Behind a five-run first inning, Maryland overpowered Purdue to shut out the Boilermakers 11-0 in the series opener Friday from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
The Terps attacked Purdue starting pitcher Calvin Schapira right away with a leadoff triple by Chris Alleyne. A Matt Shaw RBI sacrifice fly brought the speedy Alleyne home to quickly make the score 1-0.
“When [Alleyne] is going our offense is just different,” coach Rob Vaughn said.
But Maryland wasn’t done in the inning, as a Ben Cowles single, a Bobby Zmarzlak single along with a Tommy Gardiner walk loaded the bases with two outs allowing the hot-hitting Justin Vought to come up to the plate.
Vought, who hit three home runs Sunday against Illinois in game two of the doubleheader had a chance to break the game open early. He didn’t wait to continue his hot home run streak.
Vought hit the first pitch he saw from Schapira out to center field for a grand slam to give the Terps the early 5-0 lead. It is the big hit the Terps are looking for with runners in scoring position at this point in the season when there is no room for error in putting opponents you’re supposed to beat away early.
“The Grand Slam was huge,” Vaughn said.
Taking the mound in the second with a 5-0 lead was all starting pitcher Nick Dean needed on the evening. Dean pitched six scoreless innings giving up only six hits on 93 pitches putting together another quality, stress-free outing on his season. Purdue’s only chances in the day came on leadoff doubles in both the second and fourth inning trying to put together some offensive production to get back into the game but Dean had no trouble working around both.
“When we have that big of a lead, it’s just really like important not to nibble around guys and just go right at them attack the zone and make them earn everything,” Dean said.
The Terps offense didn’t just settle and stop producing runs after the first inning. A Cowles RBI single added a run in the second inning. The Terps would add two runs in the fourth inning via a sacrifice fly and an RBI single push the score to 8-0. In the fifth inning, Shaw picked up his third RBI of the game on a double that brought Alleyne home to make it 9-0.
In the seventh inning, Cowles on a 2-1 pitch homered to deep center field for a solo shot to give Maryland its 11th run of the ballgame. It was Cowles Big Ten-leading 15th home run of the season and also extends his streak of homering in every series so far this season.
“It’s just business as usual,” Cowles said.
Coming into the game, Maryland sat on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament needing a strong series to give themselves a shot of making their first NCAA Tournament since 2017. They delivered their most complete game of the season behind its offense, Dean’s quality outing and stellar defense across the board.
And now they’ll have a chance to take care of business and win the series tomorrow behind the Big Ten freshman of the week, Jason Savacool taking the mound.
“That’s what winning baseball looks like, and they did a phenomenal job taking care of business tonight,” Vaughn said.