28 May

hurdles for the rebels

Maryland won’t have suspended coach John Szefc on Friday when it plays Ole Miss in the Los Angeles Regional, but arguably more important to the Terrapins are Mike Shawaryn, Brandon Lowe and Jose Cuas. Shawaryn, a 6-foot-3 sophomore right-hander reputed to have overpowering stuff, is 12-2 with a 1.65 ERA. He’s the likely starter on Friday. Second baseman Lowe, a freshman All-America in 2014, is hitting .342 with nine homers and 52 RBIs. Cuas, a junior third baseman who goes 6-2, 190, has blasted 11 homers and driven in 53 runs, both team-bests. The Terps have won 39 games this season, and many on the roster are NCAA Tournament-tested. Maryland won the Columbia Regional last year, beating host South Carolina twice, and took Virginia to three games in their Super Regional. Even without their strong-willed coach, the Terps won’t go gently. … On the other side of the bracket at Jackie Robinson Stadium is host UCLA, 42-14, the No. 1 overall seed, the Pac-12 regular season champion, the 2013 national champion, a team well-stocked with talent, especially pitching. But don’t dismiss Cal State Bakersfield, which Ole Miss could also see on Saturday. The Roadrunners (36-22-1) won three straight do-or-die games to claim the Western Athletic Conference Tournament title. They are 19-12-1 away from home. They’ve beaten UC Santa Barbara, Arizona State, Purdue and Gonzaga. They’ve got a roster replete with California kids, led by 5-8 David Metzgar, who is hitting .358 with 42 RBIs, 46 runs and 10 steals. And they’re playing for a coach, Bill Kernen, who founded the program in 2007 and is expected to retire when the season ends. No, the Roadrunners won’t go gently, either.