Preseason Countdown No. 11: Top 10 Moments of ’21

10: Maryland’s thriller with Penn State

In the series opener against Penn State on March 20, Maryland scored their most runs in a game since 2016. The Terps defeated the Nittany Lions in a nearly four-and-a-half hour affair on the road, 19-10.

The Terps’ 19 runs scored were their most ever in a Big Ten conference game, and the most in a league game since May 9, 2014 when the Terps scored 21 against Pittsburgh. 

Five Terps had multi-hit games, while six pitchers made appearances. 

Maryland’s scoring came in bunches, as the Terps scored multiple runs in five different innings. Benjamin Cowles had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored, five RBI, and two walks.

Despite giving up a run in less than an inning of work, Tyler Blohm, the fifth pitcher of the afternoon, picked up his first win of the season.

9: Maryland’s 20-5 stretch

Following a sluggish start to the season, Maryland baseball went 20-5 from March 29 to May 21, the best 25-game stretch in program history. Included in the stretch was part of 12 straight home wins before a regular-season finale lost to Indiana. Maryland’s 12 consecutive wins at home tied the longest home winning streak among Power Five teams in 2021.

8: 12 straight wins at home

Maryland played great at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium in 2021, going 16-4 at home. A 12 game win streak following a slow home start made College Park a difficult place to play for visitors.

In the last series of the season against Indiana the Terps secured a doubleheader sweep on May 29 for their 11th and 12th consecutive wins at home. The Terps won the first game, 4-3, in walk-off fashion in extra innings. The second game needed only the usual nine innings as Maryland won 5-2 behind a masterful start on the mound from Sean Burke.

Maryland’s 12-game home winning streak was the second longest in school history.

7: Seven-consecutive weekend series wins

Maryland baseball played perhaps their best stretch of baseball in the thick of Big Ten play when it mattered most. In the second half of the season, Maryland won seven straight weekend series. Over their last 22 games, the Terps went 18-4, the best record in the conference over that stretch.

Maryland won series against Ohio State, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, Michigan, and Indiana to wrap up the regular season. The Terps swept the Buckeyes, Wildcats, Golden Gophers, and Boilermakers to rise in the Big Ten regular season standings and propel them into the NCAA Tournament.

6: Jason Savacool earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors

Not once, but twice, did Jason Savacool earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors with outstanding pitching performances. 

On March 7, against Michigan State, Savacool pitched beautifully for his first win of the season. Savacool pitched all nine innings, allowing only one earned run on six hits. The freshman right-hander became the first Terp to throw a complete game since Hunter Parsons in 2018. Following the outing, Savacool earned his first career Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor.

Less than 20 days later, Savacool earned the honor again. Savacool threw a gem against Penn State, going the distance while not allowing an earned run. In just his third start on the mound, Savacool became the 11th pitcher nationally to toss two complete games in 2021.

5: MLB Draft

Maryland baseball pitcher Sean Burke was drafted in the 3rd round and 94 overall in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago White Sox. Burke starred for the Terps pitching staff in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Burke dazzled as a redshirt freshman, netting a 1.99 ERA and 35 strikeouts. Burke continued his spectacular play as a redshirt sophomore by recording a team high 107 punch outs and holding opposing hitters to a .178 batting average against. Burke’s strikeout numbers in 2021 ranks sixth all-time in program history. His batting average against ranked third in the Big Ten in 2021. 

4: Rob Vaughn signed a five-year extension

Following the 2021 season, Maryland baseball head coach Rob Vaughn signed a five-year contract extension, keeping him locked up with the Terps through June 2026.

Maryland had a memorable 2021 season under the helm of Vaughn. Vaughn guided the Terps to a pair of postseason wins and an appearance in the NCAA Greenville Regional Final at East Carolina in June. 

During his time as the head baseball coach at the University of Maryland Vaughn has amassed a record of 93-82 (.531). Vaughn spent his previous five years on the staff at Maryland. Vaughn served as an assistant coach in 2013-14, assistant head coach in 2015-16 and associate head coach in 2017. The Terps won two NCAA Regionals (2014 and 2015) during that time, setting program records for wins in those respective seasons.

3: Maryland destroyed Norfolk State in a record-breaking win

The Terps’ first win of the 2021 NCAA Tournament was a memorable one, as Maryland broke out the bats in a big way to end Norfolk State’s season. Maryland crushed the Spartans 16-0, thanks in large part to a school NCAA Tournament record seven home runs. The seven home runs broke the record of six set against UMBC on June 3, 2017.

Maryland’s 16-0 shutout was the largest margin of victory in a shutout since March 14, 2007 when the Terps defeated Coppin State 27-0.

The seven home runs crushed by Maryland was a season-high, surpassing the previous mark of six at Illinois on May 7. Six different Terps hit a home run against the Spartans: Randy Bednar, Maxwell Costes, Benjamin Cowles, Troy Schreffler, and Justin Vought each hit one, while Bobby Zmarzlak hit a pair. Zmarzlak’s two-homer game was his second multi-homer game of his career. 

2: End of season awards/honors

The 2021 season for Maryland baseball was its best since 2017. Countless players played big roles in the Terps season, as a couple were rewarded with recognition following the season’s end.

Junior shortstop Benjamin Cowles and sophomore left-handed relief pitcher Ryan Ramsey were named to the 2021 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Div. 1 All-East Region Team. Cowles and Ramsey became the first Terps since 2B Nick Dunn in 2018 to earn ABCA All-Region honors.

In addition to his ABCA honor, Cowles was named First Team All-Big Ten and Third Team All-American by Baseball America. Cowles led the Big Ten with 18 home runs, ranked second in RBIs (51), and ranked fourth in slugging percentage (.632). Cowles’ potent hitting was one of the best seasons by a Terp, as his 18 home runs ranks fourth all-time in program history. In addition to his offense, Cowles led the conference in assists (126) and ranked second in fielding percentage (.966) among conference shortstops.

1: Maryland baseball got back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017

For just the seventh time in program history, and the first time in five seasons, the Maryland Terrapins baseball season continued on in the NCAA Tournament. Only two members of the 2017 tournament squad remained in 2021, meaning almost an entirely new group of players reached the tournament for the first time in their careers.

Maryland put together one of its best regular seasons in program history. Maryland’s (28-16) .636 winning percentage in the regular season was the highest under the guidance of head coach Rob Vaughn. The Terps finished second in the Big Ten, their highest since joining the conference in the 2014-2015 season, and their highest conference finish since 1980 when they were second in the ACC.