Third straight game with a grand slam for Maryland as they take the series finale in Florida

A combination of seven RBIs and seven hits from Ian Petrutz and Matt Shaw provided Maryland with the firepower to take down USF.

Maryland looked like its 2022 self after scoring a run at the top of the first. A leadoff walk from Luke Shliger and a single by Shaw put runners on first and third for Nick Lorusso. With four RBIs in the series, Lorusso drove in his fifth with a sacrifice fly to center field. Shaw was able to steal second base, but nothing came from it as the Terps closed out the top of the first up 1-0.

Nate Haberthier, a transfer from Ohio State, was set to make his first start in a Maryland uniform. On just his second pitch, USFs Daniel Cantu smacked a solo shot over the right field fence to tie the game up at one. A couple of singles later and a wild pitch put the Bulls on first and third before Marcus Brodil grounded into a double play, scoring a run and giving the Bulls a 2-1 lead.

Shliger doubled to left center in the top of the third to give him his first hit of the season and the Terps a chance to tie it up. With a 2-0 count, Shaw thrashed a home run to left field, awarding Shliger his second run of the day and Shaw’s second and third RBIs of the series.

Eddie Hacopian decided the one-run margin was not enough and slapped a lead-off solo home run in the top half of the fourth to extend the Terp’s lead. The sophomore achieved his first home run of the season and career on the hit to right field.

An Elijah Lambros leadoff walk, Shaw single, and Lorusso walk in the top of the fifth loaded the bases for Petrutz. As if two games in a row was not enough for Maryland, Petrutz thought three straight would be better when he cleared the bases on the first pitch he saw. The designated hitter hit his second home run of the series and put the Terps up six runs.

Haberthier settled in after USFs fast start, not allowing another run inning and striking out four along the way. His day ended after throwing five innings and allowing two earned runs on seven hits and one walk.

Nigel Belgrave replaced Haberthier in the sixth and picked up two strikeouts in an inning of work. Lefty transfer Tommy Kane came in relief for the Terps in the seventh and allowed a three-run homer to Drew Butcher before striking out the next two hitters he faced and limiting any more damage.

Up three in the top of the ninth, Shaw added to his spectacular day with an RBI double, scoring Shliger and expanding the Terps lead to four. Shaw ended the day a perfect 5-5 with three RBIs and a double to go along with a home run. Commenting on his masterful day, head coach Rob Vaughn said, “your best player doing best player-like things.”

Kenny Lippman closed out the rubber match for Maryland, pitching in the eighth and ninth while allowing zero runs and striking out one batter. Lippman is a fifth-year transfer from Denison who was making his first appearance for the Terps.

Six innings from Nick Dean and a grand slam accompany Maryland to an 8-1 win over USF

A magnificent outing from Nick Dean and scoring frenzy from the Terps hitters guided them to an 8-1 boat race win.

Dean was locked in from the start, retiring the side in the first and proceeding to strike out three in the bottom of the second. Bobby Boser’s hit in the second was the only one allowed for Dean in the afternoon, and one of the three USF hitters to reach base.

The Terp’s bats took a couple of innings to get going but struck first in the top of the third. Jacob Orr reached first due to a USF throwing error and advanced to second after Bobby Zmarzlak was hit by a pitch. Up next, Elijah Lambros logged his second RBI of the season on a laser through the 5-6 hole, scoring Orr and giving Maryland a 1-0 lead. Luke Shliger grounded into a double play the next at-bat, but the Terps were still alive with a runner on third and Matt Shaw due up. With a 1-1 count, Shaw delivered a double to the left-center gap, achieving his first RBI of the season and giving Maryland a two-run lead.

Dean’s dominance continued in the third inning with three strikeouts and another in the fourth, bringing his total to seven through four innings. The senior looked poised, giving up just one hit and no walks before the fifth inning.

A one-out triple in the top of the fifth by Zmarzlak put the Terps in position to extend the lead. Zmarzlak scored just two batters later on a passed ball, increasing the margin to three runs.

After eight strikeouts and six innings, Dean was replaced by left-handed reliever Kyle McCoy. Dean was dominant in his first start of the season, allowing just one hit and no runs on 94 pitches.

Back-to-back walks and a Shliger sacrifice bunt had the Terps with runners on second and third to start off the seventh inning. USF decided to intentionally walk Shaw with one out, loading the bases for Nick Lorusso. Looking for his first hit of the season, Lorusso clobbered a home run over the left field wall to give Maryland their second grand slam of the year and a seven-run lead.

With McCoy in to replace Dean, USF capitalized and drove in their first run of the game after a two-out double by right fielder Pablo Ruiz. McCoy bounced back in the eighth and struck out two hitters, including giving USF Drew Brutcher his third of the night.

Maryland wasn’t done, as with one out in the top of the ninth, Eddie Hacopian scored Shaw on a groundout to the USF first baseman. This gave Hacopian his first RBI of the season and added an insurance run to Maryland’s already commanding lead.

A sliding grab down the first base line by Hacopian and a strikeout from McCoy helped put away the Bulls for the day.

Maryland almost mounts comeback but loses season opener to USF

Maryland’s first game of the year did not go as planned after South Florida put up an eight spot on Preseason All-American Jason Savacool.

The Bulls got off to a fast start, thanks to Bobby Boser’s three-run bomb in the bottom of the first. The Terps bounced back swiftly in the top of the second with a leadoff home run by Ian Petrutz and didn’t stop there as a pair of triples by Jacob Orr and Elijah Lambros tied the game up.

With two outs in the bottom of the third, redshirt senior Travis Sankovich drove in the Bulls’ fourth run of the game off a two-out double.

After a four-inning, three-run, four-hit appearance, the Bulls decided to pull their starter, Hunter Mink. He threw 59 pitches, of which 43 landed for strikes. Junior Riley Skeen took his place in the fifth and walked two Maryland hitters before getting Matt Shaw to ground into a double play.

Savacool found his groove in the fourth and fifth, setting down six straight hitters in a row, including a strikeout on Bulls first baseman Daniel Cantu. Boser proceeded to hit his second home run of the evening off of Savacool in the bottom of the sixth, increasing USF’s lead to 5-3.

A four-pitch walk to Bobby Zmarzlak and Lambros’ single put two Maryland baserunners at first and second with one out. Luke Shliger advanced Zmarzlak to third on a deep fly out to center and Matt Shaw loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. USF reliever Ethan Brown escaped the two-out jam on a fielder’s choice by Nick Lorusso.

Head coach Rob Vaughn decided six innings was enough, as Savacool was replaced by David Falco. The junior ended the night with six innings, five earned runs, seven hits, and five strikeouts.

Falco came into relief and walked the first batter he faced. As the bottom of the seventh continued, so did the walks and wild pitches. Before being replaced by right-hander Ryan Van Buren, Falco allowed three earned runs on three walks and a wild pitch. Van Buren ended the inning with a groundout from Sankovich.

USF extended its lead by three runs, giving them a five-run gap, needing only six outs to close out the win. Maryland wasn’t fazed by the large deficit as a pair of walks and a single by Kevin Keister loaded the bases for Orr. On a 0-1 count, Orr smashed a grand slam over the center field fence to reduce the lead to just one. This was his first career home run and tied his career-high with five RBIs.

Orr replaced Matt Woods in the outfield because of back tightness, which allowed him to step up to the occasion. When discussing the role Orr played in the loss, Vaughn said, “It’s what good players do man. When their names called they’re ready to go.”

Van Buren’s one-two-three inning allowed the Terps to stay within just one heading into the ninth. Two-hole hitter Matt Shaw was set to leadoff with only three outs remaining. USF got two quick outs, but Maryland didn’t stop fighting with back-to-back singles to keep the inning alive. Keister stepped up to the plate with two and a 2-1 count but grounded out to the shortstop to give USF their first win of the season.

Maryland will play USF for the second game in the series tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m.

Series Preview: USF Bulls

It is finally baseball season and Maryland is looking to keep the ball rolling after their record-breaking season against USF.

The Terps are ranked 13th in the country heading into the 2023 season and will be facing the Bulls for the first time in program history. Last year, South Florida finished with 28 wins and 29 losses while winning just eight conference matchups. Maryland’s season ended with a Big Ten championship and its first conference title since 1971.

Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium will have to wait until next week as the Terp’s season opener is taking place in Tampa, Florida. USF is looking for a revenge season with home run leader Drew Butcher returning along with eight new transfers. Coming back for Maryland are six All-Big Ten members and six transfers, one being Matt Woods, who was the NEC player of the year at Bryant University in 2022.

Both teams plan to improve their past season, with USF hoping to make a splash in the American Athletic Conference and Rob Vaughn’s Terps anticipating a ticket to the College World Series.

South Florida Bulls (28-29, 8-16 AAC)

Last Season

USF placed last in the American Athletic Conference in 2022, winning just eight games in league play and 28 overall. They found themselves in a few rough patches during the season, losing six straight and then five more in a row later that month. In a three-game series during early May, the Bulls were able to secure two of three games against conference rival UCF. Just two years removed from the Super Regional, USF is eager to get back to the high-level baseball they have shown in the past.

Hitters to Watch

The program’s best hitter Drew Butcher will return this year after 13 home runs, 40 RBI, and 1.057 OPS 2022 season. Butcher also received a nod to the American Athletic Conference Preseason All-Conference Team and the Bobby Bragan National Collegiate Slugger Award Watch List. Leading the team in both home runs and walks last season, the return of the number one draft prospect in the AAC will bring some much-needed firepower to the USF lineup.

Daniel Cantu is another outfielder for the Bulls who has proven to be a consistent hitter. He was second on the team in walks and doubles, a staple in the offense, and one of the focal points of USF’s six returning players. Cantu will be playing both outfield and first base this season, showing off his versatility and five-tool skills.

Sophomore Jackson Mayo will look to improve on his Freshman campaign, slashing .265 and ranking third on the team in home runs and RBIs. Mayo was named to the Sunbelt Baseball League all-star team this past summer and even earned AAC player of the week honors on March 14th of last season. USF’s start-studded outfield is completed with Mayo and will count on him to deliver in big games just like he did last year.

Pitchers to Watch

Joey Volini is a left-handed pitcher out of the Bulls bullpen who is coming off an excellent freshman season. In 14 appearances, Volini threw 16 innings, giving up seven earned runs and striking out 15. He finished the year with a 2-0 record and 3.86 ERA, including a season-high three strikeouts in 2.2 IP against UCF. Limiting opponents to just a .206 batting average, Volini will be one of the go-to guys out of the bullpen for South Florida.

Transfer Nolan Hudi is becoming one of the Bull’s best relievers and will look to chop down left-handed hitters alongside Volini this upcoming season. Hudi was tied for the most appearances on the team during his first season with USF and went 3-2 with a 5.12 ERA. He logged 12 scoreless outings of his 22 appearances and had three separate games where he struck out three batters. If Hudi can improve upon his opponent’s .280 batting average, he can become a lethal lefty threat in the AAC.

Starting pitcher and transfer Ethan Brown is the third of the trio of lefties attempting to give USF a frightening bullpen. A transfer from Seminole State College, Brown pitched his first season with UCF last year and started nine games while appearing in 17. He held the opposition to a .254 batting average and struck out 45 hitters in 47.2 innings pitched. In his best start of the season against Cincinnati, Brown retired seven hitters on strikes, a new season-high. Brown ended his 2022 campaign on a high note and will continue the momentum going into the new year.

Preseason Countdown No. 8: Best Series of 2022

Maryland baseball had one of its best seasons ever as a program in 2022, including setting the single-season program wins record and shattering the home run record as well with 137.

Nearing the end of their season, Maryland was still a couple of games back of Rutgers for the lead spot in the Big Ten. The Terps were already having a fantastic season and achieved their 37th win of the season in the first game of the series, a new regular season record.

Rutgers was ranked 21st in the country at the time and looking near dominant as they stood alone atop the Big Ten.  New Jersey was set to be the home for their three-game series, with Maryland knowing they needed at least two of three for a chance to win the conference.

In a boat race, the Terps won the first game of the doubleheader, 16-8. After scoring five runs in the first two innings, Maryland never turned their backs and continued to add on runs, batting through the lineup six times. This was also Ryan Ramsey’s first start since his perfect game where he went six innings giving up only four hits and improving his record to 9-0.

The Scarlet Knights took the loss personally and clobbered the Terps in the second game of the series, hitting seven home runs. This loss put Maryland 2.5 games back from the conference lead and applied even more pressure to a team knowing they needed a win. Luckily, the Terps would have junior stud Nick Dean on the mound for the rubber match the following day.

Dean came out of the gates hot and continued to roll through Rutgers batters, ending the day with nine strikeouts on six innings pitched while giving up just two runs. Maryland had control over Rutgers the entire game, taking a 2-1 lead in the top of the third and never giving the Scarlet Knights a second chance.

Maryland played the windy environment well, hitting four solo bombs and a fifth home run that came in the ninth by outfielder Chris Alleyne. His three-run shot put the Scarlet Knights away and allowed the Terps to win 9-4.

The crucial road series wins put the Terps just 2.5 games from the 1st place spot in the Big Ten. Their remaining schedule saw Michigan, James Madison, and Purdue, all of whom they beat, ending the season on an eight-game win streak. Maryland finished their year at the top of the Big Ten, beating out Rutgers by one conference win. Had they taken two of the series games, the Terps may have found themselves in a much tougher situation heading into the Big Ten Tournament.

Preseason Countdown No. 9: Best Win of 2022

Maryland baseball was two wins away from reaching their first NCAA Super Regional since 2015 when they had to face off against Big East Champions UConn. Although falling to the Huskies in three games, the Terps still played their best baseball of the year on the night of June 5th.

UConn was a powerhouse during the 2022 season, achieving 50 wins by the end of the year. Maryland had similar success, finishing at the top of their conference and earning the number one seed for the Big 10 Tournament. Their first matchup between the two saw UConn come out on top 10-5, a loss that put the Terps in a do-or-die situation. Facing elimination, Maryland beat down Wake Forest the next morning, this time on the right side of a 10-5 finish. Just 24 hours after losing to UConn, Maryland was forced to meet them again, but now with pitcher Nick Robinson who was making just his second start of the season.

Shortstop Matt Shaw got Maryland off to a hot start in the bottom of the first with a single to center, scoring Nick Lorusso. The next at-bat Troy Schreffler Jr. homered to left center, giving the Terps an early 3-0 lead. Nobody was able to cross the plate for the next four innings until the bottom of the fifth when Lorusso hit a leadoff home run to left-center, giving the Terps a 4-0 lead.

Robinson pitched one of his best games of the season, throwing five scoreless innings to go along with four hits and a season-high five strikeouts. Having never pitched more than three innings and with only 16 appearances on the year, Robinson kept Maryland’s hopes alive and allowed the team to take a commanding lead halfway through the game.

UConn was unable to find a run through five innings but jumped on Maryland and tied the game with a four-run explosion in the top of the sixth. The Terps were forced to use their bullpen with Nigel Belgrave and Will Glock, each giving up two earned runs and combined for just one out. To finish out the sixth and complete the seventh, Maryland turned to freshman Michael Walsh, who allowed zero hits and just two baserunners in his appearance.

Already with one RBI on the day, Shaw got his second with a single through the second base hole and an errant throw by the Huskies’ first baseman that followed. The scoring didn’t stop there as Maxwell Costes singled to right field, scoring Shaw and giving Maryland a 6-4 lead. However, their lead was short-lived as UConn scored a pair of runs in the top of the eighth inning to tie it up.

Maryland’s depleted bullpen called for starter Ryan Ramsey to make his first relief appearance in which he shined, pitching two and a third and giving up just one hit while striking out three. To start the eleventh inning was freshman Andrew Johnson. Johnson did exactly what Maryland hoped for and pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a baserunner and striking out another.

With bases loaded in the bottom of the eleventh, Lorusso stepped up to the plate. Already accomplishing his 26th multi-hit game of the season, Lorusso was looking to walk off the Terps for their fifth time in the season. On a 1-2 count with one out, he singled off the right field wall to give Maryland their 48th win of the year. After using six pitchers and over four hours of baseball, the Terps won their most crucial game of the season and became one step closer to the Super Regional.