Bobby Zmarzlak elegantly tapped his helmet against Elijah Lambros’ lid at the top the Maryland logo behind home plate after hitting a high fly ball over the right field wall for his first home run of the season.
That solo shot helped Maryland pick up a 9-1 win on Sunday at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium to secure the series sweep over the Maine Black Bears.
Maine got its first lead of the weekend with a Colby Emmertz solo home run in the third inning that barely made its way over the wall in left field, earning praise from the visiting dugout as the catcher pranced around the bases.
The lead did not last long as Ian Petrutz, who hit the clutch game-winning home run in Saturday’s game, got hit by the pitch with the bases loaded to force in a run. But they say that good things come in threes, so Matt Woods and Eddie Hacopian also got hit by the pitch, still with the bases loaded, giving the Terps a 3-1 lead.
“[It just lets] you breathe a little bit and lengthen the score out especially after they hit the solo homer,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “I thought that’s a big piece, we did a good job of controlling the strike zone, now we got to punch through a little bit more.”
Just for good measure, Zmarzlak walked to give the Terps a four-spot in the home side of the third inning and diminished the confidence of Maine starting pitcher Noah Lewis.
Usual Sunday starter Nate Haberthier came in to relieve Kyle McCoy in the top of the fourth, who struck out three hitters while giving up one hit and one run on 32 pitches.
Sophomore left-hander Andrew Chevarie then entered to face the left-handed Petrutz, but walked him. Then, with the bases loaded once again, Kevin Keister ripped a ball that reached the wall in left-center field to score two more runs.
Keister, who has been hitting in the five-hole, commented on going up to the plate after some of the big Maryland batters.
“It’s good. It feels good,” Keister said. “[Lorusso] and Shaw, they’re always on base. It’s nice, I like it.”
One item to note is Maryland’s aggressiveness on the basepaths. Matt Shaw stole both second and third base in the sixth inning for the second day in a row, which was already the team’s fifth and sixth swiped bag of the day. Shaw is one of the players that has been a fearless baserunner all weekend.
“The games we were losing, we really weren’t aggressive, so we had to change something up and it really helped us win these past three games,” Keister said.
Maryland’s pitching dominated through the first six innings as McCoy and Haberthier combined to give up just one hit. But with Haberthier running into some trouble in the seventh with a double to Jeremiah Jenkins and a single to Connor Goodman to put runners on the corners, the big right-hander powered through and walked off to the dugout fired up.
“We both pound the strike zone well,” Haberthier said of him and McCoy. “We work ahead in hitters. I mean, he’s a big lefty, I’m a big righty. It’s kind of just complete opposites so I think that’s why it works really well.”
Haberthier, who is used to starting compared to coming in later in the game, treats each appearance the same.
“I do the exact same things,” Haberthier said. “In the top of the first inning I was throwing on the soccer field behind the field. Second inning I was throwing my pregame bullpen. Just treated it like the same.”
Zmarzlak’s home run in the seventh gave the Terps a 7-1 lead. It was the lanky right fielder’s first long ball of the season. Matt Woods then crushed a solo shot of his own in the following inning that bounced off the top of the wall and into the athletic practice fields.
David Falco Jr., who pitched in the eighth, stayed in for the ninth to close it out. The redshirt junior sat down the top of the Maine batting order with ease to wrap up the series sweep.
Despite getting the win, Vaughn wanted to see a little bit more out of his team.
“We’re gonna judge ourselves about us playing the best version of our game and we’ll take the win for sure, but if we can do some things a little bit better, there’s no reason that’s not a 15-1 game with the way we pitched the ball today,” Vaughn said.