After winning a high scoring affair on Saturday, Maryland looked to take the series from the first place Cornhuskers on Sunday at HeyMarket Park in Lincoln. The Terps gave the ball to freshman Jason Savacool in hopes of taking the series.
Nebraska broke the game open very early in the second inning. Savacool gave up a leadoff single, got the first out of the inning, and then the game began to unravel. The next five Huskers all reached via hit. The inning was blown open when Nebraska catcher Griffin Everitt launched a ball deep to right that barely stayed in the park, but scored two runs and made the score 4-0. Nebraska would add one more thanks to an RBI hit from right fielder Joe Acker. Savacool was pulled after recording the second out of the inning, with the score at 5-0.
“Jason was great in the first inning,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “We felt like once that inning ended, it was gonna be one of those days where he was locked in. He left a lot of pitches up in the second inning and that’s what really hurt him.”
Chris Alleyne was able to get a run back in the top of the third for the Terps as he launched a solo home run with two out to right field.
The Cornhuskers were able to strike for two more runs in the fourth inning off of Terps reliever Connor Staine. The inning was highlighted by back-to-back RBI singles from Joe Acker and Jaxon Hallmark to make the score 7-1.
Shay Schanaman was brilliant for Nebraska through the first 6 innings. He gave up just the one home run to Alleyne through six innings. In the 7th, he gave up a single and then hit three consecutive Terrapins. The third one, which was Ben Cowles, was not liked at all by Nebraska head coach Will Bolt, and he was thrown out of the game. Maryland scored one more after Schanaman was taken out after Tucker Flint hit into a fielder’s choice. That made the score 7-3.
“I think Will thought that Ben did not make an effort to get out of the way. In college baseball, you can start your swing and if you get hit by the pitch, you go to first base,” said Vaughn. Will was pretty heated about that.”
Schanaman’s final line does not indicate how good he was on the hill for Nebraska. He went six innings, gave up only two hits, allowed three runs, and set a new career-high in strikeouts with 11.
“I was frustrated with our approach at the plate,” said Vaughn. “We knew he was going to throw the slider with two strikes, and it felt like we were surprised when the slider came.”
Gavin Stellpflug came into the game in the 8th inning for Maryland and got two out of the first three hitters and was then taken out for Sean Fisher. Fisher walked three consecutive hitters while throwing two wild pitches, which made the score 10-3. Zach Thompson then came into the game and gave up a walk which loaded the bases. That was followed by Brice Matthews hitting a grand slam which made the score 14-3, which was the final.
Maryland looked to even the series at a game a piece on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Unlike Friday, Maryland was able to get on the board first in the second inning. Ben Cowles stroked a one-out double down the left field line, and was driven in by Tucker Flint who singled up the middle to give Maryland a 1-0 lead. Tommy Gardiner would get a hit and advance him to third, but Chris Alleyne flew out to end the inning, limiting the damage for Nebraska.
The Terps threatened to score in the third after putting two men out with two out, but a Cowles strikeout ended the inning.
Nebraska was able to put a big third inning together off of Nick Dean. After a sac bunt to record the first out of the inning, the Cornhuskers had five straight men reach base. Joe Acker tied the game with a double, and Cam Chick laced a single to left that scored two and gave Nebraska the lead. Following that, Dean hit a batter and then gave up a sac-fly to make the score 4-1. A bizzare play following a double steal where Matt Shaw had the ball knocked away from him made the score 5-1.
Maryland would respond in the fifth inning. Following singles from Randy Bednar and Shaw, Maxwell Costes came through with an RBI single to make it 5-2. Unfortunately for the Terps, Matt Shaw was picked off of second base as he wandered too far off the bag. Following a Luke Shliger single, Ben Cowles launched his tenth home run of the year to tie the game at 5.
Nick Dean’s day ended for Maryland after getting the first out of the fifth inning. His final line was four and a thirds innings, four hits, five runs (four earned), two walks and a strikeout.
“I thought Dean wasn’t as sharp today,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “Usually he gets a lot of swings and misses and he only had one strikeout today. Nebraska was very good when they fell behind in the count, as well.”
Nebraska was able to take the lead back in the bottom of the sixth after freshman Max Anderson launched a solo home run.
The Terps would respond quickly in the seventh thanks to a leadoff solo home run from freshman Matt Shaw to tie the game at 6. The other freshman in the starting lineup for Maryland, Luke Shliger, came through after a Maxwell Costes single and hit his first career home run to put the Terps up 8-6.
“I want us to be aggressive at the plate,” said Vaughn. “We want to make sure that we swing at the pitches in the zone, and Nebraska did a good job of throwing strikes. We did a good job of being ready for those strikes.”
“I never go up to the plate thinking about hitting a homer,” said Shliger. “The only thing I was trying to do was to get in scoring position.”
The Huskers were able to get one in the bottom half of the seventh back after a ball popped out of Justin Vought’s glove with two out and allowed Joe Acker to score.
Nebraska put together a rally in the bottom of the eighth, as they put two on with one out. But Sam Bello came on from the bullpen and struck out the next two Cornhuskers to end the inning.
Maryland was able to load the bases in the top of the ninth thanks to a hit by pitch, and two walks. Maryland was able to get some insurance after a wild pitch and an error which plated two runs, making the score 10-7.
Sam Bello came back out in the ninth and retired the side in order to lock up the win, evening the series at a game a piece.
“I thought we played with a lot of grit today,” said Vaughn. “We would prefer not to play from behind, but because we have come from behind to win so many times, we do not get phased when we fall into a hole.”
After weather forced Friday’s game to be moved up two hours, Maryland and Nebraska began their series-opener at 5:00 ET. Here is how the game went:
After Chris Alleyne was hit with a two strike pitch in the first inning, he was caught stealing in the first inning which took away any chance for the Terps to score in the first.
Nebraska was able to score in the first following a leadoff double from Joe Acker. Acker was advanced to third from a fly out, and would score following an RBI groundout from Spencer Schwellenbach.
The teams would lock in their pitching and defense very nicely as Sean Burke settled in for the Terps. Burke struck out the side in the bottom of the third, while Nebraska pitcher Cade Povich did not allow a hit until the top of the fourth inning.
“I think what made Povich so effective was his mixing off speeds, as well as his breaking ball was terrific,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “We have seen higher velocity from other pitchers but he did a great job of mixing up his stuff.”
Maryland was able to tie the game in the fourth inning. After a two-out double from Luke Shliger, Ben Cowles was walked intentionally which set the stage for a bases loaded situation with two out for Tucker Flint. Flint was able to draw a walk to tie the game. Justin Vought would strikeout to end the inning.
Nebraska took the lead back in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a two-run single from shortstop Spencer Schwellenbach. Schwellenbach drove in Griffin Everitt, who led off the inning with a walk, and Acker, who doubled down the third base line. The Huskers were able to add another run after Schwellenbach took off for third, and Vought’s throw to third was above the head of Matt Shaw, which allowed Schwellenbach to score.
In the bottom of the sixth, a home run from Brice Matthews, which just snuck over the glove of Chris Alleyne, made the score 5-1, and ended the day for Burke. Burke’s final line was 5.2 IP, four hits, five runs (four earned), three walks, and six strikeouts.
“I thought Burke was dominant,” said catcher Justin Vought. “I thought other than the slash double in the fifth inning, that this was his best start.
“The original plan was to take Burke out after the first two hitters, and we should have done that,” said Vaughn. “Going back on it we should have put Heine in to face Matthews.”
In the top of the seventh, senior catcher Justin Vought launched a long home run which cut the lead to 5-2, and also ended the day for Huskers starter Cade Povich. Povich was terrific going 6 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, two earned runs, walking three, and striking out five. Maryland was able to get Shaw up as the tying run against Cam Wynne, but Shaw grounded out to end the inning.
Brice Matthews came through again for the Huskers in the eighth, as he laced a single up the middle to plate Nebraska’s sixth run of the game, which came off of Terps freshman pitcher David Falco.
Spencer Schwellenbach came in from shortstop to pitch the ninth, and recorded the final three outs for Nebraska.
“I thought the atmosphere was good for our guys to play in,” said Vaughn. “But I told them if you thought that was something, wait until Saturday and Sunday.”
“I loved going out there and playing in front of all those people,” Alleyne said. “We have to embrace playing on the road and it was fun to see people in the crowd.”
After a very encouraging weekend, Maryland will head to the midwest to take on the first place team in the Big Ten, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Maryland went 3-1 over the weekend with wins on Friday and Saturday against Northwestern, and a thrashing of Michigan, 17-7 on Monday. It was the Terps’ first win over Michigan in nine tries.
Leading the way over the weekend was junior shortstop Benjamin Cowles, who was on base four times in the win on Monday, as well as senior second baseman Tommy Gardiner, who homered several times. Maxwell Costes also had a good weekend, as he went 4-5 with 4 RBIs on Saturday vs the Wildcats, and he finally logged his first extra base hit of the season on Monday against Michigan.
Maryland’s offensive onslaught on Monday was the second time they have scored at least 17 runs in a game this season, as they scored a season-high 19 against Penn State on March 20.
Nebraska is going to be a very big test for Maryland’s pitching staff, as they are currently at the top of almost all offensive categories. They are second in the conference in home runs and hits. They lead the Big Ten in runs, batting average, and RBI. The Cornhuskers pitching staff ranks sixth in the Big Ten with a 4.31 team earned run average. Their opposing batting average ranks eighth in the Big Ten at .255.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-6)
Before the pandemic shut games down, Nebraska finished last season at 7-8. They hit an impressive .281 which was ranked fifth in the Big Ten. However, their pitching struggled mightily in their 15 games as they were second-to-last in the conference with a 5.94 ERA. They were very good on defense finishing tied for first in the conference with a .980 fielding percentage.
Nebraska has not lost a series in the 2021 season, as they have been carried by their potent offense all season long. The Cornhuskers are coming off of a series win in Champaign against Illinois, as they took two out of three games. They scored at least eight runs in all three games. Prior to the series against Illinois, Nebraska swept Minnesota in a four-game series at home. Even though two of the games only went seven innings, Nebraska scored at least six runs in all four of those games.
Hitters to Watch
Nebraska is led by their junior shortstop from Saginaw, Michigan, Spencer Schwellenbach. He has started every game this season, and is hitting an astounding .353, with three home runs and 14 RBI. He has also made seven appearances on the mound, and has not given up a run. The Huskers lineup also features junior infielder Cam Chick, who is hitting .298 with six homers and has driven in 21.
Pitchers to Watch
Nebraska’s staff is led by junior left-hander Cade Povich. Povich has made five starts this season with a 3.95 ERA and is 2-1 on the season. He has thrown 27 1/3 innings, given up 12 earned runs, and has 36 strikeouts. The Terps can also expect to see right-hander Shay Schanaman. Schanaman has also made five starts on the year, but he has struggled, with a 5.87 ERA. He has given up 15 earned runs in 23 innings pitched and has also struck out 25. Schanaman has gone 2 2/3 innings in two of his last three starts, but went 7 1/3 against Minnesota on March 28.
Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday- RHP Sean Burke (1-1, 4.78 ERA) vs LHP Cade Povich (2-1, 3.95 ERA)
Burke pitched a decent game in his last time out against Northwestern. The Massachusetts native went five innings, gave up three hits, and only two runs, but he did walk five Wildcats.
Povich, in his last start, went into the sixth inning but was unable to complete it. He gave up three earned runs on six hits and only walked one. Nebraska would win the game, 8-6.
Saturday RHP Nick Dean vs RHP Chance Hroch (2-0, 5.04 ERA)
Dean threw a decent game in his last start out against the Wildcats. He went five innings, gave up three earned runs and struck out five, the Terps would go on to win the game.
Hroch, the New Mexico State transfer, is coming off of a tough outing last time out. He went just four innings, gave up seven hits, and allowed five runs. Nebraska would end up falling to Illinois late in this game.
Sunday RHP Jason Savacool (4-0, 3.82 ERA) vs RHP Shay Schanaman
Savacool, the freshman phenom, is coming off the first rough start of his college career. He was beaten around pretty bad by Michigan, but thanks to an offensive onslaught, Savacool was let off the hook and the Terps won big.
Like Savacool, Schanaman is also coming off of a tough start against Illinois. He threw two and two-thirds innings giving up five earned runs and four hits while throwing just 43 pitches.
After seven straight losses against Michigan to open his coaching career in College Park, Rob Vaughn got his first win against the Wolverines in style today at the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. Maryland’s offense was an uncontrollable monster in the middle innings as they scored 14 runs without response between the fourth and seventh frames to coast to a 17-7 win.
Chris Alleyne was a standout amid a sea of great individual Maryland performances. Bubba batted 4-for-5 and drove in five runs. Two of those five were the eventual game-winners off a two-RBI single he dropped into shallow right field, giving Maryland an 8-6 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
The Terps would bust the game wide open in the sixth as they scored seven runs and forced three pitching changes in the bottom of the frame. Maryland left 11 on base yesterday in a 6-5 defeat that was tough to swallow, so it was even sweeter for Vaughn that they exacted their revenge in such a convincing fashion today.
Maryland students were allowed to join the limited number of fans in the Bob for the first time in over a year and they were loud and proud throughout as Maryland put on a show and scored well into double digits.
The game started out as a battle between new blood and old guard on the bump as freshman RHP Jason Savacool took the mound against Michigan’s senior RHP Blake Beers. What Savacool lacks in experience to Beers, he made up for with pure speed and skill.
Maryland needed to have a smooth start on the mound, as Sean Fisher could not contain the Wolverines and was pulled after just 2 1/3 innings pitched. But that was simply not meant to be.
Jordon Rogers led-off for the Wolverines and battled out of a 1-2 count, fouling off three pitches with two strikes against him and eventually working a nine-pitch walk. It didn’t amount to anything but from the very first at-bat, Michigan made it clear they were going to battle at the plate and make life difficult on the mound for the freshman sensation Jason Savacool.
The difficulty level cranked up several notches in the second, as it turned into a frame to forget for Savacool. Jimmy Obertop would take a fastball for a ride over the right-field wall and Maryland’s early lead was erased immediately. That seemed to unsettle Savacool, as he started to struggle to find the strike zone. The Michigan dugout did their part to rattle the freshman, hooting and hollering with every ball call and check to the runners.
The bases quickly filled off the back of the homer and the Baldwinsville, NY native had his day end early. Savacool’s pitch count ballooned to over 60 within the second inning and he struggled to find the strike zone. He hit two batters with a pitch and then gave Ted Burton an easy 90-foot run to home plate with a wild pitch. After walking the leadoff batter in the top of his third, Sean Heine was the one favored to take his place.
It felt as though the game was getting away from Maryland in a hurry after just an inning and a half. But with two out in the bottom of the second, Tommy Gardiner crushed his second two-run home run of the series. He would score Benjamin Cowles and bring Maryland right back into the game at 4-3. Gardiner’s goner was a carbon copy of the one he hit in their second win over Northwestern Saturday, as he got it all the way over the batter’s eye in center field and onto the football practice fields beyond.
Christian Molfetta would respond in kind with a two-run jack that also cleared the catcher’s eye to restore the three-run lead and make it 6-3.
The back-and-forth battle early turned into a game of tactics as both coaching staffs chose to go to their bullpen nine times combined by the end of the sixth. Michigan had a slightly more active bullpen, changing their mound martial five different times with four of those switches occurring between the fifth and sixth frames.
It was for good reason, as Maryland’s offense exploded in the middle innings. Maryland got a solo shot out of Cowles in the fourth. In the fifth and sixth, they drove in four and seven runs respectively – and it was all catalyzed by a series of Wolverine errors.
No one could take command on the mound for Michigan, and the Wolverines unraveled as Junior LHP Jack White was the first to falter, firing a wild throw over to first trying to check Matthew Shaw. Shaw stole two bases and then scored as the first baseman, Jake Marti, took his eye off the ball on a slow-rolling grounder.
White’s replacement, RHP Isaiah Paige, picked up where White left off. Paige hit back-to-back batters, driving in the tying run at 6-6. Then, Alleyne looped his fly ball into shallow right, scoring Cowles and Ott, and the Terps took a lead they would never relinquish.
None of the mound moves Michigan made could stop Maryland after that point. The Terrapin batters faced eight different pitchers but could not be contained. Tucker Flint and Luke Shliger quickly doubled the lead to 10-6 with back-to-back RBI base hits. Bubba would get another RBI single, and Maxwell Costes and Shaw both smacked RBI doubles all within the bottom of the sixth and the margin ballooned to nine runs.
Bubba would rub salt in Wolverine wounds with his third RBI base hit in as many innings, sending a deep drive to center cannoning off the batter’s eye. Ultimately, it was a two-RBI triple that scored Cowles and Flint, and Maryland settled for a modest 17 runs.
Although Maryland had their own pitching problems to start, RHP Sean Heine and graduate LHP Tyler Blohm did well to see the Terps through the middle innings. Then reliever Sam Bello slammed the door on Michigan as he built off the confidence his offense exuded and was excellent to close out the afternoon. In 3 2/3 innings pitched, Bello allowed just one hit, a solo shot by Brandon Lawrence to give some consolation to the Wolverines in the top of the ninth.
Maryland moves to 9-10 and will hit the road next weekend for a series with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska. On the other hand, Michigan is now 13-6 and will head home to take on Ohio State after breaking even in this series.
Michigan’s leadoff hitter Jordon Rogers and LHP Jack White were having a little fun with a shadowboxing session in the pregame as they got ready for their second game of the day. But by the end, pinch hitter Danny Zimmerman would be the one to deliver the knockout punch with a solo home run in the top of the ninth as the No. 25 Wolverines clawed past Maryland, 6-5, on Easter Sunday to improve to 13-5.
Matthew Shaw and Randy Bednar both hit two-run bombs but Maryland missed too many opportunities. They left ten runners on base and came up short in a bid for their fourth straight come-from-behind win. The Terps came back from deficits of 4-2 and 5-4, but could not muster up a third equalizing effort in the final frame and are now 0-5 when Sean Fisher has taken the mound.
“We’ve kind of shown since day one that we can fight from behind,” the third baseman Shaw said. “We’re able to play from behind, we put together good at-bats.”
Aside from the power hitting on display, Maryland hung around with the help of its fielders. After hitting leadoff batter Jordon Rogers with a pitch, Fisher’s infield collected two grounders and turned a double play to get the veteran LHP out of the top of the first.
Then, in the second with two runners in scoring position, Benjamin Cowles made another key play in the field, scooping a grounder up. Rather than getting the force out at first, he honed in on Clark Elliott, who was heading for home. Cowles hummed in a throw to catcher Justin Vought to trap Elliott in a pickle and the Terps got the tag out, keeping Michigan off the board.
The Terps have been used to going behind 2-0 after one inning over the past two days. But this time, Matt Shaw sent a fastball opposite-field and over the wall in right centerfield for a two-run homer, scoring Costes, and Maryland was now the team taking the early 2-0 advantage. Shaw wants Maryland to be able to step on the gas more when they get ahead like this going forward.
“I honestly just want to see us fight better when we’re ahead,” Shaw said. “I hope that we start to have some of those games where we get up big and it keeps getting bigger.”
Despite the help of his defenders, Fisher couldn’t get settled and Maryland would come undone in the top of the third. After loading the bases with a seven-pitch walk to Griffin Mazur, Rob Vaughn replaced the senior with sophomore RHP Connor Staine.
Staine was put in a tough spot and Jimmy Obertop pounced, cranking a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for a grand slam. Mazur, Rogers, and Christian Molfetta would all score and in an instant, Michigan flipped a two-run deficit into a two-run lead of 4-2. Staine couldn’t take command of the mound at first either as the bases loaded up again with two outs. But Bubba Alleyne caught a fly ball in deep center field to get Maryland out of the inning.
Michigan struggled to plate runners as well throughout the course of the day. The Wolverines had 8 hits in game one against Northwestern but couldn’t get those runners home on many occasions, falling 4-1. Michigan continued to falter against the Terrapins in that department in spite of the Obertop slam, leaving nine on base.
But Maryland’s difficulty getting around the diamond superseded that of their opposition as they would strand two runners on base for three innings a row – between the third and fifth.
However, before Michigan got out of the bottom of that fifth inning, Bednar would bomb a fastball just over the wall in left centerfield for Maryland’s second two-run shot of the day.
Michigan starting pitcher Cameron Weston got the nod over projected starter Jacob Denner, as Denner pitched 3.2 innings and gave up six hits in game one against the Wildcats. Weston notched four strikeouts through four innings pitched but also gave up four runs on those two homers. Once Bednar tied the game at four, Michigan would turn to their bullpen and favor the graduate student Joe Pace.
From then on, the bullpen would stay busy all afternoon long. Pace had a good performance but was pulled after 2.1 IP, and his replacement, junior RHP Will Proctor, would not even last a full inning before getting pulled himself. Michigan settled on fellow junior RHP Willie Weiss to close out the affair.
Maryland’s bullpen got a huge boost from Staine, who settled in nicely after getting out of that costly third inning. Staine stayed in for 5.2 innings, struck out five and held to Michigan to two earned runs. He would eventually hand the ball off to David Falco, who earned his second appearance in relief this weekend, for the final inning.
Unfortunately, the sailing was not as smooth for Falco this afternoon as it was against Northwestern on Friday. With two down in the top of the ninth, the pinch hitter Zimmerman would deliver the decisive blow and Falco fell to 1-1 on the season. On the other hand, Weiss picked up his third win in this campaign for the Wolverines.
“[Staine] threw the ball awesome,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “Obviously as soon as that ball goes out of the yard, you’re like, ‘Man, I wish I would’ve left him in,” you know? But the bottom line is I trust Dave 1,000 times out of 1,000.”
The Terps drop to 8-10 and will seek revenge tomorrow as they rematch with the Wolverines to close out pod play. If Maryland pulls it off, it will be their first winning weekend of the season. First pitch is currently scheduled for 3 p.m.
The weather warmed up a bit for the continuation of pod play Saturday and so did Maryland’s offense as they knocked off Northwestern for the second time in two days, 8-4. The Terps won their third straight in a topsy-turvy matchup, as they again looked comfortable playing from behind at the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
The middle innings made all the difference for the Terps as they outscored the Wildcats 5-2. Maryland trailed at 2-0 and 4-3, but they eventually retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth through a two-RBI single by Maxwell Costes and did not look back.
Costes continued to be productive for the Maryland offense all day, as he went four-for-five from the plate and drove in four runs overall. But the bottom of the order did some business too. Tommy Gardiner, who bats ninth in the lineup, played a pivotal part for the Terps as he went two-for-three with three RBIs.
The Northwestern Wildcats (9-7) popped in their purple jerseys and their hitting power was on display with three homers accounting for all four of their runs. It was another hot hitting start for the Wildcats, as they would take the lead in the top of the first on a two-run shot torched over the right-field wall by Michael Trautwein.
In the early innings, this game had an eerily similar feel to yesterday’s in that Northwestern took the early lead but could not build on their strong start for a while and Maryland would settle in nicely from a defensive perspective.
Junior RHP Nick Dean made his first appearance since coming down with mono, but there was no sign of that affecting his play. Bar the couple of homers he conceded, Dean was exceptional at finding the zone and getting ahead in the count. He would finish with five strikeouts and five hits allowed in five innings pitched.
Offensively, it was better for Maryland as they got some guys on base. But in the first few innings, they couldn’t finish the job and bring those runners home. The Terps halved their deficit through an RBI double from Matt Shaw, scoring Bednar. But Shliger would ground out and strand two runners in scoring position. Maryland ultimately left five runners on base through three innings.
That would change in a hurry and Maryland’s offensive execution would come, in part, from an unlikely source. In the bottom of the fourth, Tommy Gardiner hammered a two-run homer right back where it came from – all the way over the batter’s eye in center field – to score Flint and give the Terps their first lead of the day. After a pair of solo shots by Northwestern put Maryland behind again, Gardiner would be back for more. With two on and one out in the bottom of the sixth, the senior out of Mount Laurel, NJ sent Benjamin Cowles home with an RBI single.
A few batters later, Maryland had the lead as Costes drove in Alleyne and Vought with a base hit into left field to make it 6-4. In the bottom of the eighth, Costes went opposite field to double his RBI tally, dropping a fly ball into shallow right that got Gardiner home and scored Bubba once more.
On the defensive side of things, Ryan Ramsey was excellent in relief, playing out the final four innings after stepping in for Dean. The sophomore lefty struck out six batters and only gave up one hit – a solo homer by Wildcats second baseman Vincent Bianchina.
The Terps closed out the ninth with a sensational double play from Matt Shaw, who caught a line drive from Kaplan and zipped it over to first to turn two. Fittingly, Ramsey would follow up that effort and finish the afternoon as he struck out pinch hitter Luke Tanner for Maryland’s final out.
Maryland improves to 8-9 and will be back in action at the Bob tomorrow. The Terps will be seeking a third win in as many days as they matchup against a ranked Michigan team at 3:30 p.m, following game two between the Wildcats and the Wolverines.
It was a bright but blustery day at the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium as Maryland opened “College Park Pod” play against a Northwestern Wildcats team which came in wielding one of the best offenses in the country. Maxwell Costes separated himself from the rest of his teammates, knelt and said a prayer shortly before first pitch. Whether he was wishing for a win or not, his prayers were answered on the field.
Costes played very well on both sides of the ball – starting out two-for-two and making several standout plays in the field – and Maryland came from behind to stun Northwestern, 4-3, in game one of the twinbill series. Maryland trailed from the very beginning until the bottom of the seventh when a two-out, two-run double from Chris Alleyne scored Bobby Zmarzlak and Justin Vought, putting the game on level terms at three a piece. The breakthrough moment came an inning later, as Benjamin Cowles’ sac fly brought in Matthew Shaw from third for the winning run.
“They’re not afraid to come from behind, they’re not afraid to play behind,” head coach Rob Vaughn said of his Terps. “Obviously we want to play with the lead and step on it, but they don’t panic.”
On the mound, Sean Burke struggled to get going against that high-powered Northwestern offense, walking three batters in the top of the first and sending the opening run home. A fielding error by Matthew Shaw at third on a driven ground ball would score Leo Kaplan and quickly double the Wildcats lead.
Burke racked up five strikeouts through two innings, but also gave up a solo shot to Shawn Goosenberg and the Terps were behind 3-0.
Over time, the defense would grow into the affair and the Terps made some clutch defensive plays to stay in the contest. In the third, a really nice hustle play from Burke to grab an infield fly behind the plate was followed by first baseman Costes snagging a line drive with a diving effort. After four defensive innings, Maryland had only given up two hits.
Offensively, Maryland was nullified by starting pitcher Mike Doherty and the Northwestern fielders for long stretches. But those fielding efforts for Maryland would parlay into some offensive success, as the bats started to come alive in the bottom of the fourth. Costes hit one right back where it came from, skipping past the shortstop and second baseman into centerfield and scoring Randy Bednar to get one back.
“[Coach Vaughn] calls our offense ‘the pack’,” Cowles said. “In a wolfpack, no one person is solely doing anything. If somebody is struggling one day, then somebody else is going to pick them up. I guess today was my day to pick up the offense.”
Burke would leave the game after five innings pitched. Despite the early flurry, he got stronger in his performance as he saw the Northwestern lineup for a second and third time. He would finish with eight strikeouts and just three hits allowed, turning over his duties to Medford, NJ native and junior RHP Sean Heine.
Heine, in conjunction with fellow relievers David Falco and Sam Bello, stranded several batters in key situations to keep Northwestern off the scoreboard in the in later innings.
“I was just trying to keep the game close,” Heine said. “Just keep putting up zeroes and let our offense do the work.”
Maryland would ultimately put in that work, as their best chance to get back into the game came off the back of the seventh inning stretch and they capitalized. After a clean start to the game, the Northwestern fielders got sloppy with short stop Shawn Goosenberg unable to collect a groundball from Vought. Two batters later, left fielder Stephen Hrustich dropped that high fly ball hit deep into left field by Chris Alleyne.
Maryland rode the momentum into the eighth inning when Doherty eventually exited the mound, getting runners on the corners with one out before Benjamin Cowles clobbered the sac fly deep into right centerfield in the eighth. The rest was history.
The Terps will look to repeat this result tomorrow (without trailing for the duration again, perhaps) in a midday tilt against the Wildcats. First pitch is scheduled for noon, to be followed by game one between Northwestern and Michigan.
The Terrapins (6-9) are back in action this weekend and will look to carry their momentum from the closing game in Columbus into the “College Park Pod.” Maryland welcomes both Northwestern (9-5) and No. 25 Michigan (11-4) to the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium for another two-game, two-team series spanning from Friday to Monday.
Maryland’s road trip to Ohio did not go according to plan, as it dropped three straight before ending on a high note Monday. The Terps lost their opening pair of games against the Hawkeyes, 6-4 and 11-2 respectively, and were bested by the hosting Buckeyes 5-4. But they found their offensive form and snapped the three-game losing streak by beating Ohio State in the rematch, 9-3, with freshman RHP Jason Savacool securing a fourth straight win to open the season. Maryland also notched nine steals, their most in a single game since 2013.
The Terrapins will play a game per day for the next four days. Their first pair will be against the Northwestern Wildcats, starting on Friday at 4 p.m. and quickly followed by game two on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Northwestern and Michigan will then square off against one another in their own two-game series before the Terps tangle with a ranked Wolverines team for games three and four. Game three is tentatively set for 3:30 p.m. Sunday, with the series concluding at 3 p.m. on Monday.
Maryland will need the bats to come alive this weekend as they’re pitted against two red-hot offensive teams. Northwestern posted a whopping 36 runs in their three-game slugfest of a series on the road against Illinois. The Wildcats’ bats have been exceptionally hot, with the team compiling a .305 batting average through 14 games. That prolific pace was on display against the Fighting Illini, as Northwestern brought in eight runs in a losing effort to open the series before they won game two, 16-14, and game three, 12-5.
Meanwhile, Michigan racked up an equally impressive 25 in their last two games versus Penn State after being shutout in game one. The Wolverines have scored 8.7 runs per game on average in their 11 wins and have made a habit of erasing deficits in a hurry. In game one against the Nittany Lions, Michigan tallied 14 unanswered runs after trailing 4-3. Later that day, they dug out of a 6-1 hole with seven unanswered runs for another comeback win. Earlier in the season, they stunned in-state rivals Michigan State with the most remarkable rally of all, knocking in eight runs in the ninth inning to win 8-7.
Maryland will be depending on Savacool and the pitching staff to contain the opposition’s offense. The Terps will look to a few different outlets for offense of its own. Benjamin Cowles has been a core part of Maryland’s slugging success, hitting .400 with 23 runs batted in, both team-highs by far. He tacked on two RBIs in the win over Ohio State Monday, going two-for-three from the plate. Randy Bednar is on a roll, getting a hit in each game last weekend and plating a pair of runners on Monday as well.
Northwestern Wildcats (9-5)
Spencer Allen’s squad went a modest 6-7 before COVID-19 shut down the sporting world. The 2020 Wildcats managed a .239/.327/.340 slash line and a 3.63 ERA. But…
Northwestern has shown marked improvement from a year ago. The Wildcats are at just about the same point in the season in terms of games played and their slash line has jumped to .304/.387/.554. However, the pitching staff has some room for improvement with the ERA ballooning to 5.45. Northwestern enters the weekend off the back of a 2-1 series win over Illinois and has won seven of its last 10.
Hitters to Watch
There are a multitude of dangerous batters in this Northwestern lineup, with five Wildcats averaging well over .300. But two juniors stand out for their excellent efficiency when stepping into the batter’s box. Anthony Calarco is hitting .441, including five homers and and a team-high 50 total bases. On the other hand, Shawn Goosenberg clobbered two two-run homeruns and a two-RBI double in their last outing, and sits on a .364 BA for the season.
Pitchers to Watch
The Wildcat bullpen hasn’t impressed so far this season, with a 5.45 team ERA costing Northwestern in a couple back-and-forth losses. They will turn to junior Mike Doherty in game one, who boasts a 3.20 ERA. But the late-inning options are where Northwestern’s issues are really exacerbated. Sophomore RHP Reed Smith could provide assistance in that area, holding a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 IP which is a team-best among pitchers who have thrown for more than one inning.
No. 25 Michigan (11-4)
Like Northwestern, Michigan had a middling 2020 season, accumulating a record of 8-7 before it met an untimely end. The highlight of the season came on opening day, as they upended then-No. 2 Vanderbilt, 4-3. The Wolverines’ slash line sat at .249/.355/.344 and the pitchers collectively threw for a respectable 4.05 ERA.
And like Northwestern, Michigan has been much better to this point in the season, both offensively and defensively. The slash line has risen to .260/.375/.426 with the pitching staff shaving the ERA down by nearly a run to 3.059.
Hitters to Watch
The Wolverines wield a wealth of offensive weapons, with fifth-year players Christian Molfetta and Benjamin Sems leading the way. The two upperclassmen both bat over .300 and have a combined 21 RBIs. Sophomore Jimmy Obertop leads the team with 14 RBIs, and keep an eye out for redshirt sophomore Jordon Rogers as well. In his first collegiate starts last weekend against Penn State, Rogers had four hits and plated five runs, including a game-winner.
Pitchers to Watch
Michigan has shown much improvement in their pitching game this season. Steve Hajjar, Cameron Weston and Jacob Denner have combined for a 5-1 record and ERAs of 2.66, 3.20, and 4.32, respectively. Joe Pace has also been stellar, with no earned runs allowed in 7.1 innings pitched. The Maryland offense will likely find this bullpen more difficult to go against, but have an opportunity to start strong Monday against struggling RHP Blake Beers (6.75 ERA).
Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. Northwestern – RHP Sean Burke (1-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Doherty (1-0, 3.20 ERA)
Burke pulled out one of his best starts in Columbus against Iowa. The redshirt sophomore allowed just one earned run in six innings, striking out 11, but the bullpen would let four runs in and the Terps dropped the game.
The Massachusetts native Mike Doherty will also feel aggrieved with his last performance ending in a loss. Doherty threw for six innings and had the Wildcats in pole position up 5-4 on Illinois. Just after being pulled, the Illini ripped off an eight-run seventh en route to a 12-8 loss for Northwestern.
Saturday vs. Northwestern – RHP Nick Dean (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Jack Dyke (1-0, 8.59 ERA)
Dean had his first start come to an abrupt end, yanked from the mound in the bottom of the fourth. This happened despite only conceding one run in the first three innings, and Maryland would go on to get thumped 11-2.
Conversely, Dyke let in a run in just two-thirds of an inning. But he still ended up with his first win of the season as the sophomore from San Francisco helped close out a 16-14 slugfest in Urbana-Champaign.
Sunday vs. Michigan – RHP Connor Staine (0-2, 7.17 ERA vs. LHP Jacob Denner (1-0, 4.32 ERA)
Connor Staine has struggled to start this season and is still seeking his first win. The sophomore out of Clinton, NJ stepped in for Nick Dean against the Hawkeyes and ran into a buzzsaw, shipping six runs in 5.1 IP.
Staine will go up against a tough customer in Jacob Denner, another sophomore and Jersey native who enters the weekend off the back of shutting down Penn State through 5 IP, allowing just one run on three hits.
Monday vs. Michigan – RHP Jason Savacool (4-0, 2.83 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Beers (0-1, 6.75 ERA)
Freshman sensation Jason Savacool will close out the twinbill series again Monday afternoon for the Terps. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week selection kept his unbeaten streak alive with the 9-3 win over Ohio State, in which he pitched five innings and rung up five strikeouts.
Savacool will have a leg up on his counterpart on the mound, Blake Beers. Beers has languished this season, most recently posting five runs allowed in 2.2 IP.
The Terps’ offense finally showed up in the last game of this weekend’s pod series in Columbus, defeating the Buckeyes Monday afternoon, 9-3. The bats came alive for Maryland, and thanks to a struggling Ohio State pitching staff, Maryland was able to come away with their only win of both of the weekend’s series.
The hitting game and the running game were on point for Maryland today, highlighted by a few key home runs and as well as smart base running. Tommy Gardiner sent one out of the park in the top of the third to get the Terps on the board after trailing by two, and Bobby Zmarzlak sent out a homer of his own to score two and tie the game in the fifth.
The Terps continued to rake in the fifth inning as Randy Bednar sent out a two-run single to give Maryland the lead for the first time all game. The sixth inning fared no better for Ohio State as their defense was riddled with errors, granting Maryland another two runs. Benjamin Cowles continued his dominant season at the plate with a two-run single that gave the Terps a six-run lead heading into the sixth.
Bednar contributed in all aspects of the offensive game today, not only bringing in runs but also stealing three bases, doubling his stolen base total prior to Monday’s game.
Anticipation built around the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week Jason Savacool’s start today, but the freshman struggled to throw strikes early to the Buckeyes. What was produced were easy plays for his defense to handle, and he was pulled from the game in the bottom of the sixth to make way for Ryan Ramsey.
Ramsey had a solid showing against the Buckeyes, locking down their offense and not allowing a single run after his arrival. Maryland’s offense cooled off after the explosive sixth inning, but thanks to the pitching and fielding woes of Ohio State, the Terps were able to secure the win all the same.
The fateful sixth inning was plagued by numerous errors on the Buckeyes defensive end, including two throwing errors that allowed easy Maryland outs to occupy the bases. Other miscommunications throughout the game resulted in dropped pop fly’s, and the strokes of bad luck continued for the Buckeyes.
With this win, Maryland will be leaving Columbus with one win out of four from this weekend’s series. The Terps will return home this coming weekend where they will host Northwestern and Michigan in another pod series.