Early offense guides Maryland to 9-5 win, earning a series split

Maryland’s offense attacked early for six runs en route to a 9-5 win over Rutgers Sunday to spilt the series.

After Rutgers grabbed an early 1-0 lead from a fielder’s choice in the top of the first inning. Maryland quickly loaded the bases before recording an out on a Chris Alleyne leadoff walk, a Matthew Shaw single and a Randy Bednar walk.

Rutgers starting pitcher Jayson Hoopes continued to struggle with his command, walking in a run to tie the game. A Matt Orlando single made it a 2-1 game and without recording a single out, Hoopes was pulled for Jared Bellissimo. Benjamin Cowles, who has been a force all series, brought in a third run via a sac-fly to make it 3-1 Maryland.

In the second inning, Maryland loaded the bases with no outs again with a Logan Ott single, an Alleyne double that advanced him to third base and Shaw reaching first base on an error. Randy Bednar wasn’t walking this time as his RBI single made it 4-1 and a Zmarzlak RBI double brought in two more runs.

“If we go to the field and we put together good at bats like we did today every day. We’re gonna have a really good chance to win a lot of games,” Shaw said.

After the blemish in the first inning and pitching out of a jam in the second inning, starting pitcher and Big Ten Freshman of the week Jason Savacool started to settle in with a 6-1 lead under his belt. Savacool put Rutgers down in order in the third inning and struck out the side in the fourth inning.

A Jordan Sweeney solo home run in the fifth inning was the only mistake Savacool made in the inning, but Maryland still maintained a comfortable 6-2 lead. By the time Savacool took the mound in the sixth inning, the five-run lead was back after Cowles’ second RBI sac-fly of the game.  

The high pitch count from the first two innings finally caught up to Savacool, who started to falter — giving up a solo home run to Chris Brito and a Sweeney RBI double. Suddenly, the lead was three runs and Rutgers had life.

Vaughn came to the mound and took the ball from Savacool, ending his afternoon with a line of 5 2/3 innings, threw 101 pitches, five earned runs, six strikeouts and a win.

“I thought Jason did a really nice job,” Vaughn said.

In came Ryan Ramsey from the bullpen looking to maintain Maryland’s lead. After a swinging bunt by pinch-hitter Mike Nyistor brought in another run, suddenly the tying run was at second base. Ramsey blew a pitch right past Jordan Rodriguez on a full count to get out of the jam and keep Maryland out in front.

“I’ve gotten better at this year than last year, being able to come in those situations, and being absolutely ready to get an out off the bat,” Ramsey said.

Shaw and Bednar would go back-to-back in the bottom of the inning to provide insurance runs and bring the lead back up to four as Ramsey and Sam Bello finished off the game for Maryland to get the win and earn a series split moving to 3-5 on the young season with Penn State on deck next weekend.

“I was proud of the effort, I was proud of the last 10 days of our team and the way we’ve gone about it, it’s been really good,” Vaughn said.