Terps drop series finale in Sunday pitchers duel

A back and forth pitching battle between starters Jason Savacool and Aidan Maldonado ended in a stalemate into the late innings, but it would come down to a passed ball that allowed Minnesota to salvage Sunday’s game, 4-3.

Savacool entered Sunday coming off a 13-strikeout performance against Penn State looking to build on that stellar recent success. However, the Gophers lineup came ready to fight and kicked off their day with two runs in the first inning. In a rare game where the Terps fell behind early, it was crucial for Maryland to match Minnesota’s scoring.

Troy Schreffler was the first to fight back against the Gophers, doubling to right center field and scoring Matt Shaw, but that would be the only run Maryland could salvage until the seventh inning. The combination of Maldonado’s stellar outing (6 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 7 H, 1 BB) and the overall lack of hitting with runners on base, the Terps bats were rendered useless for most of the game.

While Savacool didn’t have the worst outing — recording a quality start along with seven strikeouts — a few mistakes left him and the Terps in a 3-1 hole until the game progressed into the seventh.

The top of the lineup would finally break through, as Chris Alleyne and Nick Lorusso were able to each bring in a run on back-to-back-singles to tie the game. With a combined nine men left on base for the offense, Maryland struggled to get guys in to score outside of the two vets’ RBI.

With the score still tied going into the bottom of the eighth, freshman Ryan Van Buren was tasked with getting through at least the next inning — and he nearly accomplished that. After recording the first two outs, Minnesota’s Brady Counsell shot a pitch down the right field line for a triple. Then, a passed ball by Luke Shliger allowed Counsell to sprint home and score the go-ahead run.

The Terps had the top of the lineup due up in the ninth as they hoped to spark a comeback, but veteran reliever Tom Skoro made quick work of the Shliger-Alleyne-Lorusso trio, striking out the side.

The Gophers avoid the sweep with Sunday’s win, but Maryland departs from the Twin Cities with its second series win in Big Ten play.

Ramsey keeps Terps afloat, Maryland clinches series win

Six walks left an ugly mark on Ryan Ramsey’s pitching line Saturday afternoon, but the southpaw held the Golden Gophers to one run through five innings to propel the Terps to a series-clinching, 5-2 victory over Minnesota.

Ramsey was coming off arguably his best start of the season, throwing eight innings against Penn State but didn’t have the run support behind him to secure the win. This time, he had plenty of support as Maryland picked up five runs while he was on the mound.

The Terps offense slowed down after Ramsey’s departure, but a big fourth inning was all they needed to claim a lead they would never look back at.

Maryland benefited from some wild pitching by Minnesota starter J.P. Massey to get on the board in the third inning, but runs were hard to come by when it came to the Terps putting together consecutive hits. Of the five runs Maryland scored, three of them came from an error, wild pitch, and walks.

The biggest hit of the game came from Chris Alleyne after the bases were loaded with one out. Alleyne looped a single into left-center to bring home a pair of runs and give Maryland a 5-1 lead.

Andrew Johnson and Sean Heine would relieve Ramsey after his five innings, and the two combined for one inning. But Minnesota started to show some fight against the tandem, picking up a run on a Matt Shaw fielding error.

From then on, the momentum shifted towards the Gophers’ favor.

Freshman Nigel Belgrave replaced Heine in the seventh, and he gave up a big RBI triple to Brady Counsell, who then scored himself to cut Maryland’s lead to one. With Maryland’s offense not finding any luck in the late innings, the pressure fell on the bullpen to close the door as day turned to night.

After Belgrave allowed a pair of baserunners to reach with two outs, David Falco was handed the torch to produce a four-out save and made quick work of it. A 1-2-3 frame from the redshirt sophomore sent the Gophers packing, giving Maryland its second series win in Big Ten play as they look to bring out the brooms for a sweep tomorrow.

Shliger sets tone, Terps come out on top in Minneapolis slugfest

Luke Shliger stepped to the plate for the first time Friday afternoon, and he immediately set the tone on the very first pitch he saw. A deep home run to right center field sparked the Terps’ scoring as they beat Minnesota, 8-3, to take the series opener.

From the leadoff Shliger bomb on, the Terps were able to score early and often to cruise to a The win is Maryland’s sixth in its last seven games, and the Terps will now have the chance to clinch their second-straight Big Ten series win tomorrow afternoon.

When the Terps scored Friday afternoon, they would score in pairs. After the first two runs in the first, the Terps would hit three two-run home runs between the fourth and sixth innings. Those home runs came from Bobby Zmarzlak and Chris Alleyne in the fourth, and the third came from no other than reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Nick Lorusso.

With that home run, Lorusso now has six on the season and has extended his hitting streak to 16 and his on-base streak to 27.

Backed by an overall explosive offense throughout the evening, it was a smooth ride for starter Nick Dean, who didn’t have the most ideal start but made it through six innings to secure the “W.” Early struggles allowed the Golden Gophers to match Maryland’s early pair of runs, but Dean capped off his start with a couple of 1-2-3 innings.

Overall, Dean finished with six three-run innings (105 pitches), six strikeouts, two walks and six hits. Dean is far from his first two starts of 14 total shutout innings, but he’s recorded two-straight quality starts, showing promise that he’s getting be back on track.

After Dean exited, the Terps bullpen struggled to keep Minnesota at bay, surrendering four runs in the late innings. Transfer graduate student Nick Robinson was able to get Minnesota to its final out, but after giving up a pair of walks, hits and runs each, Sean Heine would be summoned to get the final out.

The game wouldn’t end without any stress, as back-to-back Heine walks loaded the bases and brought the tying-run to the plate. Heine thankfully was able to force a groundout to get out of the jam and secure the win.

Series Preview: Minnesota Golden Gophers

A successful series win against Penn State last weekend is exactly what the Terps needed to kick off conference play this season. Maryland continues its campaign Friday when the squad embarks on a journey to Minneapolis for a three-game set with Minnesota.

In between the two Big Ten series, Maryland picked up a midweek win against George Mason on Tuesday afternoon ahead of a nasty weather forecast, which canceled the other scheduled midweek game for Wednesday against Navy.

The win over George Mason was the second time the Terps beat them in a week, and showed that this offense has no intention of slowing down as the most important stretch of the season has arrived. After falling behind, 4-3, in the fifth frame, the offense rallied for five runs between the next three innings and wouldn’t look back.

With its fifth win in six games, Maryland has its head held high going into this series at Minnesota.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-18)

Last Season:

The Gophers’ 2021 season was the worst one in the history of their program, winning six games and finishing with a .162 winning percentage. Coming in dead last in just about every statistical category in the Big Ten, Minnesota was a long way from competing with the rest of the conference in a year where that was its only competition. The next-best team was the Purdue Boilermakers, and they had 10 more wins than Minnesota.

This Season:

As of now, the Gophers have made a big leap from last season — owning a .308 winning percentage. They are still 10 games under .500 and are bringing up the bottom of the Big Ten, coming off the receiving end of a sweep last weekend against Rutgers. The slight improvement in overall record is thanks to an offense that’s produced a smidge better than a couple other Big Ten squads, and a pitching staff that has jumped from a 8.06 ERA to a 6.66 ERA.

Hitters to Watch:

Minnesota’s lackluster offense this season has had a couple of bright spots. Those two being redshirt seniors Jack Kelly and Easton Bertrand. Both have had extraordinary seasons at the plate, with Kelly slashing .405/.475/.798 and Bertrand slashing .383/.444/.702. The Gophers’ home run leader, Chase Stanke, isn’t too far behind his teammates, but his eight home runs are one shy of last season’s team-high.

Pitchers to Watch:

One name stands out amongst the abysmal Minnesota pitching staff, and that name is Sam Ireland. The Gophers’ ace was recently ranked the No. 66 starting pitcher in the nation, according to D1Baseball. His 2.79 ERA in seven starts is by far the best on the staff, with 5.68 and 6.68 ERAs behind him. Minnesota also has one standout relief pitcher in Tom Skoro. Skoro has made 13 appearances out of the pen and has a team-best 2.25 ERA.

Probable Starting Pitcher Matchups

Friday, 5:00 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Nick Dean (2-1, 3.48 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Sam Ireland (3-1, 2.79 ERA) 

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Nick Dean was able to somewhat right the ship against Penn State after two of his most strenuous starts of the season, going six innings with two earned runs against the Nittany Lions. If Penn State’s average offense offered a great chance to get back to his early-season form, then facing Minnesota should be a blessing for Dean.

When Sam Ireland is on, he’s on. Thankfully for Maryland, he’s coming into Friday night’s game after three of his toughest starts of the season. In his first four starts, he recorded a 1.90 ERA. In his three starts since that stretch, he has a 4.20 ERA. Ireland’s most recent outing was against Big Ten competition in Rutgers, and he surrendered three runs in five innings.

Saturday, 3:00 p.m. ET

Jr. LHP Ryan Ramsey (6-0, 2.33 ERA) vs. R-Jr. RHP Aidan Maldonado (1-3, 5.68 ERA)

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Ryan Ramsey is coming off his longest start of the year — eight innings of work with eight strikeouts against Penn State. A pair of mistakes added three earned runs to his pitching line and wiped away the potential win, but Ramsey left the mound maintaining his incredible ERA despite seeing it rise a tick. In his last four starts, he owns a 1.33 ERA and is amidst the best stretch of his collegiate career.

Aidan Maldonado suffered the biggest blow to his season ERA in his start against Rutgers last Saturday. The Scarlet Knights walloped the righty for seven runs on eight hits and four walks, all within the first four innings. Maldonado had a similar start early in the season with six earned runs against Indiana State, but without those two major blemishes on his season, his ERA would sit at 2.66. The Terps will hope to make it three blemishes on the redshirt junior’s season.

Sunday, 2:00 p.m. ET

So. RHP Jason Savacool (5-2, 2.52 ERA) vs. Sr. RHP J.P. Massey (2-3, 6.68 ERA)

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Jason Savacool came one strikeout away from tying his career-high 14 against Penn State last Sunday. It might be unlikely that he comes close to that total against Minnesota — while the Gophers are at the bottom of nearly every offensive stat, they own the lowest number of strikeouts in the Big Ten. However, Savacool seems to certainly be back in his groove after his Penn State start, which came a week following a rough patch at Dallas Baptist.

J.P. Massey brings up the caboose in Gophers’ weekend rotation with his 6.68 ERA, and he has hardly been able to catch a break. Coming off last Sunday’s start with six earned runs against Rutgers, it’s going to be especially hard for him to catch a break against the Terps’ lineup.

Savacool cages Nittany Lions, leads Terps to first Big Ten series win

Sunday afternoon’s rubber match was the setting for a bounce back masterpiece from starter Jason Savacool. The sophomore started his day striking out the side in each of his first three innings, and ultimately punched out 13 Nittany Lions as the Terps cruised to the finish, taking the series finale, 7-2.

Savacool’s last few starts including Sunday’s have been a rollercoaster, as he had a career-best 14 strikeouts against Siena two weeks ago, and was shelled for four earned runs on eight hits against Dallas Baptist a week later.

On Sunday, he righted the ship with a dominant showing, bringing his season-ERA down to 2.52.

While Savacool took care of business on the mound, the Terps’ bats came to life after a shaky performance Saturday afternoon, scoring seven runs in the first four innings to give their starter and bullpen a very comfortable lead till the final out. Between the speedy work of Savacool and some efficient scoring, the game lasted two hours and 37 minutes.

Once again, Maryland struck early — and this time, often — kicking off the scoring in the first inning.

Thanks to an error from Penn State starter Tommy Molsky, Terps catcher Luke Shliger reached third base after getting on via hit-by-pitch. Nick Lorusso, who had himself yet another strong day at the plate, brought Shliger in to score on a sacrifice-fly.

Kevin Keister, who now has a hit in 11 of his last 12 games, added to the score an inning later, smoking an opposite-field home run with freshman Zach Martin on base to make it 3-1.

Penn State was able to salvage a run early to counter Maryland’s first score in the form of a Cole Bartels opposite-field home run, but the Nittany Lions would quickly fall far behind in the fourth inning as the Terps continued to pile on.

Starting with a RBI infield single, the inning came to a climax as Lorusso obliterated a pitch from Nittany Lions reliever Jordan Morales to make it a four-run fourth. Lorusso’s four RBI Sunday gives him 13 this week, including his six-RBI night against Towson.

With a 7-1 lead going into the eighth inning, the Maryland bullpen was somewhat of a revolving door as Head Coach Rob Vaughn deployed Andrew Johnson, Matt Orlando and Nigel Belgrave to get through the lone frame.

The flamethrower Belgrave was given the ball in the ninth and shut the door on Penn State, handing Maryland its first series win in conference play.

Terps bats fizzle out, Nittany Lions even series

Ryan Ramsey may have shined as bright as the sun Saturday afternoon with an eight-inning, three-run start, but a quiet Maryland offense couldn’t keep up with Penn State as the Terps dropped the potential series-clincher, 6-4.

The lone smudges on Ramsey’s pitching line came from a mistake pitch in the sixth that turned into a two-run blast from Penn State’s Johnny Piacentino, and a game-tying single from Matt Wood in the eighth inning. Outside of that, it was practically a clean slate as the only other damage was a few softly-hit singles and one double.

Unfortunately, Ramsey’s efforts weren’t enough as the Terps could only score early, but not often.

In his past four starts, which included a seven-inning, one-run outing against Dallas Baptist last weekend, Ramsey owns a 1.33 ERA and 35 strikeouts. This was his most efficient of those starts, as he had to throw more than 10 pitches in just four innings en route to 100 total pitches in eight innings.

Ramsey was backed by an offense that once again struck first, this time on the seventh pitch of the game. Following a Luke Shliger leadoff double, Chris Alleyne battled to send a RBI single to center field. The Terps have now scored first in 22 of their 27 games, but unlike the 16 of those that they’ve won, they couldn’t hang on Saturday.

A couple of innings later, Maryland would triple their score thanks to some free passes from Penn State starter Kellan Tulio, who hit the leadoff batter and filled up the bases with a pair of walks. The ever-hot Nick Lorusso would be first to take advantage the free passes — looping a single to center for one run — and Matt Shaw would make it a 3-0 lead via sacrifice fly. Lorusso has now reached base safely in 24-straight games and has four-straight games with a RBI.

The struggling Tulio would exit the game the same inning in favor of Steven Miller, and that change may have saved the Nittany Lions hopes. Miller threw 4 1/3 shutout frames, rendering the Terps offense useless for nearly the remainder of the game.

While the Terps offense would go quiet, Penn State rallied in the sixth inning on Piacentino’s no-doubter to left field, cutting Maryland’s lead to one. The Nittany Lions tied it a pair of innings later as Ramsey ran out of gas, but he was able to keep the score even before making his exit.

Maryland nearly had itself a chance to walk off the game before extra innings, as back-to-back walks brought Alleyne to the plate with two outs. But on what initially looked like a hit-by-pitch on an 0-2 count, the umpires ruled that Alleyne leaned into the pitch, and called him out on strikes to fizzle out the rally.

Extra innings immediately took a turn for the worse as the Nittany Lions opened up the 10th inning with two singles against Nick Robinson.

Robinson nearly got out of the jam, putting away the monster bats of Piacentino and Wood, but pinch-hitter Tayven Kelley would provide the biggest hit of the day, smoking a pitch into the left-center gap to give Penn State a 5-3 lead. A Jay Harry double put the cherry on top for Penn State, giving them a three-run lead to defend.

The opportunity to tie the game came up once again in the Terps’ 10th as Maryland quickly loaded the bases with nobody out. Troy Schreffler brought the Terps a run closer on a groundout, but down to the final out, Penn State’s Ben Kailher made the play of his career to close the door. A diving catch drifting out to shallow right field may make an appearance on SportsCenter Top 10, as Kailher robbed freshman Zach Martin of a potential game-tying single.

With the Nittany Lions evening the series, Jason Savacool will lead the Terps into Sunday afternoon’s rubber match as the Terps still look to take the first series of Big Ten play.

Nick at Night: Dean, Lorusso lead the way to Terps win in Big Ten opener

Friday night’s date with Penn State could be described with just one name: Nick. Between Nick Dean’s performance on the mound and Nick Lorusso’s performance at the plate, the Terps were able to maneuver their way to an 8-4 win over Penn State to open up Big Ten competition.

Facing a Penn State lineup that’s among the bottom of the Big Ten in just about every category, Nick Dean was given the perfect opportunity to bounce back after a pair of miserable starts — and that’s exactly what he did.

While shaky Terps defense proved to be a challenge behind Dean, he was able to navigate through six innings with two earned runs, picking up his first quality start since March 4. At the plate, Nick Lorusso opened his night with three-straight walks before driving in a clutch, game-tying run in the seventh inning to fuel a late Maryland comeback.

Penn State opened up scoring with a run in the second inning courtesy of Maryland’s defense. With sophomore Jay Harry stealing second, Luke Shliger airmailed the ball into the outfield, and on the rebound attempt to third base, Chris Alleyne sailed the ball into the Terps’ dugout. Harry came all the way around to score, and it wouldn’t be the last time that Maryland’s defense would hand over scoring opportunities.

Thankfully for Head Coach Rob Vaughn — who was coaching his 200th career game Friday night — the Terps were able to use everything from small ball to long ball to give his squad a 3-1 lead. Bobby Zmarlzak contributed in both fashions, knocking down a perfect sacrifice bunt to score Maxwell Costes in the second and later crushing a no-doubter to left field for the Terps’ third run.

The momentum was in the Terps’ favor up to that point, but with one out in the sixth inning, Troy Schreffler misplayed a Johnny Piacentino base hit, allowing it to roll towards the outfield wall and letting Piacentino pick up a triple. In the moment, the momentum did a complete flip as Penn State rallied to tie the game.

In the seventh, the combination of a walk, wild pitch and passed ball from Noah Mrotek allowed the Nittany Lions to take the lead. Luckily for Maryland, Penn State would switch out relief pitcher Tyler Shingledecker in favor for a struggling Mason Mellott. Shingledecker went 1 1/3 innings with four strikeouts before he was replaced, and Mellott immediately surrendered the lead on Lorusso’s RBI single.

Costes would then have a chance to drive in the go-ahead run, and he converted in the clutch with two outs. An inning later, Alleyne would blow the doors off this game with a massive three-run home run to straight-away center field.

After pitching the seventh and eighth innings, Mrotek returned to the mound in the ninth to pick up a nine-out save and stamp a “W” on the series opener.

Series Preview: Penn State Nittany Lions

Big Ten play is finally here, and the Terps couldn’t look hotter going into the weekend.

Despite a rough outing against the No. 1-rated RPI team Dallas Baptist, the Terps had a record-setting midweek performance against Towson, followed by a decisive victory over George Mason.

The 26 runs and 23 hits that the Maryland lineup produced Tuesday evening were season-highs, and the highest the program has totaled since March 14, 2007. A few players, including Nick Lorusso and Troy Schreffler, enjoyed career days at the plate. The two combined for 11 RBI and two home runs, and their teammate Maxwell Costes picked up his 34th home run as a Terrapin, tying Will Frazier (2002-2005) for the second-most home runs in a Maryland uniform.

The win over George Mason was a much closer contest, featuring typical midweek hurler Logan Ott pitching a career-high five innings of shutout baseball against George Mason. The game came down to the wire, with senior Sean Heine defending a 3-1 lead against a bases-loaded threat in the ninth inning before neutralizing the Patriots for good.

Maryland now turns its head to its first Big Ten opponent — a struggling Penn State — as it looks to add to its current winning streak.

Penn State Nittany Lions (9-13)

Last Season:

An 18-24 record in 2021 led to the Nittany Lions finishing in the bottom-half of the Big Ten standings, and with no Big Ten Tournament last year, their season came to an end on May 29.

Despite its losing season, Penn State’s overall performance held up a lot better than it has this season. The Lions were tied for third in the conference in batting average and sixth in on-base percentage. Part of that has to do with the presence of Gavin Homer and Justin Williams in the lineup, who were the Lions’ best two hitters.

This Season:

The Nittany Lions are on track to finish with a similar record to last season’s as they own a .409 winning percentage. They also happen to be crawling into the weekend, losing four of their last six games. Two of those losses came against Rutgers last weekend, featuring a 20-6 blowout in the series finale. Their second taste of Big Ten play against the Terps may be even more bitter as Maryland is off to its best start in program history.

Penn State comes into the weekend hitting at the bottom of the Big Ten with a .669 OPS, and is last in the conference with seven home runs. The Lions pitching hasn’t been doing them many favors either, as seen last weekend with 32 total runs surrendered to Rutgers and nine total games where they’ve given up 10+ runs. Their staff has a 6.00 ERA, which is fourth-worst in the conference.

The departures of Bailey Dees, Kyle Virtbitsky and Conor Larkin have left Penn State with a completely new rotation that’s still getting figured out, but the Lions may have a long way to go in order to do that.

Hitters to Watch:

Juniors Matt Wood and Johnny Piacentino are the two next best hitters remaining on Penn State’s roster with Homer and Williams gone, but it’s Wood who has easily been the Lions’ top performer. In 21 starts at catcher, Wood is batting .375 and has a 1.134 OPS. He’s done just about everything Penn State could want, leading the squad with four home runs, hitting five doubles, two triples and even one stolen base.

Pitchers to Watch:

As of now, Penn State hasn’t really gotten ahold of a new rotation since the departure of its past weekend trio. Five pitchers have shared weekend starts, but the two who have performed the best — Mason Mellott (3.86 ERA) and Kellan Tulio (3.52 ERA) — haven’t had starts since mid-March and February, respectively. With those two pitchers in shifting to the bullpen, along with closer Jaden Henline (2.75 ERA) and Steven Miller (3.38 ERA), the Nittany Lions boast a very solid bullpen.

Probable Starting Pitcher Matchups

Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Nick Dean (2-1, 3.54 ERA) vs. So. RHP Travis Luensmann (0-2, 6.18 ERA) 

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After a couple of rough outings in a row, Nick Dean looks to take advantage of a weak Penn State offense to get back on track of what started as a picture-perfect season for the Terps ace. Prior to that rough patch, Dean was cruising with a 0.93 ERA, but the junior has given up nine runs in his last two starts, including a tough battle against Dallas Baptist.

Luensmann has been given the ball every Friday for Penn State thus far, but he has yet to go more than 4 2/3 innings since February 25. With a 6.18 ERA, clean starts have been hard to come by for the sophomore, and he’s had just one shutout performance (March 11 vs. UMass), albeit he combined to surrender 11 hits and walks.

Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET

Jr. LHP Ryan Ramsey (6-0, 2.11 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Tommy Molsky (0-3, 5.40 ERA)

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A big part of Maryland’s lone win against Dallas Baptist was the valiant effort put out by Ryan Ramsey. Despite an abnormal four walks and two strikeouts, Ramsey navigated through seven innings of one-run baseball to pave the way for an 11-5 victory over the Patriots. With his season ERA down to 2.11, he’ll look to get it to sub-2.00 in his start Saturday afternoon.

Just like the Lions’ ace, Molsky has been the only other Nittany Lion getting consistent starts, as he’s taken the ball every weekend thus far. His best performance came in his very first, pitching six shutout innings, but the freshman hasn’t had a clean slate like that since. Molksy’s last start did come Wednesday afternoon, but despite pitching on short rest a couple of times this season, it’s uncertain if he gets the ball at all.

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

So. RHP Jason Savacool (4-2, 2.72 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Chase Renner (1-1, 9.00 ERA)

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Savacool went from the highest of highs against Siena to the lowest of lows this season against Dallas Baptist, so like Dean, he’ll also be hoping to take advantage against Penn State to right the ship. Compared to last year, Savacool has been much more consistent, and has been showing a lot more life in his fastball which contributed to his season-best 14 strikeout performance against Siena. While Penn State’s hitting has struggled immensely this season, they’ve kept strikeouts to a minimum (third-lowest in the Big Ten), so Savacool will need to work hard to bounce back from last Sunday’s blunder.

The final spot in Penn State’s rotation has been tricky all season, as it has yet to find a reliable arm to fill the start with. However, Chase Renner pitched in that spot most recently, throwing an inning in what could have been an “opener” role. Renner could have hoped for better, allowing three runs in the frame before being replaced in the second. He did pitch a pair of innings in Penn State’s win over St. Bonaventure Wednesday, so like Molsky, it’s unclear if he will get the ball Sunday.

Maryland bats erupt for 26 runs in clobbering of Towson

After a rough weekend in Dallas knocked Maryland out of the NCAA Top 25, the Terps bounced back with authority. Scoring a season-high 26 runs, the Terps dominated Towson, 26-8, in the first of two midweek games before Big Ten play begins. The 26 runs are the most that Maryland Baseball has scored in one game since March 14, 2007.

The first four innings tell the whole story as the Terps picked up all 19 of their runs in that span, including the third inning that featured three home runs and six total runs. By the time the fourth inning ended, every hitter in the Terps’ lineup reached base at least once.

Maryland picked up four runs in the first and second innings each, and once the Tigers threatened with three runs of its own, the Terps bounced back with six runs in the third — and five more in the fourth.

The game could have ended after the fourth inning, and Nick Lorusso would still have himself the best game of the season thus far. The Villanova transfer reached base in each of those innings including six RBI and a three-run home run in the third to get back all the runs Towson had scored in the prior frame.

Outside of Towson’s three-run inning in the third, Maryland’s pitching tandem of Ryan Van Buren — making his first collegiate start — and Andrew Johnson cleaned up very nicely. Having an enormous lead behind them helps that, and from the fourth inning on, the Terps were able limit Towson to four runs en route to the big win.

Freshman Michael Walsh made his collegiate debut in the seventh inning, but surrendered three two-out runs.

Towson’s lone bright spot of the game was the one pitcher who was able to keep the Terps’ lineup at bay. Junior Josh Seils took to the mound in the fifth and pitched a pair of shutout frames. For the Tigers, it was just too little, too late.

That bright spot lasted just two innings, as Seils let up a pair of runs in what turned into a seven-run seventh inning that all but put the nail in the coffin.

Most of the Terps’ starters had been replaced late in the game, but Troy Schreffler remained. Just like Lorusso, Schreffler had himself a stellar performance, racking up four hits and five RBI.

With the final box score looking somewhat like a lottery machine, the Terps will be heading into Wednesday’s afternoon date with George Mason with their heads held high.

Midweek Preview: Towson and George Mason

Maryland enters the new week unranked for the first time this season after dropping last weekend’s series against Dallas Baptist. While the Terps hung in there all weekend — getting outscored by just two runs in the three games — the Patriots proved why they have been the No. 1-ranked RPI team in the country for the past three weeks.

The weekend in Dallas was the last non-conference series for Maryland before it heads into conference play against Penn State next weekend, but before that, they play two midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday against Towson and George Mason, respectively. Both teams have struggled thus far and present a great opportunity for Maryland to bounce back ahead of Big Ten competition.

Towson Tigers (8-16)

Last season:

While Towson ended its 2021 season with a 21-36 record, an 11-12 conference record was all it needed to place second in the Colonial Athletic Association North Division. However, the team’s performance was certainly nothing to write home about, as it place last in the entire CAA in batting average and slugging percentage. The only stat that the Tigers excelled in was walks, which they led their conference in with 261.

On the other side of the diamond, Towson’s pitching also led the CAA in walks, giving out 237 free passes. Overall, the Tigers pitching handed in a 5.60 ERA in 2021, and they gave up the most home runs (63) in the conference as well.

This season:

Towson is two weeks removed from taking a big four-game series split against Princeton, but its -16 run differential over that weekend paints the bigger picture of how rough 2022 has been for the Tigers. With a .333 winning percentage, Towson is dead last in the CAA with every other team sitting above .500. The hitting has improved from 2021 (to third-worst in the conference), but the pitching has all but hit rock-bottom. A 7.93 ERA tells the whole story, as the combination of walks and home runs has left the Tigers pitching staff helpless.

Hitters to watch:

The improved hitting performance from the 2022 Tigers could arguably be mostly attributed to its two strongest sluggers — Jack McLaughlin and Burke Camper. Both players have posted an OPS beyond 1.100, and McLaughlin alone owns a .409 batting average. Camper leads the team with seven home runs, which has translated to a monstrous .712 slugging percentage. There’s a pretty steep drop-off following those two, but those potent bats could certainly pose a big threat against Maryland pitching.

Pitchers to watch:

With just one pitcher owning at least 10 innings pitched and an ERA below 4.00, Towson’s pitching is exactly what the CAA conference stats show — rock-bottom. The one pitcher who has stayed afloat so far is Tigers closer Jake Pecilunas, who comes in with a 2.70 ERA and four saves out of his 10 appearances. Should the Tigers have a late lead Tuesday evening, it will most likely be Pecilunas taking the ball.

George Mason Patriots (8-14)

Last season:

Just like Towson, George Mason found itself near the bottom of its conference standings last season. With Massachusetts (.158) being the only team to finish with a worse conference winning percentage, the Patriots ended 2021 with a .292 record in the Atlantic-10 Conference, finishing last in the South Division. The Patriots’ hitting was middle of the pack, slashing .266/.353/.386, but it was the pitching that had them falling into the gutter of the Atlantic-10. The staff’s 6.66 ERA was narrowly better than St. Bonaventure’s conference-worst 6.76, and opposing batters nearly hit .300 against them.

This season:

George Mason is on track to finish the season just about where they ended in 2021, currently sitting fourth-to-last in the Atlantic-10. Having dropped a series to The Citadel last weekend, George Mason owns an 8-14 record, and prior to its win on Sunday, George Mason was suffering a six-game losing streak. The offense has put up similar numbers to 2021, slashing .260/.356/.349, but the pitching still remains in dire straits. Its 6.05 ERA stands out the most.

Hitters to watch:

The Patriots have three hitters in their lineup with an OPS over .800, but the most impressive one is Connor Dykstra, who’s been raking to a 1.020 OPS in 58 at-bats. Dykstra leads the Patriots with four home runs, and is the only hitter in the lineup with more than one long ball.

Pitchers to watch:

The two standout pitchers on George Mason’s staff may not even make an appearance in Wednesday’s game. Danny Hosley — owner of a 2.87 ERA and team-best 0.97 WHIP — started on Sunday against The Citadel, and Chad Gartland — owner of a 2.75 ERA — started on Saturday. Matthew Henson is the only other pitcher on the Patriots having pitched over 10 innings and an ERA below 4.00, and he could make an appearance out of the bullpen.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Maryland is playing back-to-back midweek games for the first time this season, meaning that Head Coach Rob Vaughn will have to deploy two midweek starters as opposed to one. Logan Ott has received the most midweek starts, so he’ll likely take one of the games, but for the other, it’s likely to fall on another bullpen arm, such as Andrew Johnson or Ryan Van Buren.

As for the opposition, Towson has typically sent out Teddy Blumenaur for midweek starts, but that could be up in the air for Tuesday after his last performance against Virginia where he gave up six runs in 2/3 innings. George Mason has split midweek starts between a handful of pitchers, with the most recent being Britt Yount.