During his first two seasons at the University of Maryland, Mike Shawaryn accomplished more than any pitcher in school history. The sophomore right-hander, who led head coach John Szefc's squad to a school-record 42 wins and its second consecutive berth in the NCAA Super Regionals this season, established Maryland marks for career victories (24) and single-season wins (13) in 2015. On the way to a 13-2 record and a 1.71 ERA, Shawaryn also set the Maryland single-season record for strikeouts with 138.
But he'd prefer to focus on his team's achievements, rather than his own record-setting efforts.
"It's great to get back-to-back regional titles under our belt," Shawaryn said. "It's kind of a culture change, and we're ready to keep this rolling for years to come."
Maryland vanquished Ole Miss and defeated tournament No. 1 seed UCLA twice to win the Los Angeles Regional. But the Terps' season ended with a 42-24 record after consecutive losses to Virginia in the best-of-three Charlottesville Super Regional.
Shawaryn was a first-team All-American selection by Collegiate Baseball Magazine, the first Terp to earn such an honor since the 2002 season. The native of Carneys Point, N.J., was also a unanimous All-Big Ten choice this season after leading the conference in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched. Shawaryn was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Award, which are presented to the nation's top college player. During the summer of 2015, he will become the second Maryland player to compete for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
His sophomore season was a strong follow-up to one of the best first years of any Maryland pitcher. During the 2014 campaign, Shawaryn posted an 11-4 record with a 3.12 ERA. He struck out 72 hitters while walking 24, as the Terps went 40-23 and reached the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time.
"Last season gave me the confidence that I could get the job done," Shawaryn said. "When I go out there, I'm not trying to do too much. I'm just trying to pitch within myself. I trust in my stuff, because I was able to do it last year."
Shawaryn's evolution into an elite collegiate pitcher has impressed Maryland associate head coach Jim Belanger.
"A big part of his success last year was his mental makeup, more than his stuff," said Belanger, who is also the Terps' pitching coach. "This year, his stuff has started to catch up. His breaking ball has developed, and his fastball has gotten better. And his slider has become a quality pitch for him. I think that's a big reason why his strikeout numbers have risen from last year.
"Mike's just a winner. He's extremely competitive and extremely humble. He is the master of minimizing things, and he never gives up the big inning. If there's a bases-loaded situation with nobody out, they're probably going to score one run, but that's it. He always keeps you in the game."
With the 2014 graduation of Jake Stinnett, Shawaryn became the ace of the Maryland pitching staff. But he doesn't feel any additional pressure.
"As a college baseball player and a person who wants to continue [in the pros], you want that pressure," Shawaryn said. "If you're not able to handle it, you won't be able to get to the next level."
Shawaryn seems destined to reach that next level. Following his senior season at Gloucester Catholic High School, Shawaryn was chosen by the Kansas City Royals in the 32nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft. But the 6-foot-3 right-hander isn't thinking beyond his junior season with a Maryland team that will graduate two players and should be a national contender again.
"Next year, I'm going to pitch for a regional title, another Super Regional and get us to Omaha [site of the College World Series]," Shawaryn said. "I have 35 brothers on this team, and I want to win it for them, for Szefc, Belanger and the whole coaching staff. [The pros] will happen later down the road. Right now, I just want to do it for Maryland."