LOS ANGELES — The best season for a pitcher in Maryland baseball history got a little better during the NCAA Division I tournament Friday night.
Sophomore right-hander Mike Shawaryn was overpowering through five innings, putting the Terps on firm ground. Some quality work by the bullpen helped Maryland to a 3-1 victory over Mississippi in the opening game of the Los Angeles regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium, but it was the 6-foot-3, 211-pound Shawaryn who set the tone.
"I didn't have my best stuff today, but I competed well," Shawaryn said. "When I needed it, it was there."
On Saturday at 11:05 p.m., the Terps (40-21) will play UCLA (43-14), the tournament's overall No. 1 seed, which earned a 7-2 victory Friday night against fourth-seeded Cal State-Bakersfield (36-23-1). The game will be on ESPNU. Mississippi (30-27) will face Cal State-Bakersfield, with the loser of that game eliminated.
The victory equaled Maryland's school record for wins, set last season, when the Terps reached the super regionals before losing to Virginia in a three-game series. It was their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 1971.
Lasting a little longer this season will require more outings like the one Shawaryn turned in Friday.
Shawaryn (13-2) extended his school record for victories with a starring performance. He allowed only two hits, both coming in the first inning, and was dominant through five innings, striking out nine batters. The first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection has 133 strikeouts in 109 2/3 innings this season and a 1.66 ERA.
It was his second postseason victory. He beat South Carolina in regional play last season, the Gamecocks' first tournament loss at Carolina Stadium in the ballpark's history.
Shawaryn had good velocity Friday but mostly baffled batters with a sharp slider. He delighted in the performance, stomping off the mound and shouting after striking out the side to leave a runner stranded at second in the fifth inning.
Shawaryn tired in the sixth, after throwing 113 pitches. He walked the bases loaded with one out and was replaced by junior reliever Robert Galligan, who proceeded to walk Nic Perkins to force in a run.
Galligan struck out Kyle Watson, and Cameron Dishon lined out to end the inning.
Bobby Ruse (C. Milton Wright) went two perfect innings. In his last, the eighth, LaMonte Wade (St. Paul's) made a highlight-reel catch when he raced to the center-field wall and jumped to grab a hard-hit ball by Sikes Orvis.
Kevin Mooney (North Harford) closed out the game by striking out the side in the ninth for his ninth save.
The Terps wasted little time getting started. With one out in the top of the first, Kevin Smith doubled down the left-field line and scored when Brandon Lowe followed with a double to right. Kevin Martir's double to right field scored Lowe for a 2-0 lead.
Singles by Kevin Biondic and Wade put runners on first and third with one out in the fourth inning. Smith's squeeze scored Biondic for a 3-0 lead.
Christian Trent went 6 1/3 innings for the Rebels, dodging trouble throughout. He spent the game pitching from the stretch, allowing nine hits and walking three batters. But Maryland could not come up with a coup de grace. Trent fell to 7-7 overall.
Shawaryn earned first-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball Magazine. His strikeout total entering the NCAA tournament led the Big Ten Conference, was fifth in the nation and was the second-highest single-season mark in school history. His win total was second in the country, and his 23 career victories were the most for any sophomore in the nation.