Down three runs with the bases loaded and two outs, Maryland was at risk of squandering its best chance to get back into the game after trailing all afternoon. Behind in the count 0-2, Matt Shaw received a 94 mph fastball and sent it well over the left field wall for a grand slam. Shaw flipped his bat toward the Iowa dugout, and Eddie Hacopian threw his arms into the air as he trotted home from third. It was Maryland’s sixth grand slam of the season, and it gave them a 7-6 lead in the seventh inning in their Big Ten opener against #25 Iowa on Friday. The Terps held on to defeat the Hawkeyes at Duane Banks Field by a final of 10-9.
Iowa used a big first inning to jump out to an early lead. Jason Savacool struggled with command early on, issuing a walk, a hit batter, and a single to load the bases with no outs. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Keaton Anthony gave the Hawkeyes a 4-0 lead with a grand slam. Two batters later, Sam Petersen launched a solo home run to add to the lead, and Iowa led 5-0 after the first inning.
Iowa starter Brody Brecht was virtually unhittable through the first four innings. The projected 2024 first-round pick featured a fastball that consistently reached 100 mph and a hard, tight slider. Each of the first seven outs he recorded came via the strikeout.
Brecht couldn’t keep the relentless Maryland lineup down forever, though; the Terps got to the big right-hander the third time through the order. With two runners on base, Nick Lorusso and Matt Shaw delivered back-to-back RBI singles to get the Terps within three. Later in the inning, a balk by Brecht brought Lorusso home and the Terps trailed just 5-3 after their half of the fifth.
The Hawkeyes would get one back in the bottom of the inning, as Raider Tello led off with a solo home run. Savacool, who was able to settle in after a rocky first inning, retired the next three hitters to finish his outing. He got through five innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits, while striking out five and walking two. The five earned runs ties Savacool’s season high.
With a 6-3 lead entering the sixth inning, Iowa turned to their bullpen. Brecht pitched five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits, while striking out a career-high 13 batters and walking three. The Terps were able to load the bases with one out for Lorusso and Shaw, who have been their two best hitters all year. After Lorusso struck out, Shaw changed the game with one swing of the bat; he launched a grand slam to left field and suddenly, the Terps led 7-6.
After Kenny Lippman pitched a scoreless sixth, Tommy Kane faced a bases loaded, two-out jam in the bottom of the seventh. After Kane hit a batter to bring home the tying run, Nigel Belgrave entered the game and induced a routine fly ball to get the Terps out of the inning without further damage.
Maryland would reclaim the lead immediately, as Elijah Lambros led off the top of the eighth with a solo home run. Later in the inning, Lorusso and Shaw hit back-to-back solo shots to extend the lead to 10-7. It was Lorusso’s 11th home run of the season, and Shaw’s 10th, good enough for first and second in the Big Ten, respectively. Shaw finished the afternoon 4-for-4 with two home runs, six RBIs, and a walk.
After Belgrave allowed a leadoff walk, Kyle Huckstorf crushed a fly ball to center field and Lambros timed his jump perfectly to rob what would have been a two-run home run, a potentially game-saving play for Maryland.
After a fielder’s interference call put a runner on base for Iowa, Anthony doubled down the line to drive home a run. He would score on the next at-bat on a sacrifice fly to cut the Maryland lead to 10-9.
Despite a two-out double off the bat of Jacob Orr, the Terps were unable to add an insurance run in the ninth, and David Falco Jr. came on in search of the final three outs. Falco began the inning with a strikeout and a walk, and the Hawkeyes brought in a pinch runner looking to put the tying run in scoring position. Luke Shliger delivered a strong throw to second base, gunning down the runner for the second out of the inning. After a two-out walk, Iowa leadoff hitter Michael Seegers hit a ground ball back to Falco on the mound. The junior right-hander tossed the ball to first for the final out, picking up the save in Maryland’s Big Ten opener.
With the win, their fourth straight, the Terps move to 16-9 on the season. They’ll look to clinch the series tomorrow at 3 p.m., with Nick Dean getting the start on the mound.