With a monsoon-like rainstorm wiping out any chance of Friday night’s game being played, the Terps were be forced to play a straight doubleheader Saturday afternoon. The rain didn’t entirely disperse Saturday as the Terps kicked off the final series of the season with a sweep of the doubleheader over the Indiana Hoosiers, winning game one, 4-3 and game two, 5-2.
Game one pitted two of the best starting pitchers in the conference against each other, with Freshman Jason Savacool matching up with Gabe Bierman. Savacool came into this start as a three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, while Bierman owns the third-best ERA in the Big Ten (2.78).
The pitchers’ duel was as advertised as scoring was limited to just four runs between the two starters, and not surprisingly, only one of those runs was scored on a hit.
The Terps kicked off the scoring with Bobby Zmarzlak drawing a two-out walk with the bases loaded, but the Hoosiers didn’t wait too long before matching the score.
While Savacool did his job to keep Indiana scoring to a minimum, his one flaw was allowing the dreaded leadoff walk, which he did in back-to-back innings as his control seemed to drop off throughout his outing. The first walk came in the fourth inning, and the free pass came around to score off a sacrifice fly courtesy of Cole Barr.
Savacool’s struggles only got worse when seeing the Hoosiers lineup the third time around in, as the leadoff hitter Jeremy Houston served a pitch to deep left field for a double to lead off the sixth frame. A couple batters later and Grant Richardson would loop a single into center field to bring home Houston, giving Indiana its first lead of the day.
Indiana would extend its lead in the sixth as Savacool came undone, loading the bases thanks to a hit batter and a walk. The consequential, second sacrifice fly of the day would provide Indiana with some insurance as they jumped to a 3-1 lead.
As Savacool exited after six innings of work with his team trailing, it was still a positive outing for the freshman. He recorded his sixth quality start of the season and nearly matched his season-high in strikeouts with six on the afternoon.
David Falco entered from the bullpen to limit the Hoosiers to their three runs, and that’s just what he did with three scoreless frames.
But with the Maryland offense unable to come up with anything following the first-inning bases-loaded walk, the stellar pitching in relief would appear to be for naught — that is until the ninth inning.
After Bierman and the Hoosiers bullpen sent down 13 of Maryland’s last 14 batters prior to the ninth, Maxwell Costes would become game one’s hero, smashing a solo bomb to left-center field to tie the game at three runs and giving the Maryland offense life.
The Maryland bullpen continued to shove in extras, as Ryan Ramsey replaced Falco in the tenth frame and promptly retired the side.
While the offense was more than anemic for a majority of game one, the Terps would finish off the Hoosiers in a similar fashion to how they started them off.
After loading the bases on a walk and two hit batters, the Terps offensive MVP Benjamin Cowles stepped to the plate. Working the count full against Nathan Stahl, Cowles drew the bases-loaded walk to walk it off against Indiana, 4-3 — making it the third time the Terps have won in that fashion this season.
Game two presented yet another pitchers’ duel — this time between two 2021 MLB Draft hopefuls: Sean Burke and McCade Brown.
With both starters being ranked within the top-100 of MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 Draft Prospects list, it arguably should have set up for a more intense battle than game one’s pitchers’ duel. However, Brown’s rare struggle with command would put Indiana into an early hole.
Walking five batters in the first inning, Maryland stole an early 2-0 lead on Brown’s shaky command — a lead they would take and never look back. In total, Brown walked a career-high eight batters in just three innings, easily his worst outing of the season.
Burke would pitch from the opposite side of the spectrum as he stayed sharp on the mound, lighting up Indiana’s lineup for 12 strikeouts — a new season-high.
As Burke butchered the Hoosiers, the Terps lineup would still struggle to get hits against the Hoosiers, especially after Brown exited the game in favor of Braydon Tucker. Tucker immediately struck out the side in his first frame, but the Terps bats would finally heat up in the fifth inning.
After Cowles picked up a rare infield single, Costes launched a Tucker pitch off the top of the right field wall to score Cowles from first and extend the Terps lead to 3-0.
While Maryland may have struggled to find just a few hits in game two, the Hoosiers struggled even more as they were held hitless through 6 2/3 innings. They finally broke through when Kip Fougerousse slapped a single to center field.
It would be the first time Indiana really threatened to that point as it loaded the bases on a walk against Elliott Zoellner, who replaced Burke after his 6 2/3 innings of work. A lined shot off the bat of pinch-hitter Ethan Vecrumba to center field would have Terps fans holding their breaths — but it fell just short of the wall into the glove of Chris Alleyne to keep a zero in the Hoosier run column.
Maryland’s offense found some life in the seventh inning, as the first five Terps would reach base and add two more runs onto the lead. Justin Vought nearly blew game two wide open with a deep blast with the bases loaded but just fell short of his second grand slam of the season.
A solo home run from Drew Ashley in the seventh and a two-out Jacob Southern RBI single were the only blemishes on Zoellner down the stretch, and he was able to safely navigate the Terps through the final few innings to secure the doubleheader sweep.
The sweep gives Maryland its seventh-straight series win, and gives them the chance to sweep the series Sunday at noon in the regular season finale.