Terps get mercied, lose series to Ole Miss

After losing the second game of the series, Maryland was back for the rubber match against the Ole Miss Rebels Sunday at Swayze field. Like it had on Saturday, Maryland’s shaky pitching allowed home run after home run for Ole Miss. After five straight walks to begin the bottom of the seventh, Ole Miss’ Calvin Harris launched a grand slam to enforce a mercy rule as the Rebels took down the Terps 18-8.

The game started poorly for Maryland after both Luke Shliger and Matt Shaw struck out and Nick Lorusso was called out on a full count by way of the new batter’s box violation that says, “the batter must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout the time at bat.” Their bad start continued when Jacob Gonzalez stroked one over the right field wall for a leadoff homer that gave the Rebels an early 1-0 lead.

With two outs to start the second, Rivas walked three straight to load the bases for Elijah Lambros. Lambros, just 1-7 in the series but with two RBI’s in the previous game, spoiled the opportunity when he flew out to right field.

Maryland found their stride in the third when a Shliger single gave Maryland their first hit of the game. Soon after, Lorusso cranked a no-doubter to left field to give the Terps the lead at 2-1.

Also featured in the top of the third was Shaw’s second strikeout of the day. Shaw, one of the best shortstops in all of college baseball, had a poor output in the series going just one-for-five on Friday, zero-for-five with four strikeouts, a career-high, Saturday, and zero-for-four with a walk Sunday.

Maryland’s lead did not last long as Peyton Chatagnier sent a first-pitch bomb into the Terps’ bullpen to tie the game at two. Nate Haberthier, Maryland’s starter, somewhat shaken from his second allowed a home run, walked the next two batters which set up Calvin Harris perfectly as he launched a ball over the wall, narrowly missing Bobby Zmarzlak’s outstretched glove.

Haberthier, shaken up again, allowed a single to Kemp Alderman and walked Anthony Calarco before head coach Rob Vaughn made a call to the bullpen for Kenny Lippman. In 16 appearances last year for Dennison, Lippman had a sub-2.00 ERA but faced a difficult challenge with two men on and no outs. After Ethan Lege lined out, TJ McCants, getting his first start of the series, sent a missile over the wall on a 3-1 count to extend the Rebels’ lead to 8-2.

Things got chippy between Shliger and McCants when McCants stayed in the box to watch his home run a little too long for Shliger’s liking. The two had to be separated when McCants crossed home plate and both sides received warnings.

Ole Miss pitchers had trouble all series when it came to issuing free passes and Rivas was no different when he issued his fourth walk of the day to Keister. After Zmarzlak went down, Lambros came up and redeemed himself when sent one into the bleachers for a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-4. Unfortunately, Shaw struck out once again, his third already on the day.

The home run derby continued when Lorusso slashed his second of the game, a two run blast, to again cut the lead to 8-6. It was at this point when Mike Bianco decided to go to the bullpen for Mitch Murell. Murell, who appeared in the first game of the series, allowed three hits in two innings on the mound on Friday.

After Ethan Groff scored on a Harris double, Vaughn made his second pitching change as he brought in Tommy Kane to relieve Lippman. Harris would score on the ensuing at-bat to extend the Rebels’ lead 10-6.

Shliger got his revenge on McCants later in the fifth when the Maryland catcher sent a two-run blast over McCants’ head to once again cut down the Ole Miss lead to 10-8. Shliger’s long ball was the eighth combined between the two teams as the long balls came early and often for both sides.

Both teams went scoreless in their next at-bats, but on a full count with two outs and Eddie Hacopian on first, Matt Woods was called out on a pitch he thought walked him to first. Woods said something afterward to the umpire who immediately ejected him. Vaughn quickly got in the umpire’s face and was almost thrown out himself.

After a rare offensive lull Sunday for the Rebels, Alderman got things going again when he hit the ninth home run of the game to expand the Rebel lead to 11-8. With an increased lead and three innings left, Biano decided to go to the bullpen again for Brayden Jones to close the door.

Kane, who looked good in his three innings of work with five strikeouts, loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh and was relieved by Eliakim Stowe. Stowe, who only pitched two-thirds of an inning so far this season, had a tall task ahead of him. He walked Chatagnier, the first batter he faced, hit Gozalez immediately after and then walked Groff to walk in three runs to extend the Rebels’ lead to 14-8 with no outs.

After a horrible outing for Stowe, he was relieved by Andrew Johnson with the bases still loaded and no outs. Facing Harris, who already had a home run today and could possibly end it on a grand slam, Johnson’s pitch was taken deep to end the game early as the Rebels forced a mercy rule winning 18-8 in seven innings.

Harris had a phenomenal series. He was the only player to get a hit off of Jason Savacool when he had two before anyone else got one, and on Sunday he had eight RBIs and was 4-5 at the plate with two home runs including the walk-off.

With the loss, Maryland fell to 3-4 on the year. The team will be back home on Tuesday to play Delaware before heading to Minneapolis for the Cambria College Classic.

Maryland pitching falters late as Terps fall to Rebels

Coming off of their stellar offensive performance on Friday night against Ole Miss, the Maryland Terrapins looked to continue their success against the defending College World Series Champions in the second of this three-game series. But, Maryland’s pitching faltered late and their offense was unable to keep up as the Terps fell to the Ole Miss Rebels 12-6 at Swayze Field.

It was the Ole Miss freshman Jayson Saunier that got the start for the Rebels. He immediately hit Luke Shliger on the second pitch of the game and walked Matt Shaw on a full count after. After Shaw popped out and moved Shliger to third, a dropped third strike against Ian Petrutz got behind catcher Calvin Harris and Shliger took off for home but was tagged out to conclude an eventful top of the first.

After Savacool’s phenomenal performance on Friday night, it was senior Nick Dean on the mound today for the Terps. After walking Ethan Groff, Ole Miss’ first of the series, a Kemp Alderman double squeezed right past the glove of Nick Lorusso would help Groff score to take the early lead for Ole Miss.

An Ethan Lege error allowed Hacopian to reach first to start the second followed by a four-pitch walk issued to the transfer Matt Woods as the Ole Miss bullpen loosened up early. A perfectly executed bunt by Kevin Keister loaded the bases for the Terps and the grand slam watch was on again. Instead, an Elijah Lambros sacrifice fly sent home Eddie Hacopian to tie the game at 1-1.

The game would not stay tied for long as Jacob Gonzalez singled on a 3-2 count with two outs to send Lege home from second and take back the lead. Hacopian misjudged the ball’s second bounce, allowing it to bounce off of him and into the outfield which gave Lege all the time he needed to round third and cross home plate.

Enter Petrutz. Coming off of his grand slam in the contest last night, he uncoiled another solo shot in the top of the third to tie the game at two. After hitting Hacopian and walking Keister, Ole Miss brought in Sam Tookoian to relieve Jayson Saunier who was able to get out of the jam.

Tookoian continued his hot relief appearance after getting out of the jam in the third by striking out the side against Maryland to start the fourth. Dean did not fare as well as he worked two outs but loaded bases for Groff as head coach Rob Vaughn started getting arms loose in the bullpen. With the bases juiced, Groff hit a hard single to left field and two crossed home for Ole Miss to once again take the lead. 

After looking untouchable, Tookoian walked three batters to once again load the bases for Maryland and Bobby Zmarzlak. Zmarzlak, having already been in a two-out bases-loaded situation earlier, found himself in a 3-2 count and walked to send in a free run to cut Ole Miss’ lead to one. 

Having seen enough, Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco made a call to the bullpen and brought in senior Matt Parenteau. Now facing Lambros, Parenteau walked him and Shliger back-to-back and gave the Terps the lead at five. Going into the final third of the game, Maryland was walked nine times and hit by a pitch three times already.

After coming in relief of Nick Dean, freshman Kyle McCoy took the mound and quickly worked two outs before getting out of trouble to end the inning. So far in this series against Ole Miss, pitching has been one of Maryland’s strengths as they have gotten more innings and consistency from their arms than Ole Miss. The Rebels used many of their better relief arms already in the series and it will be a point to look for going into the final game of the series on Sunday.

Rain, having caused a delay in yesterday’s game, continued to be a problem as Ole Miss’ left fielder Reagan Burford slipped twice trying to catch a Shliger pop fly. As a result, Shliger doubled and Zmarzlak scored to extend the lead to two.

The Rebels started showing signs of life on offense when a Harris single, an Anthony Calarco double, and a Lege walk loaded the bases for John Kramer who pinch-hit for Will Furniss. Vaughn had seen enough and decided to bring in the sophomore Nigel Belgrave in relief of McCoy. Having worked back from the bases loaded and no outs, Belgrave walked in a run with two outs to diminish the lead to one, and after just two-thirds innings of work, Vaughn pulled Belgrave in for junior David Falco Jr. who immediately gave up a two-run single to Jason Gonzalez.

Down one with two outs and the bases loaded, Zmarzlak once again found himself at the plate. This time he flew one out to right that had an opportunity to be the Terps’ fifth grand slam of the season but was chased down on the warning track by Alderman.

Ole Miss’ offense lost no steam and extended its lead on a two-run homer by Calarco to make their lead 6-9. Shortly after, a Wood single drove in Maddox to extend the lead to four, and with the bases loaded Vaugh pulled Falco for sophomore Ryan Van Buren. His first batter was Groff who singled to left and scored two more to extend the lead to 12-6.

The Terps went down in order in the top of the ninth and the two will play the rubber match of the series at 2:30 PM Sunday.

Grand slams continue, Savacool finds groove as Maryland takes down defending champs

New glove? No problem for Maryland ace Jason Savacool as he mowed down the Ole Miss lineup racking up nine strikeouts and allowing just two runs in seven innings of work against the defending College World Series champions. Thanks to Savacool’s production on the mound, coupled with Ian Petrutz’s second grand slam of the season, the Terps took down the Ole Miss Rebels Friday night at Swayze Field with a final score of 9-2.

In his first start of the season for Ole Miss, junior Jack Dougherty started off the game about as effectively as possible, setting the Terps first three batters down in order. In the bottom half of the first inning, Savacool retired the Rebels’ first three hitters with two strikeouts. What looked like a great pitching battle early came to an end in the top of the second inning as a sac fly from junior Kevin Keister drove in Petrutz followed by a fielder’s choice that allowed sophomore Eddie Hacopian to cross home from third to put the Terps up by two.

The Rebels managed to get one back as two uncharacteristic defensive errors by junior catcher Luke Shliger allowed Calvin Harris to advance to third after his leadoff single. Harris would eventually cross home on an RBI groundout from Anthony Calarco.

The story of the game was Savacool who racked up six strikeouts in the first three innings alone. He routinely worked his way back from hitter-friendly counts to strike out two-thirds of the Rebels’ lineup early. Savacool, who was handed the loss in the Terps’ season opener at USF, surpassed his strikeout total of five from that game early on against Ole Miss in his first three innings of work.

Harris seemed to be Savacool’s kryptonite, however, as the junior was 2-2 against Maryland’s ace and was the only Ole Miss player to record a hit against him through four innings.

On the mound for Ole Miss, Dougherty pitched well but his pitch count was at 80 before he was taken out in the middle of the fifth top and replaced by senior Mitch Murrell after an RBI single from Shliger drove in Lambros to extend the Terps’ lead to 3-1.

Many questionable calls, including Lambros’ double that helped him to score on the Shliger single, went Maryland’s way all throughout the contest to the dismay of the Ole Miss fans assembled at Swayze Field as they made their presence known with a barrage of boos. 

In the bottom of the fifth, Anthony Calarco was the first player not named Harris to record a hit against Savacool. Calarco was able to advance to second on a groundout by Furniss, but he was left stranded after Judd Utermark struck out and Peyton Chatagnier lined out to end the inning. Utermark’s strikeout gave Savacool his seventh and counting on the night.

After a flashy offensive output in the top of the fifth inning, Maryland’s offense would leave Bobby Zmarzlak stranded in the top of the sixth to keep the Maryland lead at two. Faced with the top of Ole Miss’ order, Savacool quickly retired Ethan Groff, Jacob Gonzalez, and Kemp Alderman to end the sixth.

After a leadoff single by Shliger, Matt Shaw, having an uncharacteristically quiet night offensively, got his first hit of the night, a double to right field that helped Shliger advance to third. With two men in scoring position and no outs, Ole Miss went to their bullpen for the second time bringing in freshman Jordan Vera to relieve Murrell after he allowed three hits in two innings on the mound.

With the bases loaded and no one out, Ian Petrutz, who had a grand slam in Maryland’s series against USF, would launch another grand slam into Ole Miss’ bullpen to extend Maryland’s lead to 7-1. Maryland’s offensive clinic continued when a Keister single drove in Matt Woods to extend the lead to 8-1.

Following his five earned runs, Jordan Vera was replaced by freshman Brayden Jones who immediately hit Zmarzlak to put two men on base. Shortly after, the Terps had another bases-loaded opportunity, but Matt Shaw popped out to close the top of the seventh.

After allowing just his second run of the game when Calarco scored on a Furniss double who reached on an error, Savacool got his ninth strikeout of the game to close the seventh

Following seven innings pitched and nine strikeouts, Savacool was relieved by fifth year Kenny Lippman. Coming off two innings pitched against USF on Sunday, Lippman struck out the side to bring the came into the ninth. Lippman would come back to finish the game, setting down the final three Ole Miss hitters in order.

With the win, Maryland improves to 3-2 on the year and hands Ole Miss their first loss of the season. The two will meet again tomorrow for the second of this three-game series.

Series Preview: Ole Miss Rebels

Coming off of a somewhat disappointing start to the season, the No. 14 Maryland Terrapins (2-2) are back on the road for their second series of the year against the 2022 College World Series Champions, the red-hot No. 4 Ole Miss Rebels (4-0).

After their comeback fell short in the first game of the season, Maryland won its next two games thanks to grand slams in both contests courtesy of Nick Lorusso and Ian Petrutz. With the offense looking revitalized, things seemed to be going Maryland’s way. Unfortunately in their next game against West Virginia, the Mountaineers dismantled the Terps’ pitching as they put up seven runs and caused three pitching changes in the first three innings alone. A late comeback attempt by the Terps failed as they fell to 2-2 on the young season.

Ole Miss, however, has been firing on all cylinders out of the gate as they won all four of their games to start the new season. So far the Rebels have outscored their opponents 46-9 thanks to the slugging trio of Chatagnier, Alderman, and Gonzalez. Equally impressive has been the Rebels’ pitching with an average ERA of 2.69 between their four starters so far. However, Ole Miss will be without their ace Hunter Elliot this weekend as he deals with forearm tightness.

The game Friday will be just the third time ever these programs have squared off on the diamond. The series is currently tied at 1-1 with the most recent victory being Maryland’s back on May 29, 2015 when the Terps won 3-1.

Last Season

Ole Miss went 42-23 (14-16) in 2022 where they breezed through the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals before advancing to the College World Series. There, they went 5-1 with wins against Auburn, Arkansa, and finally Oklahoma to claim their title as champions of college baseball. From that team, the Rebels return their top hitters in Gonzalez, Harris, and Alderman as well as their top pitchers in Elliot, Dougherty, and Nichols to attempt another run at glory.

Hitters to Watch

With Elliot out due to injury, look for the junior right hander Jack Dougherty to make his first start of the season on Friday. Last season he was used mainly as a reliever, posting a 4.91 ERA with 61 K’s over 44 innings on the mound. Against Delaware, Dougherty pitched 2.1 innings, allowed zero hits, and struck out five of the seven batters he faced.

Also expected to start a game this weekend is the freshman right hander Grayson Saunier. The four-year letterwinner out of Memphis posted a 2.33 ERA with 63 strikeouts over 48 innings during his senior season. In his first collegiate start against Delaware he allowed zero runs and just one hit with five K’s over four innings of work.

Xavier Rivas, the junior lefty transfer from Indianapolis, is another name to watch out for. Last season, he posted a flawless 7-0 record with a 2.24 ERA, 128 K’s, and four complete games. Against Delaware, the Indiana native allowed just one run and struck out eight of the 13 batters he faced.

Pitchers to Watch

Coming off of 2022 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and First Team All-SEC selections, junior shortstop Jacob Gonzalez is already making noise this year. Last year, Gonzalez was a beast. As a sophomore, he was 1st on the team in runs, 2nd in home runs, 2nd in RBIs, 2nd in OPS, and 3rd in hits including a home run, two RBIs, and two runs in the national title-clinching game against Oklahoma. So far this season, he is already leading his team in RBIs with nine.

Across from Gonzales in the infield is senior second baseman Peyton Chatagnier. The 2020 Collegiate Baseball Freshman All American had a decent 2022, hitting .248 with 11 home runs, 45 RBI’s, 47 runs, and was second on the team with six stolen bases. He has been a powerhouse in the early window leading the Rebels in batting average (.583), hits (7), home runs (2), slugging (1.167), on-base percentage (.625), and OPS (1.729).

Tied for the team lead in hits and home runs is junior Kemp Alderman. Of his 58 starts last season, he was a designated hitter for 52 of them and an outfielder for six. Alderman was very productive in his DH role, finishing second on the team in doubles, tied for third in home runs, fourth in slugging, and fifth in batting average, on-base percentage, and hits. He and Charagnier have almost identical stats on the year, both tied for first in hits and home runs, but Alderman has three more RBI’s going into the series against Maryland.

Preseason Countdown No. 7: Top Summer Performers

As the cold days of winter give way to a new season of baseball for the Dirty Terps, we look back to warmer times and some standout performances from Terps in their respective summer leagues.

There was no better player in the Cape Cod Baseball League than Matt Shaw. The junior from Massachusetts was named the 2022 Cape Cod League MVP and helped lead the Bourne Braves to a 23-14 record, the best in the league, and their second championship in franchise history. 

Shaw was a statistical monster. He led the league in batting average and finished top five in hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI’s, and OBP. “He’s a special player,” said Braves head coach Scott Landers, “He comes to play everyday, and he wants to get better.” 

Shaw, ever the workhorse, stayed humble, “I think it’s just about sticking with an approach… Just sitting on the right pitches, and having a plan up at the plate every at-bat.” This plan helped Shaw become the first player in the CCBL since 2011 to hit for the cycle when he did so in an 8-1 win vs Hyannis.

What seems normal to Shaw is remarkable to others. “What’s really stood out to me about him is the routines he brings every single day,” said Braves coach Kevin Kelley, “A lot of kids his age don’t really have that routine when he comes to the ballpark, but he knows exactly how to prepare himself.”

All of Shaw’s hard work seemed to pan out as he went three for five with a home run and two RBI’s in the title-clinching game for the Braves.

Joining Shaw in Bourne was Nigel Belgrave, the right-handed pitcher from the Terps bullpen. In his first three outings of the season for the Braves, Belgrave allowed just one hit. Early on in a game against the Orleans Firebirds, he retired six batters in a row, four by way of strikeout, to end the game

Working mainly as a relief pitcher/closer, Belgrave appeared in 11 games, the most of any pitcher on the team. In those 11 games, he recorded 14.1 innings pitched with 10 Ks earning him a 3.14 ERA. His 3-0 record and three saves ranked first and second on the team, respectively.

Luke Shliger, Maryland’s slashing catcher, also played in the Cape for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Shliger was named a starter for the east division in the CCBL All-Star Game. His .273 batting average and .299 OBP were both top five on the Red Sox.

Locally, several Terps competed in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League including Andrew Johnson and Sean Lane. Johnson and Lane both played for the Bethesda Big Train who had a league best 26-10 record. 

In seven appearances, Johnson pitched 12.2 innings accumulating a 2-1 record, a 3.55 ERA and a team best 19.18 K/9 ratio. Lane saw the most action of the two appearing in 31 games where he logged 19 hits. His 22 RBIs and 24 BBs were both second best on the team.

Other league champions include Ian Petrutz and Ryan Van Buren who played for the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

In six appearances, Van Buren had a 2.70 ERA with 7 Ks. Petrutz had a solid regular season. Playing 31 games, he batted .277 with 13 RBIs, 20 BBs and nine stolen bases. The playoffs were where he really exploded, boosting his batting average to .571 with one home run and three RBIs, one of which came in a 5-3 win to send Amsterdam to the championship series.

The sole Terp playing in the Futures Baseball League, Zach Martin became an FBL champion after 25 games where he batted .256 with 19 RBIs.

Coming off great summer league performances, head coach Rob Vaughn is certainly hoping that his stars can carry over their fair weather success into the cold months of February when the Terps will once again be a top-25 team.