For Nick Browne, a junior outfielder at Bishop Eustace, the University of Maryland was the best of three worlds: a big-time baseball program that is a managable distance from home with some familiar faces on the roster.

On Monday night, Browne, who leads South Jersey in home runs with nine, committed to Maryland on a baseball scholarship.

Browne also seriously considered Duke, Lafayette, and Penn.

"I wasn't stressing about it, but it was tough making a decision," Browne said. "They're all great schools.

"It came down to the best decision for me. Maryland is an easy drive for my brother and mother to come down and see me play, and they have a great business school and that's something that I'm very interested in."

Browne, a top student, said he narrowed his final options to Maryland and Duke. He chose the Terrapins in part because of the proximity of the campus, his relationship with Maryland coach John Szefc, and the strength of the business school.

But Brown also said another factor was the pipeline that Szefc seems to be building from South Jersey to College Park, Md.

Maryland has freshmen Mike Shawaryn (Gloucester Catholic) and Nick Cieri (Rancocas Valley) on the roster. And the school already had received a commitment from another standout from South Jersey's Class of 2015, Gloucester Catholic junior John Murphy.

"They must like South Jersey players because they keep coming back," Browne said. "It's nice to know that you won't be by yourself. I'll be going down with Murph, and that's somebody I know I can turn to.

"And with Shawaryn and Cieri already down there, I know they'll have my back because they're South Jersey guys, too. It just adds to the comfort level."