-2 in the Greenville Regional, with their campaign ending with a 9-6 loss to East Carolina.
Long Island earned its third tournament appearance after defeating Bryant, 7-0, on Sunday to earn the Northeast Conference’s automatic bid. The Sharks’ 37 Division I wins is the most in school history.
Over the past month, Maryland (45-12, 18-5 Big Ten) has made stadium upgrades so College Park could be a suitable host. The school added temporary bleachers in left field to increase the capacity to 3,000, while other improvements to the ballpark’s lighting and facilities are planned before Friday.
Even though Maryland will have the home crowd on its side, Vaughn said knowing the ins and outs of Bob Stadium, where the Terps have posted a 24-2 record, gives his team an advantage over the competition.
“You know the way the ball bounces, the wind blows and the corners play,” he said. “And then everything that’s basic as sleeping in your own bed. So I think the advantages are huge.”
Maryland, ranked the No. 10 in the nation by D1Baseball.com, enters regional play after going 1-2 in the Big Ten Tournament, losing back-to-back games to Michigan and Indiana for the first time this season. Despite an unsuccessful conference tournament run, the Terps’ season has been nothing but magical thus far.
The Terps had a school-record 13 postseason conference honors, including Alleyne named the Big Ten Player of the Year while Vaughn was tabbed as the league’s Coach of the Year, also a program first.
Alleyne, the Terps’ first conference player of the year since 1992, enters the NCAA Tournament batting .346 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs to go with 23 stolen bases. Alleyne is the first Maryland player to record 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a single season and the first NCAA Division I player to do it since 2018. The Philadelphia native is also a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which goes to the top amateur baseball player.
In April, junior left-hander Ryan Ramsey made history, becoming the first Maryland pitcher since Dick Reitz in 1959 to throw a perfect game. Ramsey, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, totaled 10 strikeouts on 118 pitches in nine innings to defeat Northwestern, 13-0.
“It’s just a special group of kids, and there’s been so many special moments through this year,” Vaughn said. “It’s a direct reflection of the people we have here.”
Said Alleyne: “This is everything we have worked for. Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do, but it’s been awesome to see success on the field.”
Heading into the regional, Vaughn preaches a simple message: make routine plays, throw strikes and execute offensively. But more importantly, he wants the Terps to be themselves.
“I think the beauty of this whole thing is that we don’t have to do anything special,” he said. “We don’t have to be Superman here. We got to be ourselves. And that’s easier to do at Bob [Stadium] than other places.”
Coppin State to play in East Carolina Regional
After capturing its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship since 1995 on May 21, Coppin State learned it would meet No. 8 seed East Carolina at Clark-LeClair Stadium in the Greenville Regional on Friday at 1 p.m. The Eagles (24-28) will play in their first NCAA Regional after the 1995 squad lost in a play-in game before the regional.
Coach Sherman Reed said he assumed that his team would face an opponent such as top seed Tennessee (53-7), No. 2 seed Stanford (41-14) or No. 3 seed Oregon State (44-15).
“We were pretty surprised given where we projected where we thought we were. We thought we might be at the bottom of the 64 teams that would match us up against a No. 1 team like Tennessee or Stanford or Oregon State,” he said. “But to have them give us the great respect of putting us somewhere around 56 or 57 of those 64 teams and place us in Greenville with East Carolina was really a surprise, but a pleasant surprise because it means we were somewhere not at the very bottom.”
The other game in the regional pits Virginia (38-17) against Coastal Carolina (36-18-1) at 6 p.m.
Coppin State will face a Pirates squad that captured the American Athletic Conference title for the third time in program history and is riding an 18-game winning streak, the longest current streak in the country. But Reed said the Eagles would not be intimidated by East Carolina’s reputation.
“I think we’re going to match up really well there,” he said, noting that his team is ranked ninth nationally in total stolen bases (117) and owns a .284 batting average similar to the Pirates’ .282. “I think it’s a great matchup for us — more so than if we were up against [No. 4 seed] Virginia Tech or Tennessee. I don’t think the guys, regardless of who we were going to be matched up against, are going to be such in awe that we are not going to be able to control our emotions. I think East Carolina is a really good team that has made a run at the right time, but I think we’re playing really great baseball towards the end of the season as well.”
— Edward Lee, Baltimore Sun
Friday, 7 p.m.
COPPIN STATE@EAST CAROLINA
Friday, 1 p.m.