Szefc has been a spectator the first two games of the Los Angeles Regional after being suspended two games by the NCAA after his ejection in the Big Ten Conference tournament championship game. What he has seen so far has been pleasing to his eyes.
The Terrapins (41-20) handled top-seeded UCLA on Saturday, coming away with a 4-1 victory at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
A chorus line of pitchers and timely hitting left the Terrapins needing only a victory to advance to a super regional. The situation for the Bruins (43-15) is more dire. They need three consecutive victories to win the regional, starting with Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday.
The winner of that game plays Maryland on Sunday night.
The Bruins seemed to be in a good position entering the game with Grant Watson on the mound. But the Terrapins came up with key moments against one of UCLA's most effective postseason starters.
Watson's 30 all-time victories are the second-most in UCLA history, behind Trevor Bauer's 34. But Watson scuffled in 62/3 innings against a Maryland team that came up with key hits when needed.
Watson gave up two singles in the second inning before Tim Lewis sliced a high fly that dropped just fair for a two-run triple.
In the third, LaMonte Wade hit a home run. Kevin Smith followed with the double and later scored on a ground out by Kevin Martir.
Cal State Bakersfield 2, Mississippi 1: The difference between history and a long bus ride home for Cal State Bakersfield was a handful of moments, one that happened well before Saturday.
The Roadrunners collected their first Division I NCAA tournament victory, beating Mississippi, 2-1, in the Los Angeles Regional at Jackie Robinson Stadium to send the Rebels home. At the center of the postgame celebration was pitcher Hayden Carter.
"Winning a [tournament] game instead of just showing up is a major step forward for the program," Coach Bill Kernen said.
One reason for that step was Kernen's decision to hold back Carter, his No. 1 starter, until Saturday.
Carter (9-3) threw his eighth complete game and Soloman Williams clobbered a fourth-inning home run. That was enough to allow the Roadrunners (37-23-1) to stick around another day. They will play the loser of Saturday's late game between UCLA and Maryland.
That Carter was available Saturday was a decision made earlier in the week, Kernen said. Carter pitched twice in the Western Athletic Conference tournament, throwing a complete game and tossing six innings on two days' rest.
So James Barragan was trotted out to face top-seeded UCLA Friday, and took the loss in the 7-2 Bruins' victory.
"It had nothing to do with who we were facing," Kernen said. "To be effective we believed Hayden needed another day's rest."
Making him Mississippi's problem.
"We got the luxury of seeing how good he is," Mississippi Coach Mike Bianco said.
Carter wasn't overpowering. He struck out only two batters, but he scattered seven hits. He left runners in scoring position in the first, third and sixth innings.
He also got some help.
Mississippi (30-28) had two on with two out in the second when Cameron Dishon lined a single. J.B. Woodman tried to score from second and was thrown out by right fielder Chance Gusbeth.
In the fifth, Colby Bortles crushed a pitch, only to have center fielder Jordie Hein reach over the fence to make the catch. Errol Robinson scored on the sacrifice fly, but Carter gave up only two more hits.
The Roadrunners finally got their offense going in the fourth. David Metzgar led off with a double to left, and Williams followed by taking a 2-2 pitch over the right-field fence for a 2-0 lead.
It was all the Roadrunners scored, but it was enough to get them another night in the hotel.