Louisiana Walks it Off for the Second Time in One Day

The theme of a walk-off fashion win stayed consistent in the second game of Saturday’s double header, as Louisiana won by a mere 2-1.

With Maryland leading the whole game, Louisiana came back to score on a safety squeeze and a throwing error to take game two of Saturday’s double header.

Before the ninth, however, the Terps dominated the game on the mound and at the plate over the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Trevor LaBonte controlled the game for the Terps, giving the third quality start by a Maryland pitcher in the three-game series. In his six innings of work, LaBonte held the Ragin’ Cajuns scoreless, only allowing one hit and striking out six.

With most of the bullpen being used up in the 14 inning ordeal earlier in the day, many of Maryland’s arm were used up for the final three innings of the night game.

Daniel O’Connor came in to relieve LaBonte in the seventh and delivered a scoreless inning to keep the Terps on top. Another freshman, Andrew Vail, came in for Maryland in the backend of the game. With the bases loaded, Vail issued a huge strikeout and a groundout to keep the Ragin’ Cajuns from scoring in the eighth.

With no runners on until the top of the fourth, Maryland was being shut down by the Louisiana starter for the second straight game. Then, the Terps got three straight guys on to shake things up against Austin Perrin, but failed to score.

In the next inning, Maryland got back to work without a hitch in their step. Sebastian Holte-Mancera, starting at catcher in the second game, led the inning off with a single. Tommy Gardiner, who had three hits in the game, followed with a double to make it second and third with no outs.

Freshman Kody Milton, starting at first base, laid down a safety squeeze to bring in Holte-Mancera, breaking the 0-0 tie with some small ball play.

With two heart-breaking losses in the same day, the Terps lose the series to the Ragin’ Cajuns two games to one. They fall to 6-4 on the year.

Terps Drop Heartbreaker in 14 Innings

In a back-and-forth battle that lasted until the 14th inning, Louisiana pulled away with a win, defeating Maryland 4-3. Neither team budged for what seemed like an eternity, but in the end the Ragin’ Cajuns were able to play small ball to bring in the winning run.

Down by a run in the ninth, the Ragin Cajuns worked to get bases loaded against Maryland closer John Murphy. A wild pitch scored Bourgeois to tie it up at three, but the Terps’ reliever was able to get out of a jam to force extra innings.

However, extra inning dominance by the Ragin’ Cajuns was the opposite of the trend in the rest of the game.

Ragin’ Cajuns starter Dalton Horton pitched a perfect game into the sixth inning, sitting down 16 consecutive hitters to start his outing. Everything changed when second baseman Tommy Gardiner stepped up to the plate.

Gardiner, who was a late addition to the lineup after AJ Lee was scratched due to a leg injury, snuck one through the hole into the outfield, reaching base as Maryland’s first base runner.

Center fielder Chris Alleyne, batting in the nine-hole, followed Gardiner with a blast off the wall resulting in an RBI triple. The third outfielder, Caleb Walls, then used small ball to tie it up, putting down a safety squeeze that scored Alleyne.

With the momentum on their side, the Terps hit a pair of doubles in the next inning by Taylor Wright and Ben Cowles put Maryland in the lead, 3-2. The freshman Cowles delivered a clutch two out hit that finally knocked Horton out of the game after 6.2 innings.

Zach Thompson took the mound for the Terps, and after a shaky second inning, dominated Louisiana. In 6.2 innings of work, the righty fanned five hitters, while conceding five hits and two runs.

Mark DiLuia came in for Thompson picked up right where there starter led off. The sophomore stranded a runner at third in the seventh and then picked up all three outs in the eighth, not giving up a hit in the process.

Seven different pitchers came out of the bullpen for Maryland, hurting its chances to back up the starters in the next game on Saturday night.

Maryland Takes Game One Against Louisiana for Sixth Straight Win

In what seemed like a pitcher’s duel after the first half of the game, Maryland’s offense abruptly ended the trend in the fifth inning, resulting in a 4-2 win for the Terps.

Louisiana ace Gunner Leger, an All-American, held the Terps to two hits through four innings, racking up six strikeouts in the process. A single into left field by Chris Alleyne started a hit parade for Maryland in the top of the fifth, however. Maryland’s center fielder reached base in all four of his at-bats in the game.

Right fielder Randy Bednar then shot a ground-rule double to dead center to drive in Maryland’s first run of the night. In a long at-bat, the sophomore fouled off numerous pitches in order to get one he liked, and he delivered in a big way. Bednar now has a hit in all eight games played this season, the only Terp with that accolade.

“He absolutely hit a missile to center.” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “That really got us breathing.”

Taylor Wright and Justin Vought followed with an RBI a piece to increase Maryland’s lead to 3-1. This offensive explosion ended Leger’s night early after a dominant start.

The Terps added another insurance run in the next inning on Louisiana’s third error of the night. Boos from the crowd roared in after the throw got past the first baseman Lahare.

On the other side of the ball, Maryland ace Hunter Parsons continued to control the ball against the Ragin’ Cajuns. In his last start against Maine, the righty went eight scoreless innings, and showed no signs of slowing down in Louisiana. In seven innings of work, Parsons struck out six and let up five hits and a run. The senior won the pitching battle on Friday night, outlasting his counterpart by a large margin.

“We grow everyday.” Parsons said. “If you only grow on game days then there’s gonna be parts that you’re missing, but this teams goes out to practice and we go to compete everyday.”

Nick Turnbull, Maryland’s go to reliever this season, came in to stop the bleeding on a potential comeback in the eighth. With the bases loaded, the junior forced a pop-up to shallow center to end the inning.

John Murphy came in for the ninth and fanned three batters to earn his fourth save of the year. This matches his total from last season in only his fifth appearance of his 2019 campaign.

“The strength of our bullpen is the army of guys,” Vaughn said.

The long outing by Parsons saves the bullpen arms for the Terps as they compete in a double-header against Louisiana on Saturday. The diverse staff proves that Maryland can win no matter who takes the mound. In the last win, nine arms beat VCU in what was a bullpen heavy night.

“It’s huge getting Hunter deep into the game.” Vaughn said. “I told Glock and I told Vail they got to be ready because I’m going to them in the exact same situation tomorrow.”

With the victory, the Terps are now winners of six straight. In a quick turnaround, the Terps face the Ragin’ Cajuns twice on Saturday, the first of which begins at 2 p.m.

Series Preview: Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns

Maryland-away-Louisiana

The Terps (5-2) are rolling to start the season, coming out victorious in each of their last five games. After sweeping Maine in a home series last weekend, Maryland visited VCU for a midweek matchup and beat the Rams for a second time this year.

Freshman phenom Maxwell Costes has introduced himself into the Maryland lineup with force. Taking home Big Ten Freshman and Player of the Week after his performance in the Maine series, the Terps’ designated hitter delivered the biggest hit in the team’s win against VCU.

With the game tied in the seventh inning, Costes stepped up to the plate with runners on. Earlier in the game, Maryland had failed to drive players in, stranding seven to that point. The freshman put bat on ball and drove in third baseman Taylor Wright for a late-inning lead.

Sophomore outfielder Randy Bednar secured another multi-hit game against VCU. He is the only Terp to get a hit in all seven games this season, with an average of .370 and seven RBIs. In the previous series against Maine, Bednar hit two out of the park, which is a team high.

“My approach at the plate is to keep things as simple as possible,” Bednar said. “Great hitters don’t think at all up at the plate, they just react and they just see the baseball. So that’s just what I try to do.”

Senior shortstop AJ Lee added a much-needed insurance run in the ninth, when he poked a ball through the hole, driving in the fourth run of the game for the Terps. Closer John Murphy came in to finish the job, after a bullpen-heavy day where nine different pitchers took the mound, and earned his third save of the year. Maryland took the game 4-3.

Maryland’s next opponent brings it down south, where the Terps face the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette in a three-game series. The two teams have never met before, so this  Belt Conference opponent is new opponent to the Terps.

“We haven’t really been in a hostile environment yet,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.  “We’re gonna see one on Friday night.”

Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (1-6, 0-0 Sun Belt)

Last Season

Louisiana Lafayette finished with a 34-25 record in 2018, which was its sixth consecutive season with a winning record. The Ragin’ Cajuns are no stranger to the NCAA postseason tournament, playing in the Super Regional in the 2014 and 2015 seasons. In their conference tournament last season, they lost in the second round, failing to advance to an NCAA Regional.

This Season

The Ragin’ Cajuns have come out to a bit of a rocky start this season. In its opening series against Texas, Louisiana Lafayette dropped two out of three games, then followed up with a midweek loss to Louisiana Tech in walk-off fashion. The last series played by the Cajuns was last weekend, where they got swept in a road battle against Sam Houston State. That makes it four straight losses for the team, a polar opposite compared to Maryland’s five straight wins. 

Hitters to Watch

Louisiana Lafayette has heavily relied on the top of their order for most of the production this season. Second baseman Hunter Kasuls has dominated opposing pitchers in his time at the plate. With a team high .387 average on the year, the senior middle-infielder is doing damage from the two-hole. In the last series against Sam Houston State, Kasuls earned five hits in 13 at-bats.

The Ragin’ Cajuns power in the lineup comes from utility player Handsome Monica. The redshirt senior has been productive in the middle of the order, hiting two out of the park so far and also driven in six runs — both team highs. Monica is batting .300 at the dish this season, second-best behind Kasuls.

Relievers to Watch

The Cajuns have used a variety of arms out of the bullpen this season, with 13 different arms coming in the middle of games. Brock Batty has been one of the more effective relievers for the team this year. In 4.1 innings pitched, the second-year southpaw owns a 2.08 ERA. His best outing of the year came against Texas, where he threw three hitless innings and struck out four.

The go-to closer for Louisiana Lafayette is junior Austin Bradford. The righty has the only save on the team, coming from the win against Texas. In 1.2 innings of work, Bradford has yet to concede a run to opposing hitters.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Sr. RHP Hunter Parsons (1-0, 1.38 ERA) vs. R.Sr. LHP Gunner Leger (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

 RMZBYNJDDYBZPMM.20150924191225  1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.250px-Ragin_Cajuns_logo.svg.pngLeger_Gunner.jpg

After an uncharacteristic start on Opening Day, Parsons showed his usual signs of dominance in his outing against Maine. He threw eight scoreless innings with five strikeouts, and only gave up three hits in what was his first win of the season. The Terp ace leads all starters with a 1.38 ERA, a stat he cut in half after his last appearance.

Leger has been the ace on Louisiana Lafayette’s staff since he joined the team. In his junior campaign, he took home the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year. However, he did not pitch last year due to Tommy John surgery followed by leg surgery. In his first start against Texas on opening day, the southpaw tossed five scoreless innings. He was scratched from the lineup against Sam Houston State to rest his arm for Friday’s matchup against Maryland.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Saturday, 3:00 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Zach Thompson (1-1, 6.10 ERA) vs. Jr. LHP Dalton Horton (1-0, 0.82 ERA)

    Thompson082818_02  1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.250px-Ragin_Cajuns_logo.svg.pngHorton_Dalton.jpg

Thompson was another Maryland pitcher who benefited from the Maine series last weekend. After getting roughed up in his Division I debut against Coastal Carolina, the righty came back and tossed 6.2 innings with nine strikeouts. He went without walking anyone and let up two runs in the win.

Horton is another starter on the Cajun’s staff with an ERA under 1.00. In his first start, the Texas-Christian transfer picked up the only win of the season against Texas, where he tossed five innings and allowed only one run. His last start against Sam Houston State, the lefty threw six scoreless inning and only gave up two hits.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Sunday, 2:00 p.m. ET

Fr. RHP Trevor LaBonte (0-0, 2.84 ERA) vs. TBD

Labonte082818_021Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.250px-Ragin_Cajuns_logo.svg.png

LaBonte made his first-career start in the third game of the Maine series and shut the lineup down. In five innings, he allowed three hits and one run. The Black Bears came back late in the game to tie things up, thus throwing the freshman’s win out the window. On the year, LaBonte is holding to a .190 average in two appearances.

 

 

 

Costes and Lee Lead Terps to Fifth Straight Win

The newly named Big Ten Freshman and Player of the Week Maxwell Costes delivered a late-inning RBI single to give the Terps a lead that they never let go of.

In what was a slow moving game after an explosive start by Maryland, Costes broke the curse for the Terps in the seventh after they left seven consecutive runners on base to secure their fifth straight victory, beating VCU by a score of 4-3.

“He just gives us good at-bats.” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “That was a huge two out hit he had. Maxwell’s tough, man. He’s tough.”

Senior captain AJ Lee added to the late-game scoring with an RBI single of his own. With runners at the corners and two outs, the shortstop poked one through the hole to drive in Wright to give the Terps a two-run cushion in the ninth.

“He left one over the plate, [I] put a good swing on it and found a hole,” Lee said.

Sophomore Randy Bednar continued to mash the ball with a two-hit game, beginning in the first inning. After leadoff batter Caleb Walls singled, Bednar shot one to the warning track and jogged into second base with an RBI double. This marked the sixth time in seven games that Maryland scored in the opening frame.

After losing the lead, Taylor Wright delivered a sacrifice fly to bring in Chris Alleyne in the fifth.

Starting pitcher Drew Wilden made his season debut against VCU, yet only pitched for two innings in what was a bullpen heavy day. In his time on the bump, the southpaw recorded two strikeouts and conceded one hit and run. After missing last season due to injury, Wilden eased his way back into the starting rotation for Maryland, and with two innings under his belt, there is now more to come later in the year.

In his last batter faced, Wilden looked like he lost his hitter with a 3-0 count, but stormed back fast, getting the strike out to strand a runner on base.

“Drew’s gonna be a really good one.” Vaughn said. “I saw that guy a lot in high school, he’s a competitive kid. He threw his three pitches for strikes, and lefties that can do that are tough.”

Relievers came up big for Maryland in the game today, where eight different arms came out of the bullpen. In 1.2 innings of work, Mark DiLuia fanned three batters while only allowing one hit. Nick Turnbull pitched the same duration, not giving up a hit while on the mound.

“We got arms, we’re deep.” John Murphy said. “I think every single guy on our staff is a dude and when we can consistently send out guy after guy after guy it makes them uncomfortable over in that dugout.”

Murphy came in for Maryland in the ninth, and secured his third save of the year. After getting himself into a jam, the senior closer worked out of it with the game-winning run looming on first base.

“A win’s a win, it doesn’t have to be pretty.” Murphy said. “We got our fifth W in a row and that’s really all that matters.”

For the Rams, Paul Witt was the batter that Maryland pitchers could not contain. With both of VCU’s runs batted in, Witt kept his team in the game late but was unable to go the extra distance to secure a win.

In their first mid-week game of the season, the Terps started a winning pattern unlike that of last year. With a 5-8 record a season ago in games during the week, Maryland struggled when it faced opponents in one game opportunities. The win against VCU is the first of its kind this year.

Maryland is now 2-0 against VCU this season, with one more game remaining in College Park later in the season. The two teams faced off at the Brittain Resorts Invitational earlier in the month, where the Terps took the win 5-3.

The Terps continue their road trip this weekend as they take Louisiana Lafayette in a three-game series. The Ragin’ Cajuns, out of the Sunbelt Conference, sit at a record of 1-6 on the year.

 

Game Preview: VCU Rams

maryland-vcu

Coming off a three-game series sweep of Maine over the weekend, Maryland is now on a four-game winning streak. After a brief stay at home in College Park, the Terps are off again for a road trip to take on VCU — the first midweek game of the year. 

The two sides faced off in the first weekend of the season during the Brittain Resorts Invitational, where the Terps earned their first win of the season by defeating VCU, 5-3.

Several hitters in the Maryland lineup had a productive series against Maine. As head coach Rob Vaughn has begun to solidify his everyday lineup, familiar faces are beginning to heat up at the plate.

Designated hitter Maxwell Costes, the Big Ten freshman of the week, has proved his value in the heart of the lineup, blasting three doubles and six RBIs in the three-game set. 

Outfielder Randy Bednar continued to stay hot at the plate from the opening weekend, hitting two home runs against Maine and bringing his batting average to .348. Utility player Michael Pineiro also went deep on Sunday, his first as a Terp after not playing a season ago.

The Terps are seeing a familiar face in VCU when they play them Tuesday, an oddity at this point in the season. Bednar, who shined all weekend for Maryland, was a key factor in the win with the game-winning RBI hit. 

After a late comeback by VCU, Maryland’s bullpen held the Rams scoreless for five consecutive innings. Closer John Murphy made his season debut, securing a six-out save.

VCU Rams (4-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10)

Last Season

VCU finished with a record 34-23 in 2018, but it failed to make a late postseason push, posting only three runs in the A10 tournament and missing out on the NCAA tournament. When the Rams played Maryland twice last season, the road team won each contest.

This Season

The Rams sit at a record of 4-2 on the season, picking up a win in their last three. At the Brittain Resorts Invitational, VCU went 1-2, with one of the losses coming from Maryland. In their conference, the Rams were picked to finish second in the preseason poll. After the game on Tuesday, VCU and Maryland face off once more in College Park in April.

Hitters to Watch

The Rams have several players in their starting lineup hitting over the .300 mark. Junior Paul Witt has headlined the VCU team thus far, posting a .375 average with three doubles. Last season, Witt led the team with 61 hits and 43 RBIs, starting all 57 games for the Rams.

Zac Ching leads the team in at-bats with 29 and is hitting .345 at the plate. He has hit two out of the park and drove in 12 RBIs in six games of work. Ching started both games against Maryland last season, reaching base with a hit in both matchups.

Relievers to Watch

Senior Mac McCarty has been the backbone of the Rams bullpen so far this season. In three appearances, the righty has a 1.80 ERA and two saves. A season ago, McCarty had the third-most saves in the country with 16.

Another productive arm for the Rams has been Jack Alkire. Over six innings of work, Alkire has yet to give up a run. With a 2.50 ERA in 2018, Alkire has been a staple in the VCU bullpen for consecutive seasons. Hitters are averaging an abysmal .050 against him this spring.

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup 

Tuesday, 3:00 p.m. ET

TBA vs. TBA

   1Maryland_M_Bar_Primary_Athletic_Logo  vs.New_VCU_Wordmark_Logo

 

 

Preseason Countdown #3: Top 5 series of 2019

3days

It’s officially game week. Maryland baseball will take on Campbell on Friday to kick off the 2019 season — the second year under head coach Rob Vaughn.

Our countdown has now taken us through all four positional previews: the starting pitchers, the bullpen and the infield and the outfield. Now, let’s preview our top five series of the upcoming season.


5. Creighton University (March 22-24)logo_-creighton-university-bulejays-blue-jay-head-c

Location: Omaha, Neb. 

Maryland travels to the site of the College World Series when they battle Creighton in Omaha. The Bluejays, out of the Big East, have played in the state-of-the-art facility that is TD Ameritrade Park since 2011. A dream for any collegiate ball player is to play at this field, and the Terps get this opportunity in late March.

This is an irregular matchup on Maryland’s schedule, having not faced off against the Bluejays in over 20 years. This will be yet another test for the Terps against a team that had a 34-16 record but did not qualify for any postseason play. 

4. Stetson University (March 8-10) Stetson_Hatters_logo_(2018)

Location: DeLand, Fla. 

The Terps will have to fend off a redemption series when they travel down to the Sunshine State to battle it out in a three-game weekend series with Stetson. Maryland took two out of three a year ago against Stetson in College Park, but the Hatters lasted longer into the spring, making it to the NCAA Super Regionals. They also finished atop the Atlantic Sun conference last spring. This out-of-conference matchup is a key series for the Terps as they shape the beginning of their year.

A likely starter in the series will be Stetson’s Mitchell Senger. The junior southpaw was named to the Preseason All-American Team. He also earned a spot on the Golden Spikes Watch List, the top award in college baseball.

3. University of Minnesota (May 10-12) 1280px-Minnesota_Golden_Gophers_logo.svg

Location: Minneapolis, Mn. 

The Terps will face one of the best perennial teams in the Big Ten in a three-game series against Minnesota. Conference tournament champions last spring, the Golden Gophers made it to a Super Regional last season in what was a dominating year, finishing with a record of 44-15.

The weekend series will take place in Minneapolis in mid-May. It’ll be another late-season test for the Terps, who might be making a similar postseason push as last year at the time of this series. 

2. University of Michigan (May 3-5) 1280px-Michigan_Wolverines_logo.svg

Location: College Park, Md.

A showdown between two Big Ten teams will bring Erik Bakich back to his former home. The Michigan head coach is returning to College Park for only the second time since he left the position as head coach for the Terps in 2012. The Wolverines swept the Terps a season ago in Ann Arbor, winning the only two games that the teams squared off.

In 2017, when Bakich and the Wolverines came into College Park, the Terps took two of three from a ranked Michigan squad. It was a huge series for a Terps team that narrowly made the NCAA tournament that year.

With a 15-8 conference record a season ago, Michigan will be an immense challenge for the Terps when they begin to round out the regular season.

1. Eastern Carolina University (March 15-17) 200px-East_Carolina_Pirates_logo.svg

Location: College Park, Md.

The biggest series of the 2019 season is a mid-March showdown at home against Eastern Carolina University. Ranked No. 11 in the D1baseball preseason rankings coming off a 44-18 season, the Pirates are the premier team in the American Athletic Conference.

Last season, Maryland played a three-game set at East Carolina and were swept and outscored 26-4. The Pirates went on to host an NCAA Regional, but lost two of three games to end their season.

A name to watch for is Bryant Packard, a junior at ECU. He was named a preseason first team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. As an early-season out-of-conference series, this daunting task could turn into a rewarding experience if the Terps can pull off an upset against a ranked foe.