Savacool cruises through Boilermaker bats, leads Terps to fifth-straight series win

Behind the pitching of Big Ten Freshman of the Week Jason Savacool and three home runs by the offense, Maryland beat Purdue 6-1 Saturday from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium to win their fifth-straight series and continue their push to the NCAA Tournament.

Savacool got off to a shaky start allowing Purdue to score their first run of the series in the first inning on a two-out RBI single by Ben Nisle to make it 1-0. 

Even though he didn’t have his best stuff to start the game, Savacool would get some help from his defense. In the second inning, catcher Riley Langerman threw out Tyler Powers trying to steal second to help Savacool get out of the inning. 

“Right now we’re playing at an elite defensive level,” Savacool said.

After Maryland scored two runs in the bottom of the second to take the lead 2-1, Savacool faced a jam in the third with runners on second and third with two outs. Ryan Bowe hit a ball to right field that looked like off the bat it would bring in a pair of runs, but Troy Schreffler made a diving catch to get Savacool out of the inning unharmed and maintain Maryland’s 2-1 lead.

“[Jason’s] a winner,” coach Rob Vaughn said. “He had average command … but what winners do is they find a way to work out of jams and make pitches when they matter.”

In the fifth inning, the Maryland offense would get some insurance runs for Savacool via home runs. Chris Alleyne hit the first pitch he saw for a solo home run to extend the lead to 3-1. Two batters later, just like last night, the red hot Ben Cowles hit a solo home run for his Big Ten-leading 16th home run of the season to make it 4-1. Cowles has hit a home run in every series so far this season and his batting average has reached .316 on the season.

With some breathing room on the scoreboard, Savacool went to work in the fifth inning, pitching a 1-2-3 inning.

Savacool got some more insurance in the sixth inning, with Bobby Zmarkzlak’s solo home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

“I’m just trying to simple everything down,” Zmarkzlak said. “I’ve been trying to hammer the fastball and on two strikes really compete and I’ve been doing a really good job of that.”

Approaching 100 pitches, Savacool returned to the mound with a four-run lead and with two outs gave up a single to Powers who stole second putting himself in scoring position. But Savacool got Evan Albrecht to hit a groundball right to him to end the inning. 

Savacool gave Maryland another quality outing when they were looking for it, pitching six innings, giving up one run on seven hits, and striking out three batters on 114 pitches en route to the win. 

“I had pretty average stuff today,” Savacool said. “I was able to make it up with some four-seam command and battling, competing for six innings.”

Maryland would add another run in the seventh inning to make it 6-1. Ryan Ramsey came out of the bullpen and closed out three stress-free innings to allow Maryland to win their fifth-straight series, their ninth-straight win at home, can go for the sweep tomorrow and most importantly continue their push towards their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2017.

“It’s been a good start to the weekend but we got a big one left tomorrow,” Vaughn said.

Terps make offensive statement in series opener, shutout Boilermakers

Behind a five-run first inning, Maryland overpowered Purdue to shut out the Boilermakers 11-0 in the series opener Friday from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

The Terps attacked Purdue starting pitcher Calvin Schapira right away with a leadoff triple by Chris Alleyne. A Matt Shaw RBI sacrifice fly brought the speedy Alleyne home to quickly make the score 1-0.

“When [Alleyne] is going our offense is just different,” coach Rob Vaughn said.

But Maryland wasn’t done in the inning, as a Ben Cowles single, a Bobby Zmarzlak single along with a Tommy Gardiner walk loaded the bases with two outs allowing the hot-hitting Justin Vought to come up to the plate. 

Vought, who hit three home runs Sunday against Illinois in game two of the doubleheader had a chance to break the game open early. He didn’t wait to continue his hot home run streak. 

Vought hit the first pitch he saw from Schapira out to center field for a grand slam to give the Terps the early 5-0 lead. It is the big hit the Terps are looking for with runners in scoring position at this point in the season when there is no room for error in putting opponents you’re supposed to beat away early.

“The Grand Slam was huge,” Vaughn said.

Taking the mound in the second with a 5-0 lead was all starting pitcher Nick Dean needed on the evening. Dean pitched six scoreless innings giving up only six hits on 93 pitches putting together another quality, stress-free outing on his season. Purdue’s only chances in the day came on leadoff doubles in both the second and fourth inning trying to put together some offensive production to get back into the game but Dean had no trouble working around both. 

“When we have that big of a lead, it’s just really like important not to nibble around guys and just go right at them attack the zone and make them earn everything,” Dean said.

The Terps offense didn’t just settle and stop producing runs after the first inning. A Cowles RBI single added a run in the second inning. The Terps would add two runs in the fourth inning via a sacrifice fly and an RBI single push the score to 8-0. In the fifth inning, Shaw picked up his third RBI of the game on a double that brought Alleyne home to make it 9-0.

In the seventh inning, Cowles on a 2-1 pitch homered to deep center field for a solo shot to give Maryland its 11th run of the ballgame. It was Cowles Big Ten-leading 15th home run of the season and also extends his streak of homering in every series so far this season.

“It’s just business as usual,” Cowles said.

Coming into the game, Maryland sat on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament needing a strong series to give themselves a shot of making their first NCAA Tournament since 2017. They delivered their most complete game of the season behind its offense, Dean’s quality outing and stellar defense across the board. 

And now they’ll have a chance to take care of business and win the series tomorrow behind the Big Ten freshman of the week, Jason Savacool taking the mound. 

“That’s what winning baseball looks like, and they did a phenomenal job taking care of business tonight,” Vaughn said.

Series Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

The Maryland Terrapins (21-14) look to continue their series-winning ways this weekend as they return home to Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, to take on a struggling Purdue Boilermakers squad (11-21), giving the Terps an opportunity to further boost their chances of making the NCAA Tournament. 

Coming off a series win over Illinois, the Terps have won four straight series, have eight wins in their last nine games, have won 15 of their last 20 games, and are getting hot at the right time looking to make a push at making the NCAA Touranment for the first time since 2017. D1 baseball currently has Maryland among the last five teams in the projected field of 64 leaving no room for error.

“We’re in a position to where we control our own destiny, and that starts [with] this weekend,” Coach Rob Vaughn said.

Despite being shut out 2-0 in the first game against the Fighting Illini. The Terps bats combined for 17 runs in both games of the doubleheader en route to a 5-3 and 12-4 wins to win the series. 

Star shortstop Ben Cowles continues to stay hot with his 14th home run of the season leading the Big Ten and has homered at least once in each series this season. The Terps hit six home runs in game two of the doubleheader against the Fighting Illini. Catcher Justin Vought, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week, went 4-5 at the plate in the series. He accounted for three of those home runs in game two of the doubleheader. Vought is the first Terp since Tyler Bennett in 2009 to hit three home runs in a single game.

For the third time this season, pitcher Jason Savacool has been named Big Ten Freshman of the week. Savacool (6-1) went 8 1/3 innings and gave up four hits, three runs, and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts that kept the Fighting Illini the best offense in the Big Ten contained. 

Purdue is coming off a 5-1 loss against Ohio State in a one-game midweek matchup Tuesday. Their previous series against Northwestern was postponed, as the Wildcats continue to pause team activities due to health and safety concerns within their program.

First pitch of game one of the series is Friday night at 6:30 P.M., followed by game two on Saturday at 2:00 P.M. and game three on Sunday to close out the series at 1:00 P.M. 

Purdue Boilermakers (11-21)

Last season: (7-7)

Purdue finished the shortened 2020 season with a 7-7 record with loses to three ranked ACC teams Duke, NC State and North Carolina in the 2020 Cambria College Classic.

Infielder Evan Albrecht led the team with a .364 batting average, 14 RBI and .442 on-base percentage.

On the mound, the Boilermakers were led by Jett Jackson who finished 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in four appearances. 

This Season:

The Boilermakers currently sit in 12th place in the Big Ten standings. Things have not been bright for the Boilermakers on the road where they hold a 2-8 record. The Boilermakers also started off slow on the season (1-8), putting them in an early hole. The Inconsistency continued with a five-game win streak in April followed a five-game losing streak right after.

Hitters to watch:

Senior outfielder Miles Simington comes into the series with a .339 average, .955 OPS and leads the team with 21 RBI. Simington has also reached base safely in 21 straight games and during that stretch has hit .350 with more walks than strikeouts. Fifth-year catcher Zac Fascia has a .314 batting average himself with a .791 OPS and 17 RBI. Outfielder Ben Nisle has a .289 batting average, .983 OPS and 19 RBI. Outfielder Mike Bolton Jr. is also a name to watch on the base paths as he is perfect 11-11 on the season in stolen bases. Overall the Boilermakers ranked 12th in the Big Ten in batting average hitting .245. 

Pitchers to watch:

Purdue has not fared well pitching-wise ranking 12th in the Big Ten with a 6.10 ERA. Overall there’s not one pitcher who’s stood out this season for the Boilermakers but Calvin Schapira, Trent Johnson and Cory Brooks are their go-to guys to start. Eric Hildebrand is the go-to guy out of the bullpen pitching in 13 games with a team leading 3.60 ERA on 15 innings pitched. 

Starting pitching matchups:

Friday: RHP Nick Dean (2-1, 3.07 ERA) vs Calvin Schapira (0-5, 4.34 ERA)

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Dean is coming off a great outing last week against Illinois despite taking the loss. The right-hander went 7 ⅔ innings, gave up two runs (one earned) on only five hits and one walk against the top offense in the Big Ten. Dean has now pitched four consecutive quality starts — going at least six innings and surrendering three or fewer earned runs in each outing. Dean also leads the Big Ten in fewest walks allowed only giving up seven walks on the season. 

Schapira was roughed up in his last outing against Ohio State on April 30. He gave up five runs on seven hits in only three innings of work. His best outing of the season came against Michigan State where he pitched eight innings of one-run ball and recorded seven strikeouts on April 17.

Saturday: RHP Jason Savacool (6-1 5.02 ERA) vs RHP Trent Johnson (2-4 4.35)

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For the third time this season, Savacool was named Big Ten Freshman of the week. Savacool went 8 1/3 innings and gave up four hits, three runs and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts against Illinois. Savacool ranks 8th in the Big Ten in innings pitched with 57 ⅓ total innings and is tied for most wins on the season.

   Johnson pitched an inning of relief against Ohio State Tuesday and recorded three strikeouts. If you’re looking for a strikeout guy on the Boilermakers staff Johnson is your guy with 56 strikeouts on the season and a 1.51 WHIP.

Sunday: RHP Sean Burke (2-3 4.20 ERA) vs RHP Cory Brooks (2-2 6.31 ERA)

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Burke is coming off a 2 ⅔ inning outing against Illinois where he struggled and gave up six walks and allowed one earned run. Despite that, Burke still ranks 6th in the Big Ten with 75 strikeouts and batters are only hitting a .187 batting average off Burke on the season. Of course he is also No. 44 overall in Baseball America’s latest MLB Draft rankings as of last week. 

Brooks pitched three innings Tuesday against Ohio State where he gave up three runs on only three hits and took the loss. Brooks has started five games this season but has also pitched out of the bullpen in six other games. Opponents are hitting a .307 batting average off of Brooks making him hittable for the Maryland lineup. Brooks does not have a tendency to give up free bases either ranking 10th in the Big Ten in fewest walks allowed with only 13 on the season. 

Ott great in first start, bullpen shuts it down in 2-1 win over Northwestern

Behind Logan Ott’s solid outing in his first career collegiate start and pitching win, Maryland beat Northwestern 2-1 Saturday from Duane Banks Field.

In the first inning, Ott got his collegiate pitching career off to a great start recording his first collegiate strikeout on the first batter he faced in Anthony Calarco. Later in the inning, Ott would get another strikeout against Stephen Hrustich to record a scoreless first.

In the second inning, Ott’s debut hit a bumpy road allowing a single and a RBI double to Ethan O’ Donnell that gave Northwestern an early 1-0. But instead of being rattled in his start Ott would settle in and get some run support.

In the third inning, Maryland would put together a two-out rally against Northwestern starter Mike Doherty. Chris Alleyne drew a walk, a Matthew Shaw single would bring the red hot Benjamin Cowles up to the plate. He delivered a RBI single to left field to tie the game at 1-1. It appeared it would stay tied when a Maxwell Costes grounder to third base could have ended the inning — but Evan Minarovic booted the ball, allowing Costes to reach and Shaw to score as Maryland took the lead back for good.

Ott now with a lead return to the mound in the bottom of the third, pitching a quick 1-2-3 inning. In the fourth inning Ott gave up a leadoff single to Michael Trautwein but retired the next three batters with no stress. In the fifth inning Ott would give up a double with one out to Minarovic but retired the next two batters to strand the tying run at second base.

In the sixth inning, Maryland had its best chance to give Ott and the pitching staff some more run support, loading the bases in an unorthodox way. Costes reached on an error, Tucker Flint was intentionally walked and Matt Orlando drew a walk. However, with two outs, Justin Vought struck out to end the threat and the inning.

Ott would come out for the sixth inning and emptied the tank by getting Hrustich to fly out and striking out both Trautwein and David Dunn swinging to cap off his stellar debut.

Ott’s night was over as he finished with six innings, one earned run, and five strikeouts on 77 pitches. Most importantly, Ott put his team in a great position to win the game.

With the bullpen taking over in the seventh inning needing to get the remaining nine outs, Sean Heine was up first, pitching a stress-free 1-2-3 inning.

In the top of the eighth inning, Maryland again had a chance to add onto its lead when Luke Shliger was hit by a pitch, stole second and third base with one out to put himself in position to score. But Tommy Gardiner struck out and Flint grounded out to second base to end the threat.

Tyler Blohm was the next man out the bullpen and retired the first batter he faced but gave up a single and a walk and was pulled from the game. David Falco was summoned out of the bullpen to play the fireman role and keep Maryland’s lead with runners on second and third. Falco got Hrustich to fly out for the second out the inning, but a passed ball moved the runners up to second and third. A walk of Trautwein loaded the bases, and with the game on the line, Falco got Dunn to strike out and put out the fire.

In the top of the ninth, Maryland had runners on second and third with two outs with Cowles at the plate, but he struck out looking to end the threat. Maryland finished the game going 1-14 with runners in scoring position, but it wouldn’t matter behind the outing from the pitching staff with Falco finishing the game off in the bottom of the inning to secure a 2-1 win and the second win on the day.

Cowles Early Homer, Dean’s solid outing leads Maryland to 8-6 win

Benjamin Cowles stepped up to the plate in the top of the first in a familiar spot with runners on the bases with the chance to do damage. On the very first pitch he saw Cowles hit a three-run home run to right field to put Maryland up 3-0 on Iowa. That was all the offense Maryland needed to kickstart a 8-6 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday afternoon from Duane Banks Field.

In the top of the first, Iowa starting pitcher Drew Irvine struggled with his command early and walked Chris Alleyne and Matthew Shaw to start the game and bring up Cowles to the plate. Cowles wasn’t taking the first pitch he saw and hit his twelfth home run of the season to give Maryland an early 3-0 lead on a perfect start before they even recorded an out.

In the top of the fourth inning Maryland’s top of the order inflicted damage again. Alleyne started the inning with a stand-up double and had a good read on a breaking ball in the dirt and stole third base. Shaw single up the middle brought Alleyne home and extend Maryland’s lead to 4-0.

Maryland starting pitcher Nick Dean took the mound in the bottom of the first with a 3-0 and stranded a runner in scoring position to start his outing. In the second inning Dean gave up a leadoff double to Zeb Adreon who tagged on a fly out to right field to put him on third base with one out. But Dean would strike out the next two hitters he faced to get out of the inning strand another runner in scoring position.

In the fourth inning, with a runner on first base and one out Dean would get Dylan Nedved to ground into a double play to end the inning.

In the fifth inning, Dean was faced with another jam, giving up two singles to have runners on first and second base. Dean would induce another double play to end the inning and get out of the jam and maintain the 4-0 lead.

In the sixth inning, after getting into another jam of two runners on base with two outs, Dean thought he had gotten out of the inning. Nedved hit a fly out to right field but right fielder Tucker Flint misplayed the ball allowing two runs to score on the RBI double and cut the Maryland lead to 4-2. The next batter Matthew Sosa grounded out to second base but the ball took a bad hop on Kevin Keister into the outfield allowing another run to score and advance Sosa to second base, representing the tying run. But Dean caught Sosa leaning off on second base on the next at-bat and picked him off to get out of the inning and maintain a 4-3 lead for Maryland and set himself up for a win.

Maryland’s offense answered back in the top of the seventh inning to pick up its defense. After Luke Shliger worked a walk to start the inning, Tommy Garndiner double off the wall in left center brought him home to extend the lead to 5-3. The next batter Flint made up for his error in the sixth inning with a RBI single to extend the lead to 6-3. After a walk and two sacrifice bunts, Shaw stepped up to the plate and blew the game open with a two-out RBI single to right cap off the big inning for Maryland and a lead of now 8-3.

Iowa would add two more runs in the eighth inning and would make things interesting in the ninth inning with some loud deep contact off of closer Sam Bello. But Bello — with the tying run at the plate — got the last out and put the finishing touches on a 8-6 win on the first of two games on the day for Maryland in the heart of their Big Ten schedule.

Early offense guides Maryland to 9-5 win, earning a series split

Maryland’s offense attacked early for six runs en route to a 9-5 win over Rutgers Sunday to spilt the series.

After Rutgers grabbed an early 1-0 lead from a fielder’s choice in the top of the first inning. Maryland quickly loaded the bases before recording an out on a Chris Alleyne leadoff walk, a Matthew Shaw single and a Randy Bednar walk.

Rutgers starting pitcher Jayson Hoopes continued to struggle with his command, walking in a run to tie the game. A Matt Orlando single made it a 2-1 game and without recording a single out, Hoopes was pulled for Jared Bellissimo. Benjamin Cowles, who has been a force all series, brought in a third run via a sac-fly to make it 3-1 Maryland.

In the second inning, Maryland loaded the bases with no outs again with a Logan Ott single, an Alleyne double that advanced him to third base and Shaw reaching first base on an error. Randy Bednar wasn’t walking this time as his RBI single made it 4-1 and a Zmarzlak RBI double brought in two more runs.

“If we go to the field and we put together good at bats like we did today every day. We’re gonna have a really good chance to win a lot of games,” Shaw said.

After the blemish in the first inning and pitching out of a jam in the second inning, starting pitcher and Big Ten Freshman of the week Jason Savacool started to settle in with a 6-1 lead under his belt. Savacool put Rutgers down in order in the third inning and struck out the side in the fourth inning.

A Jordan Sweeney solo home run in the fifth inning was the only mistake Savacool made in the inning, but Maryland still maintained a comfortable 6-2 lead. By the time Savacool took the mound in the sixth inning, the five-run lead was back after Cowles’ second RBI sac-fly of the game.  

The high pitch count from the first two innings finally caught up to Savacool, who started to falter — giving up a solo home run to Chris Brito and a Sweeney RBI double. Suddenly, the lead was three runs and Rutgers had life.

Vaughn came to the mound and took the ball from Savacool, ending his afternoon with a line of 5 2/3 innings, threw 101 pitches, five earned runs, six strikeouts and a win.

“I thought Jason did a really nice job,” Vaughn said.

In came Ryan Ramsey from the bullpen looking to maintain Maryland’s lead. After a swinging bunt by pinch-hitter Mike Nyistor brought in another run, suddenly the tying run was at second base. Ramsey blew a pitch right past Jordan Rodriguez on a full count to get out of the jam and keep Maryland out in front.

“I’ve gotten better at this year than last year, being able to come in those situations, and being absolutely ready to get an out off the bat,” Ramsey said.

Shaw and Bednar would go back-to-back in the bottom of the inning to provide insurance runs and bring the lead back up to four as Ramsey and Sam Bello finished off the game for Maryland to get the win and earn a series split moving to 3-5 on the young season with Penn State on deck next weekend.

“I was proud of the effort, I was proud of the last 10 days of our team and the way we’ve gone about it, it’s been really good,” Vaughn said.

Cowles continues to dominate Rutgers pitching, but Terps fall short twice in Saturday doubleheader

Trailing 8-7 and down to their final strike looking for some more magic, Maryland’s Tucker Flint stepped back into the batter box against Rutgers closer Brian Fitzpatrick trying to play the hero.

Instead he struck out with the tying run on second base and the winning run on first with the red hot Benjamin Cowles being left on deck.

“[Tucker] didn’t have an awesome game today,” said Coach Rob Vaughn. “But I trust them. I really do I trust this at bats I believe in him.”

And as a result in their second doubleheader of the season, Maryland baseball was swept Saturday by Rutgers, losing game one 9-3 and losing game two 8-7 behind Chris Brito seven-RBI day between both games.

In game one, for the second straight day, Maryland started off slow, trailing 3-0 in the first inning before they even came up to bat.

Starting pitcher Sean Fisher quickly had the bases loaded before even recording an out on two hard hit balls and an error.

Chris Brito would make Maryland pay with a single to right field to bring in two runs, and later, Jordan Sweeney brought in another run home with a single of his own.

Suddenly it was Déjà vu for Maryland, but this time around, the offense couldn’t muster up a comeback against the Scarlet Knight arms.

In the second inning, Matt Orlando hit his first home run as a Terp — filling in for the injured Maxwell Costes — to cut the deficit to 3-1. Cowles would follow him, hitting his third home run of the series to make it 3-2.

Brito struck again in the fourth inning, this time on a hit-and-run double bringing home the speedy Danny DiGeorgio from first base to extend the lead to 4-2.

In the bottom of the inning, the Terps loaded the bases with one out and Orlando came up to plate representing the go-ahead run. Orlando choked up with two strikes and was able to cut the score to 4-3 with a sac-fly.

Luke Shliger came up trying to be a hero but struck out to end the inning, stranding runners on second and third base and blowing the Terps’ last real chance to tie or take the lead.

Rutgers would blow it open in the sixth inning behind solo home runs off the bats of Josh Rodriquez and DiGeorgio.

Later in the inning, Rutgers would tack on another run from a Sweeney suicide-squeeze against Chris Chaney to make it 7-3 Rutgers, putting it out of reach for Maryland to make another comeback.

“I just didn’t like the way we played in the first game, again,” said Vaughn. “I didn’t think we were clean enough I thought we competed just didn’t we were clean enough.”

After a short 40-minute break, Maryland got off to a much better start in game two with starting pitcher Connor Staine sending Rutgers down in order in the top of the first.

The Maryland offense woke up, attacking Rutgers’ starter Brent Teller’s fastball and getting an early 2-0 lead with a Matthew Shaw RBI double and a Bobby Zmarzlak RBI single by Bobby Zmarzlak bringing Shaw home. That perfect start by Staine was short lived when Sweeney took Staine deep for a tying two-run homer to left-center in the third inning.

Zmarzlak answered for Maryland in the bottom of the inning with an RBI double — his second RBI of the day to take the lead 3-2. The big inning struck for Rutgers in the fourth, starting with the red-hot Brito giving Rutgers the lead on a two-run homer, making the score 4-3. Peter Serruto added a two-RBI single to give Rutgers a 6-3 lead. Maryland would answer in the bottom of the inning, making it 6-4 on James Heffley RBI groundout.

But Chris Brito was a thorn in the side all day for Maryland as his second homer of the day — a solo shot in the fifth inning — gave Rutgers a 7-4 lead.

“Credit Brito, he’s a tough kid, man,” said Vaughn. “That guy’s a good player.”

Down 8-4, Maryland tried to mount a rally on back-to-back home runs from Cowles and Tommy Gardiner and with the chance to tie the game, Shaw just got under a ball that died at the center field wall. Cowles, the superstar the past two days, stepped up to the plate again in the eighth inning to hit another home run and cut the deficit to 8-7.

“Ben Cowles having some of those at bats he’s had the last two days are kind of incredible,” said Vaughn.

Maryland had one last chance in the ninth inning with Randy Bednar standing on second base after hustling to avoid a double-play and advanced to second on a throwing error.

“I was just trying to hustle down as hard as I can down the first baseline,” said Bednar.  “And then when I saw that ball kick back I was trying to get to second base, to try and get into scoring position.”

After a walk of Orlando with Flint up and Cowles hoping to get another chance to hit on deck, the deficit was too much in the end for Maryland to comeback and avoid being swept in the doubleheader.

Maryland falls to 2-4 on the young season and will look to spilt the series in the finale tomorrow at 1:00 P.M., with Big Ten Freshman of the week Jason Savacool taking the mound.

“That second [game] was a good brand of baseball with two teams kind of slugging it out and unfortunately [Rutgers] got one more hit than we did,” said Vaughn.

Maryland Offense shows off its power in 13-8 win in home opener.

After their offense struggled all series against Michigan State, Maryland’s offense, behind Benjamin Cowles’ three-RBI day, put up 13 runs behind four home runs Friday in a 13-8 win against Rutgers in their home opener at Bob “Turtle” Stadium.

With the Terps offense needing a spark early, trailing 3-1 in the second inning, Cowles stepped up to the plate and hit a solo home run to center field to cut the deficit to 3-2 and start the offensive surge for the Terps.

Down 4-2 with two outs in the fourth inning, Chris Alleyne sparked the Maryland offense again, hitting a fastball from Rutgers starter Harry Rutkowski over the wall in center field to give the Terps a 5-4 lead — a lead they would not surrender the rest of the game.

“We just got a lot more comfortable [since the first game],” Cowles said. “I think it was first-game jitters but we’re settling in nice.”

A Bobby Zmarzlak solo home run in the fifth inning just cleared the right field wall to extend the Maryland lead to 6-4, but the Terps offense wasn’t done showing off its power.

After Rutgers added a run to cut the deficit to 6-5, the Terps chased Rutkowski out of the game with one out in the sixth inning and the Maryland offense struck again against the Rutgers bullpen.

With a runner on first base, Cowles hit his second home run of the game off Ben Gorski, this time a two-run homer to center field to extend Maryland lead to 8-5. Later in the inning, Randy Bednar added a RBI single to bring home Alleyne to make it 9-5.

In the seventh inning, the Terps had another extra-base hit, this time a Tommy Gardiner RBI double that brought home Matt Orlando to make it 10-5 and after a suicide squeeze and a RBI walk it was suddenly 12-5 Terps.

It was the Terps best offensive display of the season without even having star infielder Maxwell Costes in the lineup, who’s out with a wrist injury and is day-to-day.

Coming off a 13-strikeout game against Michigan State, starting pitcher Sean Burke had a rough start not being able to put away hitters with two strikes giving up three runs in the first putting the Terps in an early 3-0 deficit. But Burke settled into the game and gave the Terps offense to make the comeback going 5 2/3 innings, throwing 115 pitches, recording seven strikeouts and giving up four earned en route to the win.

“I thought Sean was a little bit amped up but his stuff was fine he settled in and let the game come to him,” Head Coach Rob Vaughn said.

Unlike in his first start on the season, Burke received run support from his offense, exiting the game with a 6-4 lead.

Relief pitcher David Falco came out of the bullpen to make his season debut and let up a run by throwing a wild pitch past catcher James Heffley, cutting the Terps lead to 6-5. With runners on second and third Falco got a groundout to second base to get out the sixth inning, shutting down the Rutgers threat.

[David] tough he doesn’t get fazed really and he kind of bent but didn’t break there and ended up holding us right there which was huge,” Vaughn said.

When pitcher Sam Bello recorded the final out of the ninth inning, the story of the day was the Maryland offense finally coming alive with 13 runs on 11 hits.

“13-8 is not a normal Friday night score,” Vaughn said. “It was a good night to hit, runs were big … it was a really big time come-from-behind win.”

The Terps, now on a two-game win streak, will look to continue their momentum Saturday in a doubleheader with game one starting at 12:00 p.m. and game two starting at 3:30 p.m.

“Just got to do the same thing tomorrow against a good arm,” Vaughn said. “They’re gonna come out hungry and ready to go tomorrow, so we’re gonna have to answer them.”

Series Preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

The Terps were able to salvage their first win of the 2021 season Sunday against Michigan State 3-2 behind a complete game performance from Freshman right-handed pitcher Jason Savacool. Savacool, who entered his collegiate debut with loads of preseason honors, did not disappoint in his first outing as a Terp, being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

Despite the good pitching from Maryland’s starters throughout the Michigan State series, the Terps were doomed by a lackluster offensive performance hitting .200 as a team, .103 with runners in scoring position and four total extra base hits through the four games. 

The Terps, now 1-3 on the season, continue their Big Ten gauntlet as they turn their attention to a four-game series against Rutgers starting Friday evening. The home opener at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium will be without fans in attendance for the first time ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Historically, Maryland Baseball has dominated the Scarlet Knights, owning a 7-2 record since the two teams merged with the Big Ten. The teams’ last meeting ended in a three-game, Maryland sweep, featuring a 17-2 decimation of Rutgers.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights  (2-2, 2-2 Big Ten)

Last Season

The Scarlett Knights finished the shorthanded 2020 season with a 6-9 record, putting them last in the Big Ten standings. The Scarlet Knights struggled across the board with their pitching, recording a 5.23 earned-run average and 1.59 walks plus hits per inning. Harry Rutkowski lead the staff in both ERA and innings pitched with a 2.74 ERA and 23 total innings pitched. The Scarlett Knights hitting wasn’t much better slashing for a total of .265/.367/.377. Richie Schiekofer was the leader of the offense, starting all 15 games with a .375 batting average and 1.085 on-base plus slugging percentage.

This Season

Rutgers comes into the series with a 2-2 record and are coming off splits against Minnesota and Indiana. Against Minnesota, Rutgers won 16-1 in the first matchup on Saturday and a lost 13-8 on Sunday. Against the defending Big Ten regular season champion Indiana, Rutgers won 2-1 in the first matchup on Friday but lost 4-2 on Saturday. Rutgers was picked towards the bottom of the Big Ten in most preseason polls projected to finish 10th, only ahead of Michigan State, Northwestern and Penn State.

Hitters to Watch

The Scarlet Knights had hot bats in Minnesota with 28 runs in four games. Evan Sleight and Bradley Norton are currently pacing the team in batting average, both hitting .400. Chris Brito leads the team with .833 slugging and Jordan Sweeny currently leads the Scarlett Knights in hits with five and has six RBI so far.

Pitchers to Watch   

The pitchers to watch for the Scarlet Knights is their ace Rutkowski and Saturday starter Ben Wereski. Rutkowski got off to a great start on the season with a win against Indiana, going six one-run innings with eight strikeouts. Wereski had a similar stat line himself, also going six one-run innings but with five strikeouts.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday, 4:00 p.m. EST

RHP Sean Burke (0-1 4.50 ERA) vs LHP  Harry Rukowski 1-0 1.50 ERA)

vs.  

Burke, coming off a loss against Michigan State, had an impressive 13 strikeouts while also only giving up two walks and three earned runs in six innings pitched and will look to build on that outing with some help from the Terps’ offense this time.

Rukowski, coming off a win, shut down a good Indiana lineup, keeping them off balance only surrendering one run with eight strikeouts in six innings.

Saturday, 12:00 EST

LHP Sean Fisher( 0-1 8.10 ERA) vs LHP Ben Wereski (1-0 1.50 ERA)

vs. 

Fisher had a rough outing against Michigan State, lasting only 3 1/3 innings giving up three earned runs. He will look to go deeper into the game this time around with the Terps looking to save arms in the first game of a doubleheader.

Before he even took the mound against Minnesota, Wereski already had a four-run lead and shut down the Minnesota lineup, allowing three hits and one earned run in six innings en route to a 16-1 win.

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EST

RHP Connor Staine (0-0 1.50 ERA) vs  RHP Brent Teller (0-1 4.91 ERA)

vs.

Staine was in position for a win with a stellar outing, going six one-run innings while striking out nine Spartans. After he exited, Maryland blew a 4-1 lead in the 7th inning, which led to a heartbreaking 5-4 loss, resulting in a no-decision and a waste of a stellar performance.

Teller on the other hand struggled with consistency in his first outing in not being able to find the strike zone against Indiana only going 3 2/3 innings allowing two runs and four walks taking the loss.

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EST

RHP Jason Savacool (1-0 1.00 ERA) vs TBD

vs.

In the series finale, the Terps will send out the Big Ten Freshman of the Week coming off a dominant complete-game performance against Michigan State. Savacool lead the Terps to their only win of the season, doing it in only 103 pitches and keeping the Spartans lineup at bay. Savacool was the first Terp to pitch nine or more innings since Hunter Parsons tossed a complete-game shutout against Stetson on March 25, 2018.

Rutgers has yet to announce its starting pitcher for Sunday.