Fresh off a successful NCAA tournament run, Maryland baseball has released its schedule for the 2022 season, which includes a return to non-conference play.
“One of the best parts about playing baseball at the University of Maryland is the opportunity to play one of the best schedules in all of college baseball,” coach Rob Vaughn said in a press release.
“We’re really excited to get back to playing some non-conference opponents in the regular season after playing just Big Ten opponents last year.”
Coming off a year that saw no Big Ten tournament and a conference-only schedule, the return to exotic waters looks to be exciting. Non-conference opponents include challenging matchups against 2021 tournament opponent East Carolina and severa of the top 50 RPI teams including Virginia Commonwealth, Campbell, Dallas Baptist and Baylor.
Vaughn, a Texas native, is especially excited about the matchups the team will play in his home state.
“The two trips to Texas where we’ll play Baylor and Dallas Baptist will be an especially great test for our team,” Vaughn said.
The Terps’ opening series will be against the Bears in Waco, Texas, from Feb. 18 to 20. Their home opener has them clashing against nearby UMBC on Feb. 22.
Vaughn’s squad will begin their conference schedule against Minnesota from Apr. 8 to 10, looking to improve on their second-place finish in the Big Ten last season. To help them do that, Maryland has added several notable players along with keeping one crucial one.
Outfielder Chris Alleyne will stay with the team as a graduate student after a strong 2021 season that saw him earn second team All-Big Ten accolades and lead the conference in stolen bases. Vaughn cited the veteran outfielder on several occasions during the 2021 season as a crucial piece to the team.
“Our offense is different when [Alleyne’s] on the bases, and he can change the game in those situations,” Vaughn said.
The team also added a trio of transfers including former Villanova slugger Nick Lorusso, who hit .333 with a home-run and a walk in Maryland’s fall ball doubleheader against Virginia. Kentucky’s Drew Grace and Rhode Island’s Nick Robinson round out the transfers.
While the departure of pitcher Sean Burke for the MLB looked to weaken Maryland’s bullpen depth, they added the 15th ranked left-hand pitcher in the nation in Travis Garnett. Garnett has a similar frame to Burke at 6-foot-6, 230 pounds and clocks a 93 MPH fastball.
The Terps will also look to replace leading slugger Ben Cowles, who also departed for the major leagues after being drafted by the Yankees in the 10th round and the graduated Randy Bednar.
Regardless of the departures, Maryland seems set up to nurture a strong, young core of players in Matthew Shaw, Nick Dean, Jason Savacool, Troy Schreffler and Luke Shliger. Combined with strong-hitters in Alleyne and Maxwell Costes, the Terps should challenge for the top of the Big Ten yet again.
With a full schedule now on tap for Maryland, Vaughn says what the rest are thinking with college baseball lingering three months away — “February can’t come soon enough!”