The stage was set for No. 17 Maryland on Sunday: celebrating senior day on a beautiful afternoon for baseball, the Terps came in with a chance to sweep Michigan and gain more ground in a crowded top of the Big 10 standings.
The Terps took full advantage, defeating the Wolverines 15-10.
It was all Michigan to start, scoring quickly in the first and taking a 3-0 lead halfway through the fifth inning. The Terps had plenty of early chances to score, but couldn’t take advantage, going 0-5 with runners in scoring position in the first four innings.
After looking lethargic early on, the Terps lineup finally came alive in the fifth with four home runs.
Nick Lorusso got it started with a two-run shot, immediately followed by Matt Shaw’s fifth home run of the weekend. Three batters later, Ian Petrutz launched a three-run home run over the right field wall, giving Maryland its first lead of the game.
“I went up in the count early and I knew he was going to throw a lot of changeups,” Petrutz said. “3-1 I was just banking on a fastball. He threw a fastball belt high that I could drive and I drove it.”
Number four came off the bat of Chris Alleyne, just barely pushing one over the fence to bring two more runs across. After trailing the entire game, Maryland was now fully in control.
“Bubba’s our captain. He’s tough as nails,” Head Coach Rob Vaughn said of the fifth-year senior. “There’s not enough adjectives I could use to describe his importance to this program.”
A Luke Shliger three-run shot in the sixth and another Shaw home run in the seventh made the Maryland lead ten and put the game fully out of reach.
With his two home runs today, Matt Shaw finished off a historic weekend, hitting six home runs and driving in twelve runs across three games. He also now finds himself ahead of Chris Alleyne for the conference lead in longballs with nineteen on the season.
“You’ll get a few days where you see the ball well,” Shaw said. “I’m hoping to stay consistent with this through the end of the season.”
It was a mixed bag start of sorts for Nick Dean today, giving up four runs on eight hits in five and 2/3 innings of work.
There were points where the Maryland starter looked as dominant as he did at the start of the season, striking out six Wolverines, but he also showed the same signs of struggle from late March and April, allowing eleven batters to reach base.
After a Michigan rally in the ninth that brought home four runs, Lorusso came on and got the final out, securing another conference win and a sweep over the Wolverines.
The win today capped off a senior day celebration that saw recognition for Maryland’s six graduating seniors.
“This group, they’ve turned in the best year in school history up to this point in the regular season,” Vaughn said. “When you get that, you have to have special people.”
With the win, Maryland improves to 41-10 and 16-5 in the Big 10, now tied atop the conference standings with Rutgers as the schedule enters its final week. Michigan falls to 10-11 in conference play, still having work to do next weekend to secure a spot in the Big 10 tournament.
The Terps will look to extend their winning streak to five games on Tuesday against James Madison in the team’s final regular season home game of the year. The starting pitching matchup is still to be determined.