Nearly nine months after Jason Savacool could have been taken in the 2020 MLB Draft, the now-freshman took to the mound Sunday afternoon hoping to lead the Terps to their first win of the season.
The right-hander was ranked No. 156 on MLB Pipeline’s list of top draft prospects, and in the series finale at Fluor Field in Greenville, South Carolina, he showed Maryland fans why.
Coming off three straight losses, including being on the brush-end of a doubleheader sweep Saturday evening, Maryland needed a spark from any source they could find. Savacool delivered, as he dazzled in his collegiate debut, pitching a complete-game and leading the Terps to a 3-2 victory over the Spartans.
With a pitching arsenal that features an electric 94 MPH fastball, Savacool didn’t get a lot of his outs via the strikeout but rather by pitching to contact, which the freshman did very efficiently. In his nine innings of work, he forced 16 groundouts from the Spartans’ bats, including two inning-ending double plays.
The proficient infield defense was also a change of pace from Saturday’s doubleheader, which featured four total errors that the Spartans were able to take advantage of.
While the Maryland bats didn’t necessarily heat up in the finale of what’s been a frustrating weekend at the plate, they did muster up some offense when it came to situational hitting.
Two of Maryland’s three runs came with two outs, with Randy Bednar and Benjamin Cowles driving them in during the third and seventh innings, respectively, with men in scoring position.
Michigan State’s Sunday starter Nick Powers — like the three to toe the rubber before him this weekend — doused out much of the threat that the tough Maryland lineup poses, but with Savacool stymieing the Spartans’ bats to just two runs (one earned), the Terps lineup was able to score those three runs and never have to look back.
With a one-run lead in the ninth inning, Savacool returned to the mound with nobody warming in the pen. A day after the Maryland bullpen allowed a four-spot in the seventh inning to fuel a Michigan State comeback, Coach Rob Vaughn let his starter attempt to finish the job himself. Savacool did just that, as he sent the Spartans down in order on seven pitches.
After a very rough start to the season, Savacool displayed a bright look into the future of Maryland baseball and one of the few positive takeaways from the four-game weekend.