Savacool cruises through Boilermaker bats, leads Terps to fifth-straight series win

Behind the pitching of Big Ten Freshman of the Week Jason Savacool and three home runs by the offense, Maryland beat Purdue 6-1 Saturday from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium to win their fifth-straight series and continue their push to the NCAA Tournament.

Savacool got off to a shaky start allowing Purdue to score their first run of the series in the first inning on a two-out RBI single by Ben Nisle to make it 1-0. 

Even though he didn’t have his best stuff to start the game, Savacool would get some help from his defense. In the second inning, catcher Riley Langerman threw out Tyler Powers trying to steal second to help Savacool get out of the inning. 

“Right now we’re playing at an elite defensive level,” Savacool said.

After Maryland scored two runs in the bottom of the second to take the lead 2-1, Savacool faced a jam in the third with runners on second and third with two outs. Ryan Bowe hit a ball to right field that looked like off the bat it would bring in a pair of runs, but Troy Schreffler made a diving catch to get Savacool out of the inning unharmed and maintain Maryland’s 2-1 lead.

“[Jason’s] a winner,” coach Rob Vaughn said. “He had average command … but what winners do is they find a way to work out of jams and make pitches when they matter.”

In the fifth inning, the Maryland offense would get some insurance runs for Savacool via home runs. Chris Alleyne hit the first pitch he saw for a solo home run to extend the lead to 3-1. Two batters later, just like last night, the red hot Ben Cowles hit a solo home run for his Big Ten-leading 16th home run of the season to make it 4-1. Cowles has hit a home run in every series so far this season and his batting average has reached .316 on the season.

With some breathing room on the scoreboard, Savacool went to work in the fifth inning, pitching a 1-2-3 inning.

Savacool got some more insurance in the sixth inning, with Bobby Zmarkzlak’s solo home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

“I’m just trying to simple everything down,” Zmarkzlak said. “I’ve been trying to hammer the fastball and on two strikes really compete and I’ve been doing a really good job of that.”

Approaching 100 pitches, Savacool returned to the mound with a four-run lead and with two outs gave up a single to Powers who stole second putting himself in scoring position. But Savacool got Evan Albrecht to hit a groundball right to him to end the inning. 

Savacool gave Maryland another quality outing when they were looking for it, pitching six innings, giving up one run on seven hits, and striking out three batters on 114 pitches en route to the win. 

“I had pretty average stuff today,” Savacool said. “I was able to make it up with some four-seam command and battling, competing for six innings.”

Maryland would add another run in the seventh inning to make it 6-1. Ryan Ramsey came out of the bullpen and closed out three stress-free innings to allow Maryland to win their fifth-straight series, their ninth-straight win at home, can go for the sweep tomorrow and most importantly continue their push towards their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2017.

“It’s been a good start to the weekend but we got a big one left tomorrow,” Vaughn said.