Maryland bats erupt to even the series with UCF

Matt Shaw held the follow-through on his swing and nonchalantly trotted out of the batter’s box, admiring the moonshot he had just launched over everything in left field. It was a two-run home run that blew the game open, giving Maryland an eight-run lead en route to a 16-6 win over UCF in the second game of the series on Saturday at John Euliano Park.

The first inning followed a similar script to Friday’s game. For the second straight evening, Matt Woods got the Terps on the board in the top of the first inning with an RBI single. Ian Petrutz and Eddie Hacopian opened the second with back-to-back doubles, giving Maryland a 2-0 lead.

Nick Dean retired the first seven batters he faced, but John Rhys Plumlee got to him in the third inning with a two-run homer to tie the game. Maryland responded with four runs in the top of the fourth. Jacob Orr and Luke Shliger each delivered an RBI double, and Nick Lorusso lifted a towering two-run blast to center field to cap the inning. It was the third baseman’s team-leading ninth home run and it pushed the advantage to 6-2.

UCF came back with another two-run home run in the bottom half of the inning off the bat of Drew Faurot, which prompted Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn to turn to his bullpen. Kenny Lippman came in for Dean, who exited after allowing four earned runs on six hits.

The Maryland offense got right back to work in the fifth. Kevin Keister lined a triple off the right field wall to plate Woods, and Hacopian followed with a two-run single that made it a 9-4 game. In the bottom of the inning, UCF got a run back with a run-scoring double from Nick Romano. It was the only run they would score off Lippman over his three innings of work.

In the sixth inning, Bobby Zmarzlak was hit on the helmet by a breaking ball. He was able to walk off the field on his own power, but was replaced by Elijah Lambros. Later that inning, Petrutz lined a single into left for his second RBI of the night, extending the Maryland lead to 10-5.

After a scoreless sixth from Lippman, Maryland opened the floodgates in the seventh. With a runner on second and one out, Lorusso dropped an RBI single into shallow center, and Shaw followed with a monster home run to make it a 13-5 game. Two batters later, Lambros crushed a solo shot to nearly the same spot.

Tommy Kane took the mound in the bottom of the seventh and allowed a run on two hits, but the Terps continued their onslaught in the eighth. Petrutz mashed a solo home run to right field, and after being hit by a pitch and advancing to second on a wild pitch, Orr trotted home on Lorusso’s third run-scoring hit of the ballgame. Maryland led 16-6 after their half of the inning, and they won by that score after Ryan Van Buren finished the game with two scoreless frames.

Maryland’s offensive numbers on Saturday were nothing short of impressive. Every Terp who stepped to the plate reached base at least once. The Terps racked up 18 hits, including 12 extra-base hits and four home runs. Their lineup depth was on full display, with nine different players recording an RBI.

With the win, Maryland’s record improves to 13-9. They’ll look to take the series in the rubber match tomorrow at 1 p.m.