Maryland Comes From Behind to Beat George Washington

Maryland had its back against the wall, down by two runs with only six more outs to give. 

Despite the circumstances, the Terps didn’t back down. A quick single by Bobby Zmarzlak and walk by Jacob Orr gave Maryland two baserunners, both of whom would be driven in on back-to-back singles by Luke Shliger and Nick Lorusso. It became a tie game with two outs.

Then, Matt Woods stepped up to the plate. The fifth year transfer from Bryant had been on fire the week leading up to the at-bat, with five home runs in the past six games, and his dominance didn’t stop there. On a 1-1 count, he sent a moonshot over the tallest section of the wall in center field. The Terps led 8-5, their first lead since the first inning. Just for good measure, Kevin Keister came in and delivered a shot of his own directly after Woods, making it 9-5 in favor of the Terps, who needed only three outs to seal the come-from-behind victory, which they would achieve.

The Terps defeated local foe George Washington 9-6 on Tuesday afternoon at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, moving them to 12-8 in the 2023 campaign. 

“Hell yeah,” Woods said about what went through his head when the ball left his bat. “I knew that was big for the squad, get some runs up and try to go win a ballgame, so I was happy to do that for the team…I got a good pitch and I didn’t miss it.”

The Terps started the game in dramatic fashion, with two home runs coming off the bats of Shliger and Matt Shaw in the first three at-bats of the game. However, their lead did not last long. The Colonials came out on fire at the top of the second, with three singles in a row capped off by a massive grand slam by graduate student Michael Kohn. The Terps quickly found themselves down 4-2, a lead held by George Washington until Maryland’s eighth inning heroics.

Despite recent success, Maryland’s pitching struggled on Tuesday. Junior Logan Ott got the starting nod, but quickly exited the game after only three innings of work which saw him give up the aforementioned grand slam. 

“[Logan] was just really up in the second inning, the changeup was up, the fastball was up,” coach Rob Vaughn said. “Credit them…very rarely do you go hit, hit, hit, jack. Logan made them earn it, he didn’t put them on for free. He was just up to me, I thought he got a little elevated with a team that made him pay for it…when he’s down around the knee, he’s pretty effective.” 

Relief pitchers Kenny Lippman and David Falco Jr., the latter getting the victory, did a nice job coming in and limiting the Colonials’ offense for the rest of the day. After the third inning, they would only get two more hits. Closer Nigel Belgrave struggled a little in the top of the ninth, but ultimately got the job done, earning him another save. 

Tuesday’s game featured a few typical starters getting some rest – designated hitter Ian Petrutz was given the day off outside of a late game pinch hitting appearance. His role was filled by Shliger, while Shliger’s catcher role was occupied by freshman Devin Russell in his first collegiate start. Russell struggled at the platen a bit, but Vaughn sung his praises about his efforts behind the dish. 

With those starters on rest and a struggling Nick Lorusso, the offense turned to another player to fill the void – Bobby Zmarzlak. Zmarzlak stepped up for the Terps in a big way, finishing the day three-for-four with a single, double, and triple. 

“Bob was outstanding,” Vaughn said. “I wanted him to hit a homer at the end for the cycle, but what great at-bats. They were loud…I don’t know what the exit velos on those were, but he didn’t have a cheap hit today. As we get into the heat of the season with conference play right around the corner, Bobby heating up is a dangerous thing for the rest of the Big Ten.” 

The Terps are now gearing up for a trip down to Florida to take on UCF this upcoming weekend. It’ll be a completely different atmosphere then what the Terps have experienced for the last few weeks, taking on a talented Knights team in hot weather.

“I thought we really handled our business against people we probably should have handled our business against the last two and a half weeks,” Vaughn said. “Now you’re gonna get tested again, going on the road against a talented team, a chippy team…we’ve gotta take the emotion out of the game and just go play good baseball. Guys are excited though, they’re chomping at the bit for 88 degrees. We gotta do a good job hydrating so that we’re not cramping and our starting pitchers can go six, seven innings. But these boys would rather play in 100 degrees than 20 like this weekend, so they’re ready to go.” 

The Terps will take on UCF on Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Midweek Preview: George Washington Colonials

No Spring Break for the Dirty Terps.

Maryland is back at the Bob for its fourth game in five days. The squad took care of business this past weekend, taking their series against Albany, 2-1. On Tuesday, they’ll welcome local opponent George Washington to campus. Maryland holds the all-time record against the Colonials, 48-29-4, but this will be the first time the two programs have faced off since 2016. 

The focus for the Terps coming into Tuesday’s game will be finding a balance between a potent offensive attack and a talented but inconsistent defense. In the Albany series, occasionally one was playing well at the expense of the other. In game one, we saw what that balance looked like, as the Terps’ offense exploded for 18 runs, with only three runs given up, all in the ninth inning. However, in game two, both offense and defense struggled in a 6-3 loss. In the finale, the offense struggled on a bitter day while the pitching and defense stifled the Great Danes in a 4-0 victory.

The Terps will hope to find that balance in Tuesday’s match. They currently sit at 11-8, sixth in the Big Ten. They’ll be looking to get as high as possible with conference play starting in just 10 days.

Here’s what you need to know about the visiting Colonials.

George Washington Colonials (5-16)

Last Season

George Washington finished last season with a 22-30 record, with a 10-14 record in conference. They finished ninth out of 12 teams, only followed by Fordham, UMass, and St. Bonaventure. The Colonials finished last season with two wins in a series victory over UMass. 

This Season

This season, the Colonials find themselves in a similar place. They currently sit at 5-16, which ranks tenth, with Dayton and St. Bonaventure behind them. So far, they have yet to win a series, getting swept by East Carolina and McNeese State and losing three series two games to one to Fairfield, Binghamton, and most recently, Niagara. Their two other victories came in midweek games against the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore on Feb. 22 and against Delaware on Mar 7. 

After today’s game, they will head back home to take on the Manhattan Jaspers in a three-game series this upcoming weekend and then will play James Madison next Tuesday. Then, it will be onto conference play against Dayton. 

Hitters to Watch 

George Washington has a collection of players who have had a strong start to the year offensively, most notably three starters who have yet to miss a game. 

Junior Eddie Micheletti Jr. highlights the group. He comes into Tuesday’s match with a .391 batting average, 1.028 OPS, and a .563 slugging percentage. He has tallied 34 hits, 19 RBIs, 11 runs scored, 10 walks, and 10 strikeouts. His 34 hits is currently the leader in the A-10 conference.

Senior Steve DiTomaso is the next best for the Colonials. He currently holds a .315 batting average, an .816 OPS, and a .446 slugging percentage. He has recorded 29 hits, 12 RBIs, 12 runs scored, 7 walks, and 13 strikeouts.

Finally, there is graduate student Michael Kohn. Kohn has notched a .312 batting average, a .976 OPS, and a .558 slugging percentage. He has 24 hits, 15 RBIs, 17 runs scored, 12 walks, and 20 strikeouts.

Pitchers to Watch

The Colonials only have two pitchers – junior Christopher Kahler and redshirt junior Logan Koester – who have averaged an inning pitched per game. 

Kahler has started this season on fire, recording a 2.87 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and a .219 batting average allowed. He has allowed 25 hits and 10 runs while notching an impressive 31 strikeouts to 12 walks in 31.1 innings pitched.

Koester, on the other hand, has struggled to begin the 2023 campaign. He has recorded a 4.75 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, and a .267 batting average allowed. He has allowed 32 hits and 16 runs while notching 17 strikeouts to 12 walks in 30.1 innings pitched.

Projected Starting Pitchers

Projected starting pitchers are currently unknown.

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.

Terps Dominate the Great Danes in Game One

There was nothing that the Albany outfielders could do in the seventh inning besides stand and watch, as the Terps offense exploded for three runs on three hits, including back-to-back home runs by Eddie Hacopian and Bobby Zmarzlak. The two moonshots extended Maryland’s lead to 8-0, a lead that they would not look back from. 

Just when you thought the Terps offense would cool off, in the very next inning the Terps drove 10 more runs across on six hits, extending their lead to 18 runs. 

The squad started their weekend series against the Albany Great Danes with an 18-3 win, their sixth straight. 

For the second straight game, the Terps offense was firing on all cylinders, finishing the day with 14 hits, which included four home runs and six doubles. The team recorded 17 RBIs, with five players responsible for multiple. The Terps also showed excellent plate discipline, finishing the day with 10 walks. 

Third baseman Nick Lorusso and right fielder Matt Woods starred for the Terps, the former going two-for-four in the batter’s box with two doubles and four RBIs. Woods stole the show, going three-for-six in the white stripes with two home runs and four RBIs. The two longshots were his third and fourth in the past three games. 

“I think it’s about staying the course and believing in yourself,” Woods said before the game. “There’s gonna be highs and lows in the game of baseball and right now I’m on a little bit of a high…you just gotta be consistent and stay confident in yourself.”

Although the Terps have had no trouble offensively so far this season, their defense has had some struggles, displayed especially in their narrow 13-11 victory over Delaware on Wednesday. Today, the Terps’ defense was substantially better.

“That’s the biggest thing, our defense has to show up every day…as much as I love our offense, you’re not gonna go score 10 runs every night,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “With the exception of the Tuesday team, we really played pretty good defense consistently, we’ve had some blips here and there…Tuesday was just one of the ugliest displays of defensive baseball that I’ve seen, and fortunately, we were able to overcome it.”

A large part of that excellent turnaround by the defense was due to Maryland’s ace, Jason Savacool, who was lights out all afternoon. He finished the day with a scoreless seven innings pitched. The junior only gave up four hits to go along with one walk and seven strikeouts. When Maryland’s guy on the mound is strong, the rest of the defense tends to follow suit.

“It’s awesome,” Lorusso said of Savacool. “His rhythm and pace is something that throws hitters off and definitely keeps defenders on their toes. I think it sparks the offense, too, when you get a quick inning and are able to get a starter to go seven innings.”

A lot of Maryland’s success comes from the fact that their entire lineup is filled with consistent hitters, who each had an impact on today’s game. Eight of the nine starters for the Terps recorded a hit, and all nine got on base. But it would be foolish to ignore the top of the lineup. Catcher Luke Shliger, along with shortstop Matt Shaw and Lorusso, have been the leaders for the Terps offensively, which should come as no surprise, as all three were ranked in their respective positions coming into the season by D1 Baseball. Perhaps the most surprising part of that is the fact that Shliger, ranked as the preseason No. 1 catcher in the country, is the leadoff man. Very few teams have their catcher start things off.

“We go as Luke goes, he does a great job of setting the tone for the game,” Vaughn said. “For him to be able to catch as many games as great as he has as well as the impact he has offensively…it tells you the special player that he is.”

The Terps will be back in action tomorrow at 2 p.m., looking to take the series win against the Great Danes.

Series Preview: Albany Great Danes

The Dirty Terps are coming back home.

After a successful road trip to Newark to take on Delaware, the Terps have extended their winning streak to five games. They’ll be looking to extend it even further this weekend, as they welcome the Albany Great Danes from the American East Conference. The two squads will face off at 4 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday. 

Late game heroics came in clutch for the Terps on Wednesday afternoon, as they defeated the Blue Hens in a 13-11 10-inning thriller. Despite a shaky day defensively, the offense was humming from the start. The squad drove in six runs in the final two innings to secure the road win. Senior Nick Lorusso came up big, hitting his eighth home run of the year. He finished the day with two hits in five at-bats with a home run, three RBIs, and three runs scored. 

The Terps now sit at 9-7 on the young season. They’ll be looking for a successful weekend as they try to claw their way back into the rankings.

Here’s what you need to know about the visiting Great Danes.

Albany Great Danes (2-7-1)

Last Season

Albany wrapped up last season with a 22-25 overall record and an 11-19 conference record. They finished last in Division A of the American East, behind Maine, University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Hartford. However, they ended the season on a high note, with a victory over UMass Lowell, 4-1.

This Season

The Great Danes, 2-7-1, currently sit at second-to-last in their conference, with only UMass Lowell behind them. They started the season getting swept by Hofstra, losing two and tying one to Farleigh Dickinson, then finally getting in the win column against Central Connecticut State. Most recently, they went 1-2 in a series vs. St. John’s last weekend. They were supposed to play Army on Wednesday afternoon, but the game was postponed. 

Next weekend, they will head home to take on UMBC in a three-game series, then hit the road for an eight-game stretch. They will start that road trip against the University of Massachusetts at Amherst before beginning conference play against the New Jersey Institute of Technology the following weekend. 

Hitters to Watch

Albany has had a strong offensive output thus far despite its record. Junior Dan Tauken has far and away been Albany’s best hitter, leading the team in most offensive categories. He has tallied a .406 batting average with a team-high 13 hits, four of which have been doubles and three of which have been home runs. He also has recorded a phenomenal 1.313 OPS to go along with a .813 slugging percentage, 10 runs scored, and 12 RBIs. 

Redshirt senior Will Feil and redshirt junior Chris Fisher will be names to watch as well. Feil has recorded a .300 batting average, a .951 OPS, and a .500 slugging percentage with 12 hits, 9 runs scored, 12 RBIs, and a team-leading 11 walks. Fisher has recorded a .385 batting average, a .979 OPS, and a .423 slugging percentage with 10 hits, 8 runs scored, and 6 RBIs. 

These three are the only players for the Great Danes to have above a .300 batting average and above a .900 OPS.

Pitchers to Watch

Only three pitchers for the Great Danes – freshman Dylan Banner, redshirt junior Cregg Scherrer, and junior Connor Eisenmann – have averaged at least one inning pitched per game, and all three have struggled to start the new campaign. 

Banner holds a 6.57 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, and a .333 batting average allowed with 18 hits, 9 runs, 3 walks, and 13 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched. Scherrer holds a 6.60 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, and a team best .328 batting average allowed with 20 hits, 12 runs, 9 walks, and 15 strikeouts in 15 innings pitched. Finally, Eisenmann holds a rough 9.95 ERA, 2.21 WHIP, and a .333 batting average allowed with 18 hits, 16 runs, 10 walks, and 7 strikeouts in 12.2 innings pitched.

Projected Starting Pitchers

Friday, March 17th: Jason Savacool and Cregg Scherrer

Saturday, March 18th: Nick Dean and Connor Eisenmann

Sunday, March 19th: Kyle McCoy and TBD