After a series in Oxford where Maryland dropped 2 of 3 to 2022 College Baseball champions Ole Miss, the Terps were back at The Bob for their midweek showdown against The Delaware Blue Hens. No. 18 Maryland was looking to regain their mojo after a subpar 3-4 start to the year that included a home opener loss to West Virginia and a game which they got mercy ruled to end the Ole Miss series. And with an 8-3 victory against Delaware, the Terps got themselves back on track in a game where they got a much needed win, as well as momentum going into the Cambria College Classic for their weekend slate.
Maryland got off to a good start as Kyle McCoy impressed on the mound in the first with two strikeouts, which helped Maryland avoid the disastrous top of the 1st inning that they suffered against West Virginia, where they dug themselves into a permanent hole after allowing five runs to score.
The Terps offense continued to build on the hot streak that they’ve been riding all year, as Nick Lorusso ensured that the Terps would strike first with his RBI groundout to make it a 1-0 game. With two outs in the inning and nobody on base, that didn’t matter for Ian Petrutz who hit a monster home run for his fifth of the year in just eight games to make it a 2-0 game for the Terps after an inning. Logan Ott relieved Kyle McCoy and pitched a scoreless second inning with two strikeouts. Maryland was able to draw two walks in the second, and with two outs captain Luke Shliger came up clutch with a double which allowed Maryland to score two runs as they continued their strong offensive attack and found themselves up 4-0 after two innings.
Ott got himself into a bit of a jam in the second inning, with a man on first and second base with one out and a 3-0 count on heavy hitter Dan Covino. Though Ott kept his composure and proceeded to throw 3 straight strikes and draw a groundout to end the inning and keep Delaware scoreless. The Terps offense would stall in the third as they went down 1-2-3 for the first time of the day. Ott got himself into a jam once again in the top of the fourth, with two outs and a man on second and third, but he was yet again able to escape unscathed, drawing a line out to shortstop Matt Shaw to bring the Terps up to bat in the bottom of the inning.
“We had a bunch of pitches working for each pitcher on the mound, which kept hitters off balance all night.” Catcher Luke Shliger said. “[We] got a lot of advantage counts, and when you do that you’re gonna have success.”
The Terps would have a man on third with two outs as Elijah Lambros came to the plate, and Lambros would come up clutch with a two run homer for his third of the year to make it 6-0 Maryland as the team scored their fourth run with two outs in the game on the day. Maryland was able to force Delaware’s starting pitcher Wyatt Nelson out after he allowed a single to Luke Shliger and walk to Matt Shaw, Nelson was relieved by Dan Frank after he pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and six runs. Frank was able to get out of the inning and limit the damage for Delaware after a Nick Lorusso warning track fly out. Logan Ott would have no struggles in the fifth inning as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning and continued his torrid day with four scoreless innings.
When asked if Logan Ott would get the chance to start in future midweek games, Coach Rob Vaughn was enthusiastic about the prospect.
“He’s done it a lot in his career here. What you need is a strike thrower that connects pitches [and] that breaking ball’s been way better than it’s been in the past so we kind of play weekend by weekend but he’s just the guy I trust with the ball.”
Maryland’s offensive attack staled in the sixth, and The Blue Hens would take advantage in the bottom of the sixth as they tacked on two runs after a Jake Dunion single and Owen Petrich double marked their first two runs of the game to pull them within four of the Terps. Logan Ott was taken out of the game at this point and replaced by Andrew Johnson after a day which saw him allow only two runs in 4 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts on the day. Andrew Johnson would draw the fly out to allow Maryland a chance to reignite their offense, and with a runner on second and third with two outs, Nick Lorusso would take advantage with an RBI single that saw Maryland go up 8-2 to begin the inning as the Terps offense once again scored runs with two out. Lorusso got his RBI total up to three on the day and 14 on the year with the hit.
Andrew Johnson’s control issues from previous outings would continue as he would walk Delaware’s first two batters giving the Blue Hens a runner on first and second to begin the inning. Johnson would make his best effort to get out of the inning, with a strikeout and fly out brining him one out away. Though, he was unsuccessful, as JJ Freeman hit a rocket up the middle that turned into an RBI single making it an 8-3 game as Johnson was pulled for David Falco, who was able to take down Delaware and allow Maryland to come back up to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning. Maryland was able to capitalize on two errors from Blue Hen JJ Freeman at shortstop, giving them men on first and second with no outs, but the Terps were still unable to score. David Falco would continue his outing in the eighth and he would dominate, sending the Blue Hens down in order and setting up the Terps for the chance to end the game after they failed to tack on anymore runs in the eighth inning.
Vaughn was very satisfied with Falco’s performance after he had a bit of a rough patch this passed weekend against Ole Miss and stated that he believes that Falco will be at a high level consistently going forward.
“Dave’s a veteran, he’s thrown a ton and when he’s stuff and he’s ahead of hitters he’s really good. He was just behind in the count his first two outings [and he] did a much better job at getting ahead of hitters today. He’s a huge piece of our bullpen so [it]s good to have him have a good bounce back day.”
Nigel Belgrave relieved David Falco in the ninth, and although it wasn’t a 1-2-3 inning for Belgrave, he still managed to close out the game with three straight strikeouts, giving Maryland the 8-3 victory over the Blue Hens.
With the victory, Maryland moved to 4-4 on the year and Delaware dropped to 3-5. Maryland will face Delaware for another midweek game in two weeks in Newark. The Terps move on to the Cambria College Classic this weekend which will see the team face Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and Hawaii.