Maryland handles Delaware, advances to 8-0

Delaware — playing its first midweek game of its season — deployed a bullpen game approach attempting to get through nine innings without having a traditional starting pitching option. 

Dom Velazquez, who typically enters games out of the bullpen in the late innings, got the start for the Blue Hens. The hard-throwing right hander cruised through the first inning, sending the top of the Maryland lineup down in order. 

Similar success was hard to come by in the second inning for Velazquez. No. 21 Maryland put up four runs in the frame to take a lead it would never relinquish, defeating Delaware, 14-4, to move to 8-0 on the season. 

The red-hot Nick Lorusso led off the second inning with a standup double, and Bobby Zmarzlak followed him up with a base hit of his own. Maxwell Costes came to the plate with runners on the corners. With a line drive to center field, Costes scored Lorusso easily. An errant throw to third allowed Zmarzlak to score too. 

Troy Schreffler Jr., still chasing the first home run of his junior season, connected with a Velazquez fastball and sent it over the batter’s eye in center field for Maryland’s fourth run of the inning.

“I was just trying to pepper the batter’s eye,” Schreffler Jr. said. “I was able to go out there that first AB and get something to hit, wait back a little bit and just keep my hands flying toward the middle.”

Schreffler Jr. came to bat again in the third inning, again with a runner in scoring position after a second Lorusso leadoff double. A RBI single scored Lorusso, giving Schreffler Jr. his third run batted in after only his second at-bat and stretching the Maryland lead to 5-1. 

“The past few weeks we’ve all been going and hitting a little extra and giving each other feedback,” Schreffler Jr. said. “For me to have those guys on the team to help me… That was a clear showing of the help they’ve given me.”

Meanwhile, Maryland starter Logan Ott glided through four solid innings on just 52 pitches. Making his second straight midweek game start, Ott was looking to improve upon his last outing, in which he was chased in the fifth inning when he unraveled after four good innings. 

In eerily similar fashion, the fifth inning tripped Ott up. With two runners in scoring position and one out away from escaping the jam, Ott allowed a line drive through the left side to Delaware’s Joey Loynd, bringing Rob Vaughn out of the dugout to bring in a replacement. 

“I think it’s just continuing to build him up,” Vaughn said. “In the preseason, he was throwing a lot of two inning stints, three inning stints, and now we’re asking him to go out and get us five.”

Leading 6-3 entering the seventh inning, Vaughn inserted two-way player Lorusso on the mound and brought in freshman Jacob Orr to play third base. Lorusso sent Delaware’s bottom of the lineup down in order. 

“We’re still trying, as a staff, to learn the best way to use him,” Vaughn said. “He’s a really good arm out of the ‘pen but he’s also super valuable at third.”

In the bottom of the inning, the 5-foot-9, 170 pound Orr stepped to the plate for his Maryland debut with two out and Costes and Schreffler Jr. on base. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Orr smacked a ball down the right field line. Costes and Schreffler Jr. touched home plate – giving the Terps a 8-3 lead – as Orr threw his arms in the air in the direction of the home dugout, which erupted in cheers. 

“Of my God, that’s awesome,” Schreffler Jr. said. “He’s going to be a big guy down the stretch. For him to come in, first college AB and hit a two-run double? That’s awesome.”

“I thought that was the play of the game,” Vaughn said. “He’s going to get so many hits in a Maryland uniform.”

Costes came to bat for his final appearance of the night with Zmarzlak on first after a walk and the score 9-4. Looking to add the exclamation mark to end Maryland’s night, the senior first baseman drove a ball over the left-centerfield wall. He admired it for more than a moment, then subsequently tossed his bat back to the Maryland dugout in style. 

The Terps grew their lead even more after Costes’ long ball. Kevin Keister lined a double to right field for his first extra base hit of the season to score two more and Alleyne hit a run-scoring double of his own, giving Maryland a 10-run lead that held.

Maryland has notoriously been winning games on the back of its star-studded weekend starting rotation. Earlier in the day, Vaughn sent a text to Maryland’s hitters with one simple message.

“It’s time for us to go out and win one,” Vaughn told his hitters. “It’s time for the offense to go out and win one.”