Luke Shliger stepped to the plate for the first time Friday afternoon, and he immediately set the tone on the very first pitch he saw. A deep home run to right center field sparked the Terps’ scoring as they beat Minnesota, 8-3, to take the series opener.
From the leadoff Shliger bomb on, the Terps were able to score early and often to cruise to a The win is Maryland’s sixth in its last seven games, and the Terps will now have the chance to clinch their second-straight Big Ten series win tomorrow afternoon.
When the Terps scored Friday afternoon, they would score in pairs. After the first two runs in the first, the Terps would hit three two-run home runs between the fourth and sixth innings. Those home runs came from Bobby Zmarzlak and Chris Alleyne in the fourth, and the third came from no other than reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Nick Lorusso.
With that home run, Lorusso now has six on the season and has extended his hitting streak to 16 and his on-base streak to 27.
Backed by an overall explosive offense throughout the evening, it was a smooth ride for starter Nick Dean, who didn’t have the most ideal start but made it through six innings to secure the “W.” Early struggles allowed the Golden Gophers to match Maryland’s early pair of runs, but Dean capped off his start with a couple of 1-2-3 innings.
Overall, Dean finished with six three-run innings (105 pitches), six strikeouts, two walks and six hits. Dean is far from his first two starts of 14 total shutout innings, but he’s recorded two-straight quality starts, showing promise that he’s getting be back on track.
After Dean exited, the Terps bullpen struggled to keep Minnesota at bay, surrendering four runs in the late innings. Transfer graduate student Nick Robinson was able to get Minnesota to its final out, but after giving up a pair of walks, hits and runs each, Sean Heine would be summoned to get the final out.
The game wouldn’t end without any stress, as back-to-back Heine walks loaded the bases and brought the tying-run to the plate. Heine thankfully was able to force a groundout to get out of the jam and secure the win.