Maryland Wins the Albany Series with a 4-0 Shutout in Game Three

The Terps are back in the win column following Saturday’s disappointing 6-3 loss to Albany. On Sunday, they took care of business, shutting the Great Danes’ offense out in a 4-0 victory at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. They take the series, two games to one. 

It was a frigid Sunday in College Park as the temperature hovered in the mid-thirties, with the wind chill bringing it down into the twenties. Not the ideal atmosphere for playing baseball, which was on display in a mediocre offensive showing for Maryland.

“Today is not what baseball is supposed to be played in, it was a miserable day out here,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “I mean, calling it what it is, the preparation was weird… when we got out here this morning it was 22 degrees, not a fun day to hit. We did enough, we just didn’t do a great job today.”

The Terps finished the day with seven hits, five walks, and four strikeouts. The top of the order — catcher Luke Shliger, third baseman Nick Lorusso, and shortstop Matt Shaw — were responsible for all of the runs scored today. Shaw had the most efficient day at the plate, hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning and taking two walks. 

Despite the lackluster offensive performance, Maryland’s defense was phenomenal. The Terps held the Great Danes scoreless, with only one hit given up. The credit for a large part of that success belongs to Maryland pitchers Kyle McCoy and Nate Haberthier. In the final seven innings of the game, the two did not allow a baserunner, outside of one reaching first on an error by Shaw in the bottom of the ninth.

McCoy started on the mound, tossing five scoreless innings with one hit, one walk, and five strikeouts. At first, it seemed like a questionable decision by Vaughn to pull McCoy after only five, but his decision proved fruitful when Haberthier came in and finished the final four innings. He held the Great Danes scoreless and hitless, with no walks and four strikeouts. 

“We needed a good start, and Kyle really set the tone early,” Vaughn said. “He threw 76 pitches, which is great, that’s about where we wanted to get him to today. We wanted to make sure we didn’t go from 50-60 last week to 90 this week.”

Vaughn has wanted to take the pressure off of his bullpen — especially closer Nigel Belgrave — and Haberthier’s impressive performance allowed him to do so.

“We’ve taxed that bullpen a little bit the first three weeks, so to give Nigel a weekend down and not have to get him up is huge because now that means he’ll be hot as can be on Tuesday, and hopefully have a really fresh bullpen going into next weekend,” Vaughn said.

The goal for Maryland now will be about finding a more consistent balance between good offense and good defense. On Friday, we saw what the team was capable of when they combined the two, but on Saturday they struggled on both ends. Today, it was great defense and mediocre offense. 

“We talked about defense showing up every day, and if you get a start like we got in pitching today and play clean defense, you win,” Vaughn said. “I thought we were elite defensively today and elite on the mound today, and that’s what allowed us in the other part of the game to not be so elite and still come away with a win. If you do two of those things at a really high level, you give yourself a fighting chance. When you have all three at a really high level, you blow people out.”

The Terps move to 11-8 on the season and will be back home on Tuesday to take on George Washington.