Offense gets off to hot start, leads Terps to sweep over Purdue

A four-run first inning and Sean Burke’s pitching helped guide Maryland to a 7-2 win over Purdue to win their 10th-straight home win and sweep the series Sunday from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

Matthew Shaw, who had three hits on the day, started off the first inning with a solo home run to tie the game 1-1. The Terps then put together a two-out rally: singles by Bobby Zmarzlak and Matt Orlando, who is filling in for the injured Maxwell Costes at first base brought Tommy Gardiner to the plate with the chance to do some damage. Gardiner on a full count tripled to center field that brought Zmarzlak home for two RBI and a 3-1 lead for Maryland.

“I worked the count to 3-2, got a fastball over the middle and just hammered it.” Gardiner said.

Luke Shliger would join in on the fun with an RBI single to bring home Gardiner to make it 4-1 Maryland to complete the big inning and give them a lead they would never relinquish for the rest of the afternoon.

“That’s one thing our offense been good at is responding,” coach Rob Vaughn said. “We’ve done it all year.”

After an error in the first inning allowed Purdue to push across an unearned run to briefly take the early 1-0 lead, Burke began to settle in and deal with a Purdue lineup the Terps have kept contained all series. Burke only allowed one hit through four innings and four hits total on the day. 

In the fourth and fifth innings, Burke pitched 1-2-3 frames keeping the Purdue lineup frustrated. 

“I thought it was a good outing,” Burke said. “The focus going into the week was just about moving smooth, simplifying anything and attacking the zone.”

In the fifth inning, Troy Schreffler would add on some insurance runs for Burke with an RBI double that scored two more runs to make the score 6-1 Maryland. 

Purdue would finally get to Burke in the sixth inning. A Ben Nisle RBI double cut the score to 6-2, but Burke would get Zac Fascia to fly out to end the inning and the chance of Purdue cutting into the lead further. 

Burke would end up delivering the third-straight quality outing by a Terps starting pitcher this series. Burke went six innings giving up two runs one earned and only allowed eight base runners to pick up his third win of the season.

“Burke had a super efficient start for us and was as efficient with his pitch count as he’s been all year,” Vaughn said.

Maryland would add another run and Elliot Zoellner would come out of the bullpen and record the final nine outs stress-free to put the finishing touches on an important series for a Maryland team with NCAA Tournament hopes. Maryland is now 19-5 their last 24 games, won five-straight series and won ten straight games at home. The Terps now turn their focus to next weekend as they travel for an important series in the Big Ten standings against the Michigan Wolverines.

“Great weekend for us and now our attention turns to Michigan,” Vaughn said.