Maryland makes a statement in its first winning weekend of the season, mauls Michigan 17-7

After seven straight losses against Michigan to open his coaching career in College Park, Rob Vaughn got his first win against the Wolverines in style today at the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. Maryland’s offense was an uncontrollable monster in the middle innings as they scored 14 runs without response between the fourth and seventh frames to coast to a 17-7 win.

Chris Alleyne was a standout amid a sea of great individual Maryland performances. Bubba batted 4-for-5 and drove in five runs. Two of those five were the eventual game-winners off a two-RBI single he dropped into shallow right field, giving Maryland an 8-6 lead in the bottom of the fifth.

The Terps would bust the game wide open in the sixth as they scored seven runs and forced three pitching changes in the bottom of the frame. Maryland left 11 on base yesterday in a 6-5 defeat that was tough to swallow, so it was even sweeter for Vaughn that they exacted their revenge in such a convincing fashion today.

Maryland students were allowed to join the limited number of fans in the Bob for the first time in over a year and they were loud and proud throughout as Maryland put on a show and scored well into double digits.

The game started out as a battle between new blood and old guard on the bump as freshman RHP Jason Savacool took the mound against Michigan’s senior RHP Blake Beers. What Savacool lacks in experience to Beers, he made up for with pure speed and skill.

Maryland needed to have a smooth start on the mound, as Sean Fisher could not contain the Wolverines and was pulled after just 2 1/3 innings pitched. But that was simply not meant to be.

Jordon Rogers led-off for the Wolverines and battled out of a 1-2 count, fouling off three pitches with two strikes against him and eventually working a nine-pitch walk. It didn’t amount to anything but from the very first at-bat, Michigan made it clear they were going to battle at the plate and make life difficult on the mound for the freshman sensation Jason Savacool.

The difficulty level cranked up several notches in the second, as it turned into a frame to forget for Savacool. Jimmy Obertop would take a fastball for a ride over the right-field wall and Maryland’s early lead was erased immediately. That seemed to unsettle Savacool, as he started to struggle to find the strike zone. The Michigan dugout did their part to rattle the freshman, hooting and hollering with every ball call and check to the runners.

The bases quickly filled off the back of the homer and the Baldwinsville, NY native had his day end early. Savacool’s pitch count ballooned to over 60 within the second inning and he struggled to find the strike zone. He hit two batters with a pitch and then gave Ted Burton an easy 90-foot run to home plate with a wild pitch. After walking the leadoff batter in the top of his third, Sean Heine was the one favored to take his place.

It felt as though the game was getting away from Maryland in a hurry after just an inning and a half. But with two out in the bottom of the second, Tommy Gardiner crushed his second two-run home run of the series. He would score Benjamin Cowles and bring Maryland right back into the game at 4-3. Gardiner’s goner was a carbon copy of the one he hit in their second win over Northwestern Saturday, as he got it all the way over the batter’s eye in center field and onto the football practice fields beyond.

Christian Molfetta would respond in kind with a two-run jack that also cleared the catcher’s eye to restore the three-run lead and make it 6-3.

The back-and-forth battle early turned into a game of tactics as both coaching staffs chose to go to their bullpen nine times combined by the end of the sixth. Michigan had a slightly more active bullpen, changing their mound martial five different times with four of those switches occurring between the fifth and sixth frames.

It was for good reason, as Maryland’s offense exploded in the middle innings. Maryland got a solo shot out of Cowles in the fourth. In the fifth and sixth, they drove in four and seven runs respectively – and it was all catalyzed by a series of Wolverine errors.

No one could take command on the mound for Michigan, and the Wolverines unraveled as Junior LHP Jack White was the first to falter, firing a wild throw over to first trying to check Matthew Shaw. Shaw stole two bases and then scored as the first baseman, Jake Marti, took his eye off the ball on a slow-rolling grounder.

White’s replacement, RHP Isaiah Paige, picked up where White left off. Paige hit back-to-back batters, driving in the tying run at 6-6. Then, Alleyne looped his fly ball into shallow right, scoring Cowles and Ott, and the Terps took a lead they would never relinquish.

None of the mound moves Michigan made could stop Maryland after that point. The Terrapin batters faced eight different pitchers but could not be contained. Tucker Flint and Luke Shliger quickly doubled the lead to 10-6 with back-to-back RBI base hits. Bubba would get another RBI single, and Maxwell Costes and Shaw both smacked RBI doubles all within the bottom of the sixth and the margin ballooned to nine runs.

Bubba would rub salt in Wolverine wounds with his third RBI base hit in as many innings, sending a deep drive to center cannoning off the batter’s eye. Ultimately, it was a two-RBI triple that scored Cowles and Flint, and Maryland settled for a modest 17 runs.

Although Maryland had their own pitching problems to start, RHP Sean Heine and graduate LHP Tyler Blohm did well to see the Terps through the middle innings. Then reliever Sam Bello slammed the door on Michigan as he built off the confidence his offense exuded and was excellent to close out the afternoon. In 3 2/3 innings pitched, Bello allowed just one hit, a solo shot by Brandon Lawrence to give some consolation to the Wolverines in the top of the ninth.

Maryland moves to 9-10 and will hit the road next weekend for a series with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska. On the other hand, Michigan is now 13-6 and will head home to take on Ohio State after breaking even in this series.

Zimmerman’s solo shot in the ninth inning sinks Maryland, 6-5

Michigan’s leadoff hitter Jordon Rogers and LHP Jack White were having a little fun with a shadowboxing session in the pregame as they got ready for their second game of the day. But by the end, pinch hitter Danny Zimmerman would be the one to deliver the knockout punch with a solo home run in the top of the ninth as the No. 25 Wolverines clawed past Maryland, 6-5, on Easter Sunday to improve to 13-5.

Matthew Shaw and Randy Bednar both hit two-run bombs but Maryland missed too many opportunities. They left ten runners on base and came up short in a bid for their fourth straight come-from-behind win. The Terps came back from deficits of 4-2 and 5-4, but could not muster up a third equalizing effort in the final frame and are now 0-5 when Sean Fisher has taken the mound.

“We’ve kind of shown since day one that we can fight from behind,” the third baseman Shaw said. “We’re able to play from behind, we put together good at-bats.”

Aside from the power hitting on display, Maryland hung around with the help of its fielders. After hitting leadoff batter Jordon Rogers with a pitch, Fisher’s infield collected two grounders and turned a double play to get the veteran LHP out of the top of the first.

Then, in the second with two runners in scoring position, Benjamin Cowles made another key play in the field, scooping a grounder up. Rather than getting the force out at first, he honed in on Clark Elliott, who was heading for home. Cowles hummed in a throw to catcher Justin Vought to trap Elliott in a pickle and the Terps got the tag out, keeping Michigan off the board.

The Terps have been used to going behind 2-0 after one inning over the past two days. But this time, Matt Shaw sent a fastball opposite-field and over the wall in right centerfield for a two-run homer, scoring Costes, and Maryland was now the team taking the early 2-0 advantage. Shaw wants Maryland to be able to step on the gas more when they get ahead like this going forward.

“I honestly just want to see us fight better when we’re ahead,” Shaw said. “I hope that we start to have some of those games where we get up big and it keeps getting bigger.”

Despite the help of his defenders, Fisher couldn’t get settled and Maryland would come undone in the top of the third. After loading the bases with a seven-pitch walk to Griffin Mazur, Rob Vaughn replaced the senior with sophomore RHP Connor Staine.

Staine was put in a tough spot and Jimmy Obertop pounced, cranking a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for a grand slam. Mazur, Rogers, and Christian Molfetta would all score and in an instant, Michigan flipped a two-run deficit into a two-run lead of 4-2. Staine couldn’t take command of the mound at first either as the bases loaded up again with two outs. But Bubba Alleyne caught a fly ball in deep center field to get Maryland out of the inning.

Michigan struggled to plate runners as well throughout the course of the day. The Wolverines had 8 hits in game one against Northwestern but couldn’t get those runners home on many occasions, falling 4-1. Michigan continued to falter against the Terrapins in that department in spite of the Obertop slam, leaving nine on base.

But Maryland’s difficulty getting around the diamond superseded that of their opposition as they would strand two runners on base for three innings a row – between the third and fifth.

However, before Michigan got out of the bottom of that fifth inning, Bednar would bomb a fastball just over the wall in left centerfield for Maryland’s second two-run shot of the day.

Michigan starting pitcher Cameron Weston got the nod over projected starter Jacob Denner, as Denner pitched 3.2 innings and gave up six hits in game one against the Wildcats. Weston notched four strikeouts through four innings pitched but also gave up four runs on those two homers. Once Bednar tied the game at four, Michigan would turn to their bullpen and favor the graduate student Joe Pace.

From then on, the bullpen would stay busy all afternoon long. Pace had a good performance but was pulled after 2.1 IP, and his replacement, junior RHP Will Proctor, would not even last a full inning before getting pulled himself. Michigan settled on fellow junior RHP Willie Weiss to close out the affair.

Maryland’s bullpen got a huge boost from Staine, who settled in nicely after getting out of that costly third inning. Staine stayed in for 5.2 innings, struck out five and held to Michigan to two earned runs. He would eventually hand the ball off to David Falco, who earned his second appearance in relief this weekend, for the final inning.

Unfortunately, the sailing was not as smooth for Falco this afternoon as it was against Northwestern on Friday. With two down in the top of the ninth, the pinch hitter Zimmerman would deliver the decisive blow and Falco fell to 1-1 on the season. On the other hand, Weiss picked up his third win in this campaign for the Wolverines.

“[Staine] threw the ball awesome,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “Obviously as soon as that ball goes out of the yard, you’re like, ‘Man, I wish I would’ve left him in,” you know? But the bottom line is I trust Dave 1,000 times out of 1,000.”

The Terps drop to 8-10 and will seek revenge tomorrow as they rematch with the Wolverines to close out pod play. If Maryland pulls it off, it will be their first winning weekend of the season. First pitch is currently scheduled for 3 p.m.

Terps best Northwestern in back-and-forth battle, 8-4

The weather warmed up a bit for the continuation of pod play Saturday and so did Maryland’s offense as they knocked off Northwestern for the second time in two days, 8-4. The Terps won their third straight in a topsy-turvy matchup, as they again looked comfortable playing from behind at the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

The middle innings made all the difference for the Terps as they outscored the Wildcats 5-2. Maryland trailed at 2-0 and 4-3, but they eventually retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth through a two-RBI single by Maxwell Costes and did not look back.

Costes continued to be productive for the Maryland offense all day, as he went four-for-five from the plate and drove in four runs overall. But the bottom of the order did some business too. Tommy Gardiner, who bats ninth in the lineup, played a pivotal part for the Terps as he went two-for-three with three RBIs.

The Northwestern Wildcats (9-7) popped in their purple jerseys and their hitting power was on display with three homers accounting for all four of their runs. It was another hot hitting start for the Wildcats, as they would take the lead in the top of the first on a two-run shot torched over the right-field wall by Michael Trautwein.

In the early innings, this game had an eerily similar feel to yesterday’s in that Northwestern took the early lead but could not build on their strong start for a while and Maryland would settle in nicely from a defensive perspective.

Junior RHP Nick Dean made his first appearance since coming down with mono, but there was no sign of that affecting his play. Bar the couple of homers he conceded, Dean was exceptional at finding the zone and getting ahead in the count. He would finish with five strikeouts and five hits allowed in five innings pitched.

Offensively, it was better for Maryland as they got some guys on base. But in the first few innings, they couldn’t finish the job and bring those runners home. The Terps halved their deficit through an RBI double from Matt Shaw, scoring Bednar. But Shliger would ground out and strand two runners in scoring position. Maryland ultimately left five runners on base through three innings.

That would change in a hurry and Maryland’s offensive execution would come, in part, from an unlikely source. In the bottom of the fourth, Tommy Gardiner hammered a two-run homer right back where it came from – all the way over the batter’s eye in center field – to score Flint and give the Terps their first lead of the day. After a pair of solo shots by Northwestern put Maryland behind again, Gardiner would be back for more. With two on and one out in the bottom of the sixth, the senior out of Mount Laurel, NJ sent Benjamin Cowles home with an RBI single.

A few batters later, Maryland had the lead as Costes drove in Alleyne and Vought with a base hit into left field to make it 6-4. In the bottom of the eighth, Costes went opposite field to double his RBI tally, dropping a fly ball into shallow right that got Gardiner home and scored Bubba once more.

On the defensive side of things, Ryan Ramsey was excellent in relief, playing out the final four innings after stepping in for Dean. The sophomore lefty struck out six batters and only gave up one hit – a solo homer by Wildcats second baseman Vincent Bianchina.

The Terps closed out the ninth with a sensational double play from Matt Shaw, who caught a line drive from Kaplan and zipped it over to first to turn two. Fittingly, Ramsey would follow up that effort and finish the afternoon as he struck out pinch hitter Luke Tanner for Maryland’s final out.

Maryland improves to 8-9 and will be back in action at the Bob tomorrow. The Terps will be seeking a third win in as many days as they matchup against a ranked Michigan team at 3:30 p.m, following game two between the Wildcats and the Wolverines.

Terps’ bats get hot late, come from behind to top Northwestern 4-3 in series opener

It was a bright but blustery day at the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium as Maryland opened “College Park Pod” play against a Northwestern Wildcats team which came in wielding one of the best offenses in the country. Maxwell Costes separated himself from the rest of his teammates, knelt and said a prayer shortly before first pitch. Whether he was wishing for a win or not, his prayers were answered on the field.

Costes played very well on both sides of the ball – starting out two-for-two and making several standout plays in the field – and Maryland came from behind to stun Northwestern, 4-3, in game one of the twinbill series. Maryland trailed from the very beginning until the bottom of the seventh when a two-out, two-run double from Chris Alleyne scored Bobby Zmarzlak and Justin Vought, putting the game on level terms at three a piece. The breakthrough moment came an inning later, as Benjamin Cowles’ sac fly brought in Matthew Shaw from third for the winning run.

“They’re not afraid to come from behind, they’re not afraid to play behind,” head coach Rob Vaughn said of his Terps. “Obviously we want to play with the lead and step on it, but they don’t panic.”

On the mound, Sean Burke struggled to get going against that high-powered Northwestern offense, walking three batters in the top of the first and sending the opening run home. A fielding error by Matthew Shaw at third on a driven ground ball would score Leo Kaplan and quickly double the Wildcats lead.

Burke racked up five strikeouts through two innings, but also gave up a solo shot to Shawn Goosenberg and the Terps were behind 3-0.

Over time, the defense would grow into the affair and the Terps made some clutch defensive plays to stay in the contest. In the third, a really nice hustle play from Burke to grab an infield fly behind the plate was followed by first baseman Costes snagging a line drive with a diving effort. After four defensive innings, Maryland had only given up two hits.

Offensively, Maryland was nullified by starting pitcher Mike Doherty and the Northwestern fielders for long stretches. But those fielding efforts for Maryland would parlay into some offensive success, as the bats started to come alive in the bottom of the fourth. Costes hit one right back where it came from, skipping past the shortstop and second baseman into centerfield and scoring Randy Bednar to get one back.

“[Coach Vaughn] calls our offense ‘the pack’,” Cowles said. “In a wolfpack, no one person is solely doing anything. If somebody is struggling one day, then somebody else is going to pick them up. I guess today was my day to pick up the offense.”

Burke would leave the game after five innings pitched. Despite the early flurry, he got stronger in his performance as he saw the Northwestern lineup for a second and third time. He would finish with eight strikeouts and just three hits allowed, turning over his duties to Medford, NJ native and junior RHP Sean Heine.

Heine, in conjunction with fellow relievers David Falco and Sam Bello, stranded several batters in key situations to keep Northwestern off the scoreboard in the in later innings.

“I was just trying to keep the game close,” Heine said. “Just keep putting up zeroes and let our offense do the work.”

Maryland would ultimately put in that work, as their best chance to get back into the game came off the back of the seventh inning stretch and they capitalized. After a clean start to the game, the Northwestern fielders got sloppy with short stop Shawn Goosenberg unable to collect a groundball from Vought. Two batters later, left fielder Stephen Hrustich dropped that high fly ball hit deep into left field by Chris Alleyne.

Maryland rode the momentum into the eighth inning when Doherty eventually exited the mound, getting runners on the corners with one out before Benjamin Cowles clobbered the sac fly deep into right centerfield in the eighth. The rest was history.

The Terps will look to repeat this result tomorrow (without trailing for the duration again, perhaps) in a midday tilt against the Wildcats. First pitch is scheduled for noon, to be followed by game one between Northwestern and Michigan.

Series Preview: Northwestern Wildcats and No. 25 Michigan Wolverines

The Terrapins (6-9) are back in action this weekend and will look to carry their momentum from the closing game in Columbus into the “College Park Pod.” Maryland welcomes both Northwestern (9-5) and No. 25 Michigan (11-4) to the Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium for another two-game, two-team series spanning from Friday to Monday.

Maryland’s road trip to Ohio did not go according to plan, as it dropped three straight before ending on a high note Monday. The Terps lost their opening pair of games against the Hawkeyes, 6-4 and 11-2 respectively, and were bested by the hosting Buckeyes 5-4. But they found their offensive form and snapped the three-game losing streak by beating Ohio State in the rematch, 9-3, with freshman RHP Jason Savacool securing a fourth straight win to open the season. Maryland also notched nine steals, their most in a single game since 2013.

The Terrapins will play a game per day for the next four days. Their first pair will be against the Northwestern Wildcats, starting on Friday at 4 p.m. and quickly followed by game two on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Northwestern and Michigan will then square off against one another in their own two-game series before the Terps tangle with a ranked Wolverines team for games three and four. Game three is tentatively set for 3:30 p.m. Sunday, with the series concluding at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Maryland will need the bats to come alive this weekend as they’re pitted against two red-hot offensive teams. Northwestern posted a whopping 36 runs in their three-game slugfest of a series on the road against Illinois. The Wildcats’ bats have been exceptionally hot, with the team compiling a .305 batting average through 14 games. That prolific pace was on display against the Fighting Illini, as Northwestern brought in eight runs in a losing effort to open the series before they won game two, 16-14, and game three, 12-5.

Meanwhile, Michigan racked up an equally impressive 25 in their last two games versus Penn State after being shutout in game one. The Wolverines have scored 8.7 runs per game on average in their 11 wins and have made a habit of erasing deficits in a hurry. In game one against the Nittany Lions, Michigan tallied 14 unanswered runs after trailing 4-3. Later that day, they dug out of a 6-1 hole with seven unanswered runs for another comeback win. Earlier in the season, they stunned in-state rivals Michigan State with the most remarkable rally of all, knocking in eight runs in the ninth inning to win 8-7.

Maryland will be depending on Savacool and the pitching staff to contain the opposition’s offense. The Terps will look to a few different outlets for offense of its own. Benjamin Cowles has been a core part of Maryland’s slugging success, hitting .400 with 23 runs batted in, both team-highs by far. He tacked on two RBIs in the win over Ohio State Monday, going two-for-three from the plate. Randy Bednar is on a roll, getting a hit in each game last weekend and plating a pair of runners on Monday as well.

Northwestern Wildcats (9-5)

Last Season

Spencer Allen’s squad went a modest 6-7 before COVID-19 shut down the sporting world. The 2020 Wildcats managed a .239/.327/.340 slash line and a 3.63 ERA. But…

This Season

Northwestern has shown marked improvement from a year ago. The Wildcats are at just about the same point in the season in terms of games played and their slash line has jumped to .304/.387/.554. However, the pitching staff has some room for improvement with the ERA ballooning to 5.45. Northwestern enters the weekend off the back of a 2-1 series win over Illinois and has won seven of its last 10.

Hitters to Watch

There are a multitude of dangerous batters in this Northwestern lineup, with five Wildcats averaging well over .300. But two juniors stand out for their excellent efficiency when stepping into the batter’s box. Anthony Calarco is hitting .441, including five homers and and a team-high 50 total bases. On the other hand, Shawn Goosenberg clobbered two two-run homeruns and a two-RBI double in their last outing, and sits on a .364 BA for the season.

Pitchers to Watch

The Wildcat bullpen hasn’t impressed so far this season, with a 5.45 team ERA costing Northwestern in a couple back-and-forth losses. They will turn to junior Mike Doherty in game one, who boasts a 3.20 ERA. But the late-inning options are where Northwestern’s issues are really exacerbated. Sophomore RHP Reed Smith could provide assistance in that area, holding a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 IP which is a team-best among pitchers who have thrown for more than one inning.

No. 25 Michigan (11-4)

Last Season

Like Northwestern, Michigan had a middling 2020 season, accumulating a record of 8-7 before it met an untimely end. The highlight of the season came on opening day, as they upended then-No. 2 Vanderbilt, 4-3. The Wolverines’ slash line sat at .249/.355/.344 and the pitchers collectively threw for a respectable 4.05 ERA.

This Season

And like Northwestern, Michigan has been much better to this point in the season, both offensively and defensively. The slash line has risen to .260/.375/.426 with the pitching staff shaving the ERA down by nearly a run to 3.059.

Hitters to Watch

The Wolverines wield a wealth of offensive weapons, with fifth-year players Christian Molfetta and Benjamin Sems leading the way. The two upperclassmen both bat over .300 and have a combined 21 RBIs. Sophomore Jimmy Obertop leads the team with 14 RBIs, and keep an eye out for redshirt sophomore Jordon Rogers as well. In his first collegiate starts last weekend against Penn State, Rogers had four hits and plated five runs, including a game-winner.

Pitchers to Watch

Michigan has shown much improvement in their pitching game this season. Steve Hajjar, Cameron Weston and Jacob Denner have combined for a 5-1 record and ERAs of 2.66, 3.20, and 4.32, respectively. Joe Pace has also been stellar, with no earned runs allowed in 7.1 innings pitched. The Maryland offense will likely find this bullpen more difficult to go against, but have an opportunity to start strong Monday against struggling RHP Blake Beers (6.75 ERA).

Starting Pitching Matchups

Friday vs. Northwestern – RHP Sean Burke (1-1, 5.06 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Doherty (1-0, 3.20 ERA)


Burke pulled out one of his best starts in Columbus against Iowa. The redshirt sophomore allowed just one earned run in six innings, striking out 11, but the bullpen would let four runs in and the Terps dropped the game.

The Massachusetts native Mike Doherty will also feel aggrieved with his last performance ending in a loss. Doherty threw for six innings and had the Wildcats in pole position up 5-4 on Illinois. Just after being pulled, the Illini ripped off an eight-run seventh en route to a 12-8 loss for Northwestern.

Saturday vs. Northwestern – RHP Nick Dean (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. RHP Jack Dyke (1-0, 8.59 ERA)


Dean had his first start come to an abrupt end, yanked from the mound in the bottom of the fourth. This happened despite only conceding one run in the first three innings, and Maryland would go on to get thumped 11-2.

Conversely, Dyke let in a run in just two-thirds of an inning. But he still ended up with his first win of the season as the sophomore from San Francisco helped close out a 16-14 slugfest in Urbana-Champaign.

Sunday vs. Michigan – RHP Connor Staine (0-2, 7.17 ERA vs. LHP Jacob Denner (1-0, 4.32 ERA)


Connor Staine has struggled to start this season and is still seeking his first win. The sophomore out of Clinton, NJ stepped in for Nick Dean against the Hawkeyes and ran into a buzzsaw, shipping six runs in 5.1 IP.

Staine will go up against a tough customer in Jacob Denner, another sophomore and Jersey native who enters the weekend off the back of shutting down Penn State through 5 IP, allowing just one run on three hits.

Monday vs. Michigan – RHP Jason Savacool (4-0, 2.83 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Beers (0-1, 6.75 ERA)


Freshman sensation Jason Savacool will close out the twinbill series again Monday afternoon for the Terps. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week selection kept his unbeaten streak alive with the 9-3 win over Ohio State, in which he pitched five innings and rung up five strikeouts.

Savacool will have a leg up on his counterpart on the mound, Blake Beers. Beers has languished this season, most recently posting five runs allowed in 2.2 IP.