Preseason Countdown #8: Top five performances of 2020

The 2020 season may have only been 15 games long, but it had more than a few strong Terps performances — both hitting and pitching –along the way. With eight days left until Maryland Opening Day, relive five standout moments (in no particular order) that give Maryland fans plenty to look forward to for 2021.

No. 1: Sean Burke’s stellar debut

After serving a redshirt season his freshman year, Burke came into the 2020 season roaring with a dominant start against the College of Charleston. He threw five innings of one-run ball while striking out eight batters and allowing one run. Burke did strike out 11 batters in a start 20 days later, but his debut stands out particularly because it’s the beginning of what should be a very bright career for Burke at Maryland and will certainly be warmly remembered.

No. 2: Bobby Zmarzlak brings home seven

Maryland’s group of freshmen hitters in 2020 was full of talent, and one freshman — Bobby Zmarzlak — displayed some of that talent at full force in Maryland’s 14-3 win over Bryant on March 6. Zmarzlak went 2-5, but added a walk to that as well as an early career-high of seven RBI as Maryland’s designated hitter that day.

No. 3: Benjamin Cowles goes perfect at the plate

In a midweek win over Delaware on March 4, Cowles led the way for Maryland as he went a perfect 4-4 in plate appearances. The crafty shortstop picked up two hits, two walks, and brought in five runs to boot. Cowles also stole one base and scored three runs as Maryland blasted the Blue Hens for 13 runs.

No. 4: Terps pitching blanks Rhode Island

It’s not surprising that Maryland’s only shutout of the short season came during a Burke start. The redshirt freshman tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings, racking up eight strikeouts. Then the bullpen took over, featuring appearances from Elliot Zoellner, Connor Staine, and Mark DiLuia. Zoellner stranded a runner at third base to end the sixth inning, and then Staine came in for 2 2/3 scoreless innings. DiLuia shut the door in the ninth, striking out the Rams’ final batter.

No. 5: Maxwell Costes and Randy Bednar blast George Mason

Both Costes and Bednar combined for six hits to go with a home run each as Maryland put on a 13-3 rout of the George Mason Patriots. The duo also took advantage of a very poor Patriots pitching performance and drew three total walks and a hit-by-pitch. For Costes and Bednar, this game was the pinnacle of what looked to be career-best seasons from the veterans.