A special 2021 season comes to end for the Terps as they fall to East Carolina

Maryland knew to beat a baseball powerhouse like East Carolina in front of the hostile home crowd in Greenville they had to get off to a great start and take advantage of their scoring chances with runners on base early. Neither happened as they never led and left eleven runners on base. As a result, Maryland’s season came to an end Sunday night in an 9-6 loss as East Carolina advanced to the Super Regionals.

The big blow came in the top of the eighth after Maryland failed to turn a double play that would have gotten them out of the inning still down 5-4. Costes and Shaw couldn’t turn it fast enough allowing a runner to score to make it 6-4. 

The next batter Zach Agnos delivered the big blow of the game: a double into the gap that scored two runs and broke the game open 8-4. Down to its last six outs, Maryland did not give up and fought to the end. Maxwell Costes displayed that mindset with a two-run homer — his third of the regional — to cut the deficit to 8-6 hoping for some late-inning magic.

But after East Carolina added another insurance run in the ninth inning, Maryland was unable to rally like they did earlier Sunday, and as a result, the clock had literally struck past midnight as its road to Omaha came to an end.

“I thought the guys, laid it on the line and I thought they absolutely left the tank completely empty,” coach Rob Vaughn said.  

After a rain delay delayed the start of the game. Connor Staine was given the ball to start off and East Carolina jumped on him from the start, getting back-to-back doubles from Thomas Francisco and Josh Moylan to go up 1-0, and an Alec Makarewicz single made it 2-0 before Maryland could grab a bat. 

Matt Shaw wasn’t afraid of the moment and got one of the runs back quickly in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff home run to left field. 

“As leadoff hitter, I’m kind of just trying to see some pitchers and every time I go up to bat I’m just trying to hit the ball hard,” Shaw said.

After a shaky first, the hope was Staine could settle in and pitch a clean second inning for the Terps. He didn’t and was pulled with two outs in the second inning for Sam Bello after giving up a solo home run to Seth Caddell to make it 3-1. 

“I just didn’t [Staine] wasn’t too sharp because he hasn’t been on the mound, a lot in the last couple of weeks,” Vaughn said.

East Carolina would add another run in the third inning with a sacrifice fly by Agnos before Shaw would hit his second home run of the game to cut the deficit to 4-2 in the bottom half of the inning. 

When Bello loaded the bases in the fourth inning, Sean Fisher was summoned from the bullpen and was wild to start his outing, hitting two batters in a row to force in another run. That made the score 5-2, but Fisher got out of the inning without any more damage to keep Maryland within striking distance.

Maryland definitely had its chances with runners on base to do some damage early in the game. The Terps had two runners on in the second inning, but Tucker Flint grounded out to end the inning. They were in the same scenario in the third after Shaw’s home run, but Bobby Zmarzlak struck out and Justin Vought popped out to the shortstop to end Maryland’s hope of a rally.

In the fourth inning, Maryland had runners on second and first with its two best hitters up. Shaw this time struck out, and a Ben Cowles flyout was a couple of feet away from tying the game but died at the warning track. 

“We had some opportunities early, and just couldn’t quite get the big hit,” Vaughn said.

Maryland finally broke through in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, a rocket off of Troy Schreffler’s bat deflected off Ryder Giles’ glove at shortstop into left field and allowed two runs to score, cutting East Carolina’s lead to 5-4. Maryland couldn’t find that important tying run before East Carolina added those insurance runs late to extend their season for another game.

Even with the heartbreaking loss, it was a successful and historic season for Maryland as it finished with a 30-18 record and finishing second in the Big Ten despite the injuries and the adversity they faced all season.

“You just can’t say enough about this group, [with] the adversity that these guys have been through and the challenges that have been put in front of them,” Vaughn said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a team that’s done what this team’s done.”

Vought walks it off, keeps Maryland alive in Greenville Regional

Maryland was 1-13 coming into Sunday when trailing after seven innings. With their season on the line, the Terps found themselves in that exact same situation, down 1-0 going in the bottom of the eighth, but came back and walked it off 2-1 over Charlotte to keep their season alive and advance to the Greenville Regional Final later Sunday against East Carolina. 

Needing someone to step up down 1-0 in the eighth inning, Troy Scheffler Jr. did just that with a single, and he advanced to second on a wild pitch. Tucker Flint laid down a bunt to advance Schreffler to third base and reached himself on a throwing error. The freshman Matt Shaw hit into a productive double play that tied the game and gave Maryland new life on a season that has been full of adversity.

In the ninth inning, Charlotte had runners on first and second base against Elliot Zoellner when Maryland’s defense showed up when it needed it most for their pitcher. Justin Vought threw out the lead runner at second on a pickoff and Shaw saved the potential go-ahead run from scoring on a lineout to get out of the inning.

“[Dragum] caught that last ball pretty good but we had Shaw positioned in a good spot and he made a play,” coach Rob Vaughn said.

Facing Friday night starter Andrew Lindsey, Randy Bednar led off with a single and advanced to third on Maxwell Costes’s own single and Maryland had the winning run on third with no outs. A Bobby Zmarzlak infield single loaded the bases up for Vought and the senior didn’t wait to deliver the big moment with a walk-off single to right field to complete the comeback.

“Postseason baseball is about guys just stepping up and getting it done,” Vaughn said.

The Terps wouldn’t have been in this situation to come back if it wasn’t for Ryan Ramsey’s gem in the first collegiate start of his career.

“[Ramsey] has not started a game for us this year,” Vaughn said. “He goes out and goes 100 pitches and is absolutely flawless, he’s the story of this game.”

Ramsey went eight innings and gave up three hits where his only mistake on the day came in the fourth inning when Conference-USA Player of the Year Austin Knight hit a home run to left field to give the 49ers an early 1-0 lead that looked like for a while it would stick. 

Ramsey only needed seven pitches to get through the first inning and got out of a two-runner jam in the second inning. With defense being a theme of the day, Ramsey picked off a runner leaning off of first base in the third inning to keep the game scoreless. 

With his offense struggling to get hits and get on base already down 1-0, Ramsey kept the Terps in the game. In the sixth inning, Carson Johnson hit a leadoff double, but Ramsey buckled down and retired the next three batters to get out of the jam. 

In the next inning, Ramsey found himself in a similar spot with a runner on second base and one out, but once again Ramsey got himself out of the jam to give his team a chance.

Running out of steam in the eighth inning, Ramsey walked the leadoff batter, Todd Elwood, on four pitches. Ramsey emptied the tank and retired the next three batters to finish off an outing the Terps needed to keep their season alive.

“Got to keep the same mentality, the whole game in just keep on throwing pitches and getting outs,” Ramsey said. “I trust those guys to pull away and get some runs, and we did that in last inning.”

For the first seven innings, Maryland’s offense was held in check by starting pitcher Matt Brooks. After combining for 26 runs in the first two days of the Greenville Regional the Maryland offense had no answer for Brooks.

“Offensively, I thought, we took some tired swings a little bit,” Vaughn said.

The Terps’ only baserunner through the first three innings was a Bednar Jr. walk in the first inning as Brooks was cruising the first time through the order. 

It wasn’t till the fourth inning where Maryland recorded its first hit of the ballgame on a Ben Cowles single, and after Zmarzlak singled, Cowles stood in scoring position at second base. That rally was quickly put to an end as Brooks got Vought swinging to end the inning. 

In the fifth inning with one out, Flint laid down a bunt single down the third baseline. Rounding second base Schreffler Jr. saw a chance to advance to third base with no one covering the bag. But a heads-up play by catcher Aaron McKeithan to sprint over to third base and just tag out Scheffler Jr. ended Maryland’s scoring chance. 

Adversity wasn’t new to this Maryland squad as it answered the call all year. They needed to answer the call one more time when they needed to in the eighth and ninth inning. Their success paid off, as they now advance to the regional final against East Carolina where they’ll need to win to force a winner-take-all game for a Super Regionals berth Monday.

“We’re excited to get back to the hotel get off our feet for a minute and then line up and rock and roll at six o’clock tonight,” Vaughn said.

Season-high seven home runs fuel Terps offensive explosion, keep tourney hopes alive

Maryland hit a season-high seven home runs in a 16-0 blowout win over Norfolk State to advance in the losers bracket of the Greenville Regional and keep the Terps’ tournament hopes alive for another day.

Coach Rob Vaughn wanted his team to get off to a great start Saturday in the first inning and Bobby Zmarzlak did that, getting the party started with a three-run homer off MEAC Player of the Year Danny Hosley to give Maryland an early 3-0 lead.

Maxwell Costes was next up in the third inning, as his own three-run homer hit off the batters eye in center field for his second of the regional and made it 6-0.

“I really liked the way [Costes] has swung the bat,” Vaughn said. “He has the ability to put a team on his back and in the postseason, that’s what we’re gonna need from him.

Justin Vought added a RBI single and Troy Scheffler Jr.’s safety squeeze capped off a five-run inning for the Terps to go up 8-0. 

The home runs kept coming in the fourth inning, as Ben Cowles hit his 18th home run of the season, a two-run homer to left-center field to make it 10-0. Randy Bednar Jr. followed Cowles’ lead and went back-to-back with his second home run of the regional and made it 11-0. 

Later in the inning, Vought hit a two-run homer — his ninth home run of the season — to make it 13-0. For the second time in the inning, Maryland would go back-to-back as Schreffler Jr. hit his first home run of the season to make it 14-0 and tying their most home runs hit on the season. 

In the sixth inning, Zmarzlak, who finished the day 4-5 and a triple shy of the cycle, capped off the offensive firepower for the Terps with his second home run of the day to make it 15-0.

After adding another run, Maryland has come into Greenville and totaled 26 runs in two days of regional action all without leadoff hitter and Second Team All-Big Ten Chris Alleyne who did not play after leaving Friday with an injury. 

But unlike Friday, where they were outslugged by Charlotte, Maryland’s pitching staff put on a masterclass performance and pitched a shutout behind another quality outing by Sean Burke.

A moment that highlighted Burke’s strong performance was in the second inning when he escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam with two strikeouts of Norfolk State’s best hitters in Dionte Brown and Alsander Womack.

Zach Thompson picked up where Burke left off with three shutout innings of his own out of the bullpen.

“Just a really efficient job by our pitchers [today],” Vaughn said.

Maryland’s road to the Super Regionals still presents a challenge, as it needs to pick up a win against the loser of East Carolina-Charlotte Sunday at noon.

“Once you get in this side of the bracket it’s a long road to get your way back,” Vaughn said.

Regardless of who the Terps will play, Saturday’s offensive eruption couldn’t have given them a more promising breath of fresh air as they live to see another day.

“The motto is just to play one more day with each other,” Zmarzlak said. “We don’t want this season to end.”

Maryland falls in high-scoring NCAA Tourney match with Charlotte

Maryland’s return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017 got off to a rough start in a 13-10 loss to Charlotte in the Greenville Regional Friday.

It was a back and forth game to start off the contest with a tie game 3-3 going into the bottom of the fourth inning. That’s when Charlotte blew the game open against Maryland starting pitching Jason Savacool. The bases were quickly loaded on a walk, a single and a bunt single that scored a run on an errant throw by Tommy Gardiner that made the score 4-3. Charlotte would add another run and load the bases once more chasing Savacool out of the game and forced coach Rob Vaughn to go to his bullpen and bring in David Falco to try and put out a fire facing the top of the 49ers lineup in a big spot in the game.

But the fire wasn’t put out by Falco as Charlotte’s offense made their impact on the game with a sac-fly that scored another run and two more RBI singles suddenly made the score 8-3 and put the Terps suddenly in an early hole that be hard to climb out of.

The game got off to a scary start for Maryland when Chris Alleyne took a foul ball to the head and had to leave the contest in the first at-bat of the game and was replaced by Tucker Flint a brutal early blow for the Terps. 

But Maxwell Costes gave Maryland its first lead and run of the NCAA Tournament in the second inning with a home run off of Andrew Lindsey to right field opened up the scoring and got the Maryland dugout fired up.

Charlotte answered right back and took the lead when Jack Dragum hit a two-run homer off of Savacool to make it 2-1. In the third inning, down 3-1, Maryland tied the game in the top of the fourth thanks to a Gardiner RBI single and a Troy Scheffler Jr. sac-bunt as both pitching staffs were struggling to contain these high powered offenses.

Now trailing by five runs Maryland loaded the bases in the top of the fifth without even putting a ball in play via three walks but could only muster up two runs on an RBI groundout by Costes and a wild pitch. 

But every time Maryland tried to get back into the game Charlotte answered any rally the Terps had. A three-run six-inning for Charlotte was highlighted by two long home runs by David McCabe and Will Butcher gave Charlotte a 12-5 lead. 

Maryland had one last rally in them in the seventh inning scoring four runs highlighted by a sac-fly by Randy Bednar and RBI singles by Costes and Gardiner to cut the lead to 12-9 and make things interesting. 

But again all game, Charlotte would answer any momentum Maryland had with their offense when McCabe hit his second home run of the game to make it 13-9 in the bottom half of the inning leaving the Terps frustrated.

Bednar would hit a home run in the top of the ninth to make it 13-10 to show signs of life that the group wouldn’t quit at this point in the season but it was too little too late for Maryland. Charlotte spoiled their welcome back party to the NCAA Tournament and now Maryland will play Norfolk State in an elimination game Saturday at 1:00 p.m. looking to continue their season for another day.

Tournament Preview: Greenville Regional

For the first time since 2017, Maryland (28-16) is in the NCAA Tournament thanks in part to a late-season 20-5 stretch from March 29 to May 21 to set the best 25-game stretch in program history. The Terps won seven straight series wins to end the season and finish second in the Big Ten standings. 

Maryland is slated as the No. 3 seed in the Greenville Regional which features the host No. 1 seed East Carolina, the No. 2 seed Charlotte and No. 4 seed Norfolk State.

Helping lead Maryland back to the NCAA Tournament was the top three guys in their lineup all earning Big Ten honors. Shortstop and Big Ten home run leader Ben Cowles was named First-team All-Big Ten. Center Fielder Chris Alleyne was named to the Second-team All-Big Ten and Second Baseman Matt Shaw was an at-large on the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.

Pitching wise, Jason Savacool was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team, and Ryan Ramsey out of the bullpen was named Second-team All-Big Ten. 

Luke Shliger was also named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.

Maryland enters the postseason being ranked No. 24 in the D1 Baseball top-25. This weekend will also feature the first time all season Maryland faces a non Big Ten opponent.

Maryland owns an all-time record of 8-9 in the NCAA Tournament with its best performances being back-to-back super regional appearances in 2014 and 2015. In its last appearance in 2017, Maryland went 1-2 and did not make it out of the opening round.

Being four years since their last appearance, Maryland does not have much NCAA Tournament experience on the roster. Only two players remain from that 2017 team, pitcher Tyler Blohm, who’s battled injuries all year, and Elliot Zoellner, a key part of the Maryland bullpen. 

This is Rob Vaughn’s first NCAA Tournament as a head coach but he is not a stranger to the big stage here as he was a part of the staff under previous head coach John Szefc during the 2014, 2015 and 2017 NCAA Tournament appearances. Vaughn also made it as a player in 2009 for Kansas State and 2011 as an assistant coach. 

Maryland will face Charlotte for the first time ever in program history at 6:00 P.M. Friday from Clark-LeClair Stadium with Jason Savacool taking the mound. In a double elimination format a win would send them to the winners bracket Saturday against the winner of East Carolina/Norfolk State matchup which is at noon Friday. A loss would mean they play the loser of that matchup also on Saturday with their season being on the line. 

Charlotte 49ers (39-19)

Last Season

Charlotte’s season was cut short after 17 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the 49ers with a 9-8 record. Their biggest win was against No. 8 NC State but they were also swept by No. 22 East Carolina. 

This Season 

Charlotte won the Conference-USA regular-season championship and was ranked throughout the season and was in the host discussion for the NCAA Tournament but settled for the No. 2 seed in the Greenville Regional after being bounced from the Conference-USA tournament. 

Hitters to watch 

Charlotte’s lineup is well-balanced across the board but is led by third baseman Austin Knight and first baseman LuJames Groover III. Knight has a .351 batting average, a 1.024 OPS and a team-high 61 RBI on the season. Groover III sits just behind in batting average with a .350 average. Groover III also has a .880 OPS and 34 RBI on the season. 

Pitchers to watch  

Starting pitching-wise Charlotte is led by Andrew Lindsey who will get the start Friday against Maryland. Lindsey has a 6-1 record, a 4.64 ERA in 77 2/3 innings pitched this season. Bryce McGowan is the second guy to watch for with a 7-4 record and a 4.62 ERA in 78 innings pitched this season. Out of the bullpen, Christian Lothes has a 2.72 ERA and a 4-0 record in 20 appearances and one game started as well. 

East Carolina Pirates (41-15)

Last Season 

East Carolina’s season was cut short after 17 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the Pirates with a 13-4 record. While they did not play any ranked teams they did sweep Charlotte but did lose to Indiana and Ole Miss. 

This Season

East Carolina is one of college baseball’s biggest powerhouses getting the No. 13 national seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Pirates won the regular season AAC title but lost in the semifinals of the AAC conference tournament to UCF. However, on paper this is a team capable of making a deep run into the tournament ranking among the national leaders in nine different categories such as in hits, sac bunts and K to BB ratio.

Hitters to watch 

Where do we start with a dangerous team like this? What about the AAC Conference Player of the Year and Second Team All-American Connor Norby who has a .424 batting average, a 1.173 OPS, 51 RBI on the season and at one point set the school record with a 56-game on-base streak going back to 2020 that ended on May 21. Thomas Francisco is another name to watch with a .368 batting average, a .992 OPS and 44 RBI on the season. Josh Moylan also checks in with a .321 batting average, a .887 OPS and 32 RBI. 

Pitchers to watch

AAC Pitcher of the Year and First-Team All-American Gavin Willams is the ace of the East Carolina pitching staff. Williams has a 1.32 ERA which is fourth in the NCAA, a 10-0 record, allowing 10 earned runs on the season while opponents only have a .176 batting average hitting off of him. Another starter to watch out for is Carson Whisenhunt who is 6-1 with a 3.52 ERA. Out of the bullpen, Cam Colmore is the name to watch. Colmore made 28 appearances with one start and posted a 1.74 ERA.

Norfolk State (25-26)

Last season 

Even though it was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 season was not kind to the Spartans finishing with a 3-13 record. They did get a win against Old Dominion but had losses against VCU and Kentucky.

This season 

Despite the under .500 record it has been a historic season for Norfolk State which is making its first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. They did it in dramatic fashion by winning the MEAC conference tournament in extra innings, 7-6, over North Carolina Central to earn an automatic bid. 

Hitters to watch

Norfolk State is led by two-way player and MEAC Player of the Year Danny Hosley who has a .375 batting average, a .961 OPS and has 23 RBI on the season. First-team All-MEAC second baseman Aslander Womack is another name to watch with a .358 batting average, a .899 OPS and leads the team with 36 RBI. First-team All-MEAC outfielder Dionte Brown checks in with a .312 batting average, and a .790 OPS. He also leads the team in stolen bases with 19.

Pitchers to watch 

Hosley is the name to watch on the Norfolk State staff making Second-team All-MEAC as a pitcher. Hosley posted a 2.95 ERA and leads the team with 79 strikeouts. Left handed pitcher and Third-team All-MEAC James Deloatch is another name to watch. Deloatch has a 2.58 ERA and a 7-2 record but gives up a lot of walks with 41 on the season, the most on the team. Out of the bullpen, Nolan Manzer has a 0.81 ERA and a 1-1 record in 13 appearances and 22 1/3 innings pitched.

Maryland takes rubber match, wins sixth-straight series against Michigan

For the first time since April 16, Maryland finally had its top five hitters in the same lineup and through a full-strength offense and one of Sean Burke’s best outings of the season, Maryland beat Michigan 7-3 to win their sixth-straight series Sunday.  

Maryland was swinging out of the gates with a more aggressive approach against starting pitcher Jacob Denner compared to Saturday with a leadoff double by Chris Alleyne. Up came Ben Cowles who had been hitless in the first two games of the series as Michigan has done a good job containing him. 

But on a 3-1 pitch, Cowles hit his Big Ten leading 17th home run to deep left field to give Maryland the early 2-0 lead and also extend his streak of hitting at least one home run in a series. Randy Bednar Jr. would then follow Cowles’ lead and hit his own home run to left field to give Maryland a commanding 3-0 lead in the first inning.

“We got after [Denner] early, with a really good plan and a really good approach by the guys,” coach Rob Vaughn said.

Michigan would respond in the second inning, hitting Sean Burke hard with a single and a double that brought Tito Flores to the plate, and on one swing he tied the game 3-3 with a home run to left field. 

But Maryland slugger Matt Shaw responded in the third inning with a double and advanced to third on Cowles’ sacrifice fly that was almost home run No. 18 on the season. Bednar would get the job done and bring him home on the RBI groundout to give Maryland the lead right back 4-3. 

Against an offense like Michigan, Maryland needed to add insurance runs. That’s exactly what happened in the fourth inning when Troy Scheffler Jr. got it going with a single and a stolen base. Justin Vought continued his hot streak with a single that put runners on the corners with no outs. 

Schreffler Jr. then had a heads up play to score when a wild pitch got away from catcher Griffin Mazur with nobody covering home to make it 5-3 and bring up the big guns of the Maryland lineup with the chance to do more damage.

Shaw’s RBI double would do just that making it 6-3 and the bases would be loaded for the returning Maxwell Costes after missing five games with an ankle injury. Normally, facing a high leverage situation would cause you to be aggressive looking for the big hit. Costes stayed patient and drew the bases-loaded RBI walk to cap off the big inning and give Maryland a 7-3 lead.

“[Costes] really sees the baseball well.” Vaughn said. “It’s good to have him back in there today.”

Sunday featured only the 18th time out of 41 games this season Bednar Jr. and Costes were in the lineup at the same time, and the result was seven runs, which was all the offense Maryland needed on the afternoon.

After his slip up in the second inning, Burke would settle in. In the third inning, Burke picked off Elliot at second base which would ultimately keep a run off the board as Jimmy Obertop would single right after. Burke then retired nine-straight Wolverines from the fourth through the sixth innings. 

Around 100 pitches, coming back out for the seventh inning, Burke entered empty-the-tank mode and gave up a walk to Big Ten player of the week Ted Burton, his first baserunner since the Obertop single in the third inning. 

But Burke struck out Mazur looking to record the first out and was taken out of the game. Burke went a season-high 6 1/3 innings, gave up three runs on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

“[Burke] slammed the door,” Vaughn said. “When he’s throwing his fastball like that he’s really good.”

Elliot Zoellner would come out of the bullpen and only needed two pitches to get out of the inning as he forced a huge double play.

Michigan tried to rally in the eighth with two runners on base, but Zoellner struck out Obertop to end the inning. 

Ryan Ramsey was tasked to get the save in the ninth inning and did it stress-free to clinch Maryland’s six-straight series win.

“Unbelievable job by our pitching staff having a big time bounce back day after a tough one yesterday,” Vaughn said.

Maryland is now tied with Michigan for second in the Big Ten standings and has the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Wolverines going into their last series of the regular season against Indiana chasing after that at-large-bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“We’ve got one weekend left,” Vaughn said. “It’s our job to go leave a really good lasting impression in the committee’s mind so they don’t have the option to leave us out.”

Aggressive Wolverine bats stomp out Terps

Usually when Jason Savacool pitches, Maryland is in a great position to win games. Saturday, that wasn’t the case as Savacool struggled early as Michigan snapped Maryland’s six-game win streak with a 14-3 blowout win.

Just like Maryland did Friday, Michigan got out to a big lead early against Savacool starting in the second inning with a back-to-back double and single before a wild pitch got Michigan on the board. As Savacool struggled to get ahead in counts, Michigan’s Friday night hero Jordan Velazquez made him pay hitting a two-run double to left-center field that made the score 3-0.

Savacool found himself in trouble once again in the third inning, as he continued to struggle throwing strikes. Savacool let up a leadoff single, an error on a pick-off attempt advanced the runner to second, a walk and a hit-by-pitch then loaded the bases with one out for Michigan. With the chance of staying in the game at stake, Savacool struck out Griffin Mazur to get closer to escaping the inning unharmed. 

But it wasn’t meant to be as Tito Flores’s RBI single on Savacool’s 64th pitch of the game brought home another run and coach Rob Vaughn came out of the dugout to end Savacool’s night in favor of Sean Heine.

The next batter, Jordon Rodgers, hit the first pitch he saw from Heine for a two-run RBI single to left field to make it 6-0 and close Savacool’s line for the day.

After only going two innings and giving up four runs against Michigan back on April 5, Savacool went 2 2/3 innings, gave up six hits in total for six runs and couldn’t get ahead in counts this time. It was his shortest outing since April 11 against Nebraska where he only went 1 ⅔ innings and gave up five runs for his only loss of the season until Saturday.  

[Savacool] didn’t have a very good feel for his secondary stuff which got him in some bad counts,” Vaughn said. “A good team took advantage of it.”

In the next inning, Big Ten Player of the Week Ted Burton put his mark on the game with a three-run homer off of Heine. After being up 8-0 Friday, Maryland found itself in the opposite situation Saturday being down 9-0. But unlike Michigan, Maryland would not rally late as the red-hot offense struggled to get hits off starting pitcher Cameron Weston. Back on April 4, Maryland was able to get four runs off of Weston.

But Weston was much more effective today in shutting down the Maryland lineup going 5 ⅓ innings, only allowing three hits and was never in a stressful situation with the lead his offense gave him early.  

“I thought we were passive in some of those counts early,” Vaughn said.

After Michigan tacked on two more runs to hit double digits, one of the lone bright spots on the day was Chris Alleyne who hit a three-run homer to left field in the seventh inning to avoid the shutout. But Michigan’s Benjamin Simms would answer with a final blow on the day with his own three-run-homer off of Logan Ott.

“[Michigan] just came out and beat us in every aspect of the game,” Alleyne said. 

Thanks to its well-balanced offense that ranks second in the Big Ten, Michigan now jumps a game ahead of Maryland for second place in the Big Ten standings with only four games left on the season for both teams. That adds more importance to Sunday’s rubber game as Maryland tries again for their sixth-straight series win as both teams are still in the quest for a Big Ten regular-season championship and the NCAA Tournament.

“Sometimes you get punched in the mouth by good teams,” Vaughn said. “The reality is were [tied] 1-1 with a chance to win the series tomorrow.”

Maryland topples Michigan in extra inning drama

Coming into Ann Arbor this weekend Maryland knew how important this series was going to be towards their final placing in the Big Ten standings and how tough it would be. 

They thought they got the series off to a stress-free start Friday against No. 24 Michigan when the offense put up eight runs to give them a commanding 8-0 lead over the Wolverines going into the seventh inning.

“The first six innings was about as dominant as a performance that we’ve had all year,” coach Rob Vaughn said.

But that was far from the case after a five-run collapse in the ninth inning forced the game into extra innings. But a three-run inning in the 11th inning helped Maryland escape with an 11-8 win over the Wolverines.

With the go-ahead runner on third base, Matt Orlando hit a double off the left-field wall that made the game 9-8. A safety squeeze by Tommy Gardiner and a wild pitch brought home two more runs and Maryland was up 11-8 looking to finally close it out.

Ryan Ramsey struck out three batters in the bottom of the inning, to close out a wild important win for Maryland.   

Coming into the ninth with an 8-3 lead, closer Sam Bello came on for a non-save situation looking to end things stress-free. It was far from that with a couple of two-out RBI singles after a miscommunication on a foul ball pop-up by Justin Vought and Matt Orlando kept Michigan’s hopes alive.

“Orlando came in there at the last second,” Vought said. “But that’s my ball I got to go get it”

The next thing you know the score is 8-6, the bases are loaded and David Falco is facing Joey Velazquez with the game on the line. After a long at-bat, his two-out RBI single tied the game at 8-8 and sent the game to extra innings as the Wolverines scored eight unanswered runs and had all the momentum.

“I thought we played the eighth and the ninth inning kind of scared,” Vaughn said.

Looking to respond, Maryland loaded up the bases in the top of the 10th when Ben Cowles hit a sac-fly to center field but Matt Shaw tagged up to the second base and was thrown out before Troy Schreffler Jr. crossed home plate ending the inning keeping the score tied.

“The first move in that situation if you’re at first base is you can start running to second,” Vaughn said. “But if that throw starts coming into second base, you have to shut it down and go back.”

Before the craziness of the ninth inning, everything seemed like it was perfect on the day for Maryland starting in the third inning. 

Chris Alleyne drew a walk and stole two bases to get to third base with one out. Playing some small ball, Cowles put down a perfect safety squeeze up the first baseline to score Alleyne and the game’s first run.

Randy Bednar in his return to the lineup after missing 15 games with an ankle injury didn’t look rusty at the plate whatsoever dropping an RBI single into center field to make it 2-0.

“I’ve been waiting for that moment,” Bednar said. “[Was] really excited beforehand, just to be out there and contribute on the field…help the team win.”

Vought kept the offensive attack going in the fourth with a leadoff solo home run, his seventh of the season to extend the lead to 3-0 continuing his recent hot play. 

Up came Bednar again this time with runners on the corners and once again he delivered with a RBI double that hit off the brick wall in left field to score another run and make it 4-0 and two more runs scored in the inning to make the score 6-0. Vought hit a no-doubt two-run home run to left field for his second of the game in the sixth inning to make it 8-0. It was Vought’s eighth of the season and he has now homered in four straight series.

But despite the craziness of the late innings and nearly blowing it, Maryland has now won their sixth straight game and has tied the Wolverines for third place in the Big Ten. They also added another big win to their NCAA Tournament resume and will have the chance to win their sixth straight series with the Big Ten wins leader Jason Savacool taking the mound Saturday.

“There’s definitely some things we have to learn from and grow from with some young players,” Vaughn said. “But we’ve found a way to get it done at the end of the day and at this time of year, the [win] is all that really matters.”

Series Preview: Michigan Wolverines

The Maryland Terrapins (24-14) head into an important series in the Big Ten standings going on the road this weekend to Ann Arbor to face the No. 24 Michigan Wolverines (25-13, 23-13 Big Ten). The two teams are currently just separated by one game in the Big Ten standings for third place overall with both teams still having an outside chance at catching Nebraska for the top spot. 

These two teams are also familiar with each other with them splitting a previous two game series with Michigan winning 6-5 on April 4 and Maryland winning big 17-7 on April 5. This time around the series will have more meaning in determining the finish of the Big Ten.

The Terps are coming into Ann Arbor red-hot off a series sweep of Purdue winning game one 11-0, game two 6-1 and game three 7-2. The Terps have won five straight games, 11 of their last 12 and five straight series.

The Terps pitching staff overpowered the Purdue lineup holding them to three total runs the entire series. Nick Dean, Jason Savacool and Sean Burke all combined for three quality outings with Savacool picking up his Big Ten-leading seventh win of the season.

The offense exploded for 25 runs the entire series including a grand slam from catcher Justin Vought and star shortstop Ben Cowles hitting his 15th and 16th home runs of the season which continues to lead the Big Ten. Cowles’ batting average sits at .307 and he also ranks second in the Big Ten in slugging percentage at .693.

Maryland’s deep lineup is continuing to get production from the top two spots of the order. Chris Alleyne, who has a .299 batting average, 23 extra-base hits on the season, 28 RBI and 21-23 on stolen base attempts and Matthew Shaw who has a .343 batting average have been excellent in getting the rest of the lineup chances to hit with runners on base. 

And a deep lineup could be getting some reinforcements this weekend with the potential returns of Randy Bednar and Maxwell Costes back from their injuries. 

The offense, defense and pitching all clicked during that important series with Purdue to help get Maryland off the bubble of the NCAA Tournament. D1 baseball currently has Maryland as the No. 3 seed in Tennessee’s region with the chance to improve its seeding and pad its resume these next two weekends against potential NCAA Tournament teams . 

Michigan is coming off taking a crucial series win over then-No. 21 Indiana winning game one 10-3 and winning the series finale 6-1 an important result that jammed up top of the Big Ten standings even more.

Second baseman Ted Burton was named Big Ten player of the week after batting .583 (7-for-12) with three doubles and a home run as well as a 1.083 SLG and a .615 OBP. 

Left fielder Tito Flores matched Burton with a .615 OBP during the series and also batted over .500 in the series including four-extra-base hits. 

The important series for both teams will also get some television coverage with the first two games of the series being broadcast on the Big Ten Network. 

The first pitch of game one of the series is scheduled for Friday night at 5:00 p.m., followed by game two of the series at the same time Saturday and game three on Sunday to close out the series at 1:00 p.m. 

Michigan Wolverines (25-13, 23-13 Big Ten)

Last Season: (8-7)

Michigan finished the shortened 2020 season at 8-7 but picked up wins over No. 2 Vanderbilt, No. 9 Arizona State and picked up a win in a series against No. 24 Pepperdine. 

Michigan was led last year by star outfielder Jordan Nwogu with a batting average of .353 and a OPS of .845. Jack Blomgren also help pace the offense with a batting average of .286 and an OPS of .837. Both players have moved onto the MLB being drafted and are currently in the minor leagues. Infielder Riley Bertman led the team with 10 RBI.

Pitching-wise for Michigan, Cameron Weston led the team with a ERA of 0.90 in seven appearances with one game started. Steven Hajjar led the teams in wins with a 3-0 record as well as a 2.70 ERA.

This season: 

Hitters to Watch:

Michigan is one of the most balanced offenses in the nation where eight different players have connected for at least five home runs.

Michigan ranks second in the Big Ten in batting average of .279 and first in RBI with 252 and is also first in walks drawn with 190. 

Hitting-wise Burton is the player to watch. He leads the Big Ten in slugging percentage (.694), and a .365 batting average, a .446 on-base percentage and has hit safely in seven straight games and 13 of his last 14.

Shortstop Benjamin Sems also chips in with a .348 batting average and Flores chips in with a .319 batting average and is second on the teams with RBI with 30.

Pitchers to Watch:

Pitching-wise Michigan ranks second in the Big Ten with a 3.98 ERA on the season. The  Wolverines pitching staff is led by both Hajjar with a 4-0 and a 3.02 ERA and Weston who is 5-3, and has a 2.85 ERA. Out of the bullpen Isaiah Paige paces the team with a 1.88 ERA in eleven games pitched.

Starting pitching matchups:

Friday: RHP Nick Dean (3-1, 2.68 ERA) vs LHP Steven Hajjar (4-0, 3.02 ERA)


Dean is coming off his fifth-straight quality outing last weekend where he kept Purdue scoreless going six innings and giving up only six hits. Dean also still leads the Big Ten with only nine walks given up and is second in ERA. 

Hajjar is coming off a good outing against Indiana last weekend going 6 ⅓ innings striking out eight hoosiers and giving up three runs on a day he got plenty of run support. Hajjar is second in the Big Ten in strikeouts with 88 and has a good chance this week to take over the top spot

Saturday: RHP Jason Savacool (7-1, 4.69 ERA) vs RHP Cameron Weston (5-3, 2.85 ERA)


The freshman Savacool labored through his start against Purdue last weekend but was still able to put together a quality outing going six innings, giving up one run, and picking up his seventh win of the season to continue to lead the Big Ten in that category. Savacool was roughed up back on April 5, in his previous start lasting only two innings and giving up four runs on only four hits.

Weston is coming off a loss against Indiana last weekend where he only gave up one run on four hits in five innings pitched. Weston is fourth in the Big Ten with 66 ⅓ innings pitched on the season. Maryland was able to get to Weston back on April 4, tagging him for four runs on only five hits and drawing four walks.

Sunday: RHP Sean Burke (3-3, 3.90 ERA) vs RHP Jacob Denner (4-3, 3.86 ERA)


Burke had a bounce back quality outing last week against Purdue going six innings giving up only one earned run on only four hits despite not having high strikeout numbers. Burke also comes in at sixth in the Big Ten in strikeouts at 79. Batters are also struggling to hit Burke’s electric stuff, hitting a .187 batting average off of him this season. MLB scouts have certainly noticed this trend.

Denner is coming off a win against Indiana in the series finale. He went 6 ⅓ innings giving up only one run on only four hits and only walking one batter. Denner has 50 strikeouts on the season compared to 17 walks.

Offense gets off to hot start, leads Terps to sweep over Purdue

A four-run first inning and Sean Burke’s pitching helped guide Maryland to a 7-2 win over Purdue to win their 10th-straight home win and sweep the series Sunday from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

Matthew Shaw, who had three hits on the day, started off the first inning with a solo home run to tie the game 1-1. The Terps then put together a two-out rally: singles by Bobby Zmarzlak and Matt Orlando, who is filling in for the injured Maxwell Costes at first base brought Tommy Gardiner to the plate with the chance to do some damage. Gardiner on a full count tripled to center field that brought Zmarzlak home for two RBI and a 3-1 lead for Maryland.

“I worked the count to 3-2, got a fastball over the middle and just hammered it.” Gardiner said.

Luke Shliger would join in on the fun with an RBI single to bring home Gardiner to make it 4-1 Maryland to complete the big inning and give them a lead they would never relinquish for the rest of the afternoon.

“That’s one thing our offense been good at is responding,” coach Rob Vaughn said. “We’ve done it all year.”

After an error in the first inning allowed Purdue to push across an unearned run to briefly take the early 1-0 lead, Burke began to settle in and deal with a Purdue lineup the Terps have kept contained all series. Burke only allowed one hit through four innings and four hits total on the day. 

In the fourth and fifth innings, Burke pitched 1-2-3 frames keeping the Purdue lineup frustrated. 

“I thought it was a good outing,” Burke said. “The focus going into the week was just about moving smooth, simplifying anything and attacking the zone.”

In the fifth inning, Troy Schreffler would add on some insurance runs for Burke with an RBI double that scored two more runs to make the score 6-1 Maryland. 

Purdue would finally get to Burke in the sixth inning. A Ben Nisle RBI double cut the score to 6-2, but Burke would get Zac Fascia to fly out to end the inning and the chance of Purdue cutting into the lead further. 

Burke would end up delivering the third-straight quality outing by a Terps starting pitcher this series. Burke went six innings giving up two runs one earned and only allowed eight base runners to pick up his third win of the season.

“Burke had a super efficient start for us and was as efficient with his pitch count as he’s been all year,” Vaughn said.

Maryland would add another run and Elliot Zoellner would come out of the bullpen and record the final nine outs stress-free to put the finishing touches on an important series for a Maryland team with NCAA Tournament hopes. Maryland is now 19-5 their last 24 games, won five-straight series and won ten straight games at home. The Terps now turn their focus to next weekend as they travel for an important series in the Big Ten standings against the Michigan Wolverines.

“Great weekend for us and now our attention turns to Michigan,” Vaughn said.