A special 2021 season comes to end for the Terps as they fall to East Carolina

Maryland knew to beat a baseball powerhouse like East Carolina in front of the hostile home crowd in Greenville they had to get off to a great start and take advantage of their scoring chances with runners on base early. Neither happened as they never led and left eleven runners on base. As a result, Maryland’s season came to an end Sunday night in an 9-6 loss as East Carolina advanced to the Super Regionals.

The big blow came in the top of the eighth after Maryland failed to turn a double play that would have gotten them out of the inning still down 5-4. Costes and Shaw couldn’t turn it fast enough allowing a runner to score to make it 6-4. 

The next batter Zach Agnos delivered the big blow of the game: a double into the gap that scored two runs and broke the game open 8-4. Down to its last six outs, Maryland did not give up and fought to the end. Maxwell Costes displayed that mindset with a two-run homer — his third of the regional — to cut the deficit to 8-6 hoping for some late-inning magic.

But after East Carolina added another insurance run in the ninth inning, Maryland was unable to rally like they did earlier Sunday, and as a result, the clock had literally struck past midnight as its road to Omaha came to an end.

“I thought the guys, laid it on the line and I thought they absolutely left the tank completely empty,” coach Rob Vaughn said.  

After a rain delay delayed the start of the game. Connor Staine was given the ball to start off and East Carolina jumped on him from the start, getting back-to-back doubles from Thomas Francisco and Josh Moylan to go up 1-0, and an Alec Makarewicz single made it 2-0 before Maryland could grab a bat. 

Matt Shaw wasn’t afraid of the moment and got one of the runs back quickly in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff home run to left field. 

“As leadoff hitter, I’m kind of just trying to see some pitchers and every time I go up to bat I’m just trying to hit the ball hard,” Shaw said.

After a shaky first, the hope was Staine could settle in and pitch a clean second inning for the Terps. He didn’t and was pulled with two outs in the second inning for Sam Bello after giving up a solo home run to Seth Caddell to make it 3-1. 

“I just didn’t [Staine] wasn’t too sharp because he hasn’t been on the mound, a lot in the last couple of weeks,” Vaughn said.

East Carolina would add another run in the third inning with a sacrifice fly by Agnos before Shaw would hit his second home run of the game to cut the deficit to 4-2 in the bottom half of the inning. 

When Bello loaded the bases in the fourth inning, Sean Fisher was summoned from the bullpen and was wild to start his outing, hitting two batters in a row to force in another run. That made the score 5-2, but Fisher got out of the inning without any more damage to keep Maryland within striking distance.

Maryland definitely had its chances with runners on base to do some damage early in the game. The Terps had two runners on in the second inning, but Tucker Flint grounded out to end the inning. They were in the same scenario in the third after Shaw’s home run, but Bobby Zmarzlak struck out and Justin Vought popped out to the shortstop to end Maryland’s hope of a rally.

In the fourth inning, Maryland had runners on second and first with its two best hitters up. Shaw this time struck out, and a Ben Cowles flyout was a couple of feet away from tying the game but died at the warning track. 

“We had some opportunities early, and just couldn’t quite get the big hit,” Vaughn said.

Maryland finally broke through in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, a rocket off of Troy Schreffler’s bat deflected off Ryder Giles’ glove at shortstop into left field and allowed two runs to score, cutting East Carolina’s lead to 5-4. Maryland couldn’t find that important tying run before East Carolina added those insurance runs late to extend their season for another game.

Even with the heartbreaking loss, it was a successful and historic season for Maryland as it finished with a 30-18 record and finishing second in the Big Ten despite the injuries and the adversity they faced all season.

“You just can’t say enough about this group, [with] the adversity that these guys have been through and the challenges that have been put in front of them,” Vaughn said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of a team that’s done what this team’s done.”

Vought walks it off, keeps Maryland alive in Greenville Regional

Maryland was 1-13 coming into Sunday when trailing after seven innings. With their season on the line, the Terps found themselves in that exact same situation, down 1-0 going in the bottom of the eighth, but came back and walked it off 2-1 over Charlotte to keep their season alive and advance to the Greenville Regional Final later Sunday against East Carolina. 

Needing someone to step up down 1-0 in the eighth inning, Troy Scheffler Jr. did just that with a single, and he advanced to second on a wild pitch. Tucker Flint laid down a bunt to advance Schreffler to third base and reached himself on a throwing error. The freshman Matt Shaw hit into a productive double play that tied the game and gave Maryland new life on a season that has been full of adversity.

In the ninth inning, Charlotte had runners on first and second base against Elliot Zoellner when Maryland’s defense showed up when it needed it most for their pitcher. Justin Vought threw out the lead runner at second on a pickoff and Shaw saved the potential go-ahead run from scoring on a lineout to get out of the inning.

“[Dragum] caught that last ball pretty good but we had Shaw positioned in a good spot and he made a play,” coach Rob Vaughn said.

Facing Friday night starter Andrew Lindsey, Randy Bednar led off with a single and advanced to third on Maxwell Costes’s own single and Maryland had the winning run on third with no outs. A Bobby Zmarzlak infield single loaded the bases up for Vought and the senior didn’t wait to deliver the big moment with a walk-off single to right field to complete the comeback.

“Postseason baseball is about guys just stepping up and getting it done,” Vaughn said.

The Terps wouldn’t have been in this situation to come back if it wasn’t for Ryan Ramsey’s gem in the first collegiate start of his career.

“[Ramsey] has not started a game for us this year,” Vaughn said. “He goes out and goes 100 pitches and is absolutely flawless, he’s the story of this game.”

Ramsey went eight innings and gave up three hits where his only mistake on the day came in the fourth inning when Conference-USA Player of the Year Austin Knight hit a home run to left field to give the 49ers an early 1-0 lead that looked like for a while it would stick. 

Ramsey only needed seven pitches to get through the first inning and got out of a two-runner jam in the second inning. With defense being a theme of the day, Ramsey picked off a runner leaning off of first base in the third inning to keep the game scoreless. 

With his offense struggling to get hits and get on base already down 1-0, Ramsey kept the Terps in the game. In the sixth inning, Carson Johnson hit a leadoff double, but Ramsey buckled down and retired the next three batters to get out of the jam. 

In the next inning, Ramsey found himself in a similar spot with a runner on second base and one out, but once again Ramsey got himself out of the jam to give his team a chance.

Running out of steam in the eighth inning, Ramsey walked the leadoff batter, Todd Elwood, on four pitches. Ramsey emptied the tank and retired the next three batters to finish off an outing the Terps needed to keep their season alive.

“Got to keep the same mentality, the whole game in just keep on throwing pitches and getting outs,” Ramsey said. “I trust those guys to pull away and get some runs, and we did that in last inning.”

For the first seven innings, Maryland’s offense was held in check by starting pitcher Matt Brooks. After combining for 26 runs in the first two days of the Greenville Regional the Maryland offense had no answer for Brooks.

“Offensively, I thought, we took some tired swings a little bit,” Vaughn said.

The Terps’ only baserunner through the first three innings was a Bednar Jr. walk in the first inning as Brooks was cruising the first time through the order. 

It wasn’t till the fourth inning where Maryland recorded its first hit of the ballgame on a Ben Cowles single, and after Zmarzlak singled, Cowles stood in scoring position at second base. That rally was quickly put to an end as Brooks got Vought swinging to end the inning. 

In the fifth inning with one out, Flint laid down a bunt single down the third baseline. Rounding second base Schreffler Jr. saw a chance to advance to third base with no one covering the bag. But a heads-up play by catcher Aaron McKeithan to sprint over to third base and just tag out Scheffler Jr. ended Maryland’s scoring chance. 

Adversity wasn’t new to this Maryland squad as it answered the call all year. They needed to answer the call one more time when they needed to in the eighth and ninth inning. Their success paid off, as they now advance to the regional final against East Carolina where they’ll need to win to force a winner-take-all game for a Super Regionals berth Monday.

“We’re excited to get back to the hotel get off our feet for a minute and then line up and rock and roll at six o’clock tonight,” Vaughn said.

Season-high seven home runs fuel Terps offensive explosion, keep tourney hopes alive

Maryland hit a season-high seven home runs in a 16-0 blowout win over Norfolk State to advance in the losers bracket of the Greenville Regional and keep the Terps’ tournament hopes alive for another day.

Coach Rob Vaughn wanted his team to get off to a great start Saturday in the first inning and Bobby Zmarzlak did that, getting the party started with a three-run homer off MEAC Player of the Year Danny Hosley to give Maryland an early 3-0 lead.

Maxwell Costes was next up in the third inning, as his own three-run homer hit off the batters eye in center field for his second of the regional and made it 6-0.

“I really liked the way [Costes] has swung the bat,” Vaughn said. “He has the ability to put a team on his back and in the postseason, that’s what we’re gonna need from him.

Justin Vought added a RBI single and Troy Scheffler Jr.’s safety squeeze capped off a five-run inning for the Terps to go up 8-0. 

The home runs kept coming in the fourth inning, as Ben Cowles hit his 18th home run of the season, a two-run homer to left-center field to make it 10-0. Randy Bednar Jr. followed Cowles’ lead and went back-to-back with his second home run of the regional and made it 11-0. 

Later in the inning, Vought hit a two-run homer — his ninth home run of the season — to make it 13-0. For the second time in the inning, Maryland would go back-to-back as Schreffler Jr. hit his first home run of the season to make it 14-0 and tying their most home runs hit on the season. 

In the sixth inning, Zmarzlak, who finished the day 4-5 and a triple shy of the cycle, capped off the offensive firepower for the Terps with his second home run of the day to make it 15-0.

After adding another run, Maryland has come into Greenville and totaled 26 runs in two days of regional action all without leadoff hitter and Second Team All-Big Ten Chris Alleyne who did not play after leaving Friday with an injury. 

But unlike Friday, where they were outslugged by Charlotte, Maryland’s pitching staff put on a masterclass performance and pitched a shutout behind another quality outing by Sean Burke.

A moment that highlighted Burke’s strong performance was in the second inning when he escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam with two strikeouts of Norfolk State’s best hitters in Dionte Brown and Alsander Womack.

Zach Thompson picked up where Burke left off with three shutout innings of his own out of the bullpen.

“Just a really efficient job by our pitchers [today],” Vaughn said.

Maryland’s road to the Super Regionals still presents a challenge, as it needs to pick up a win against the loser of East Carolina-Charlotte Sunday at noon.

“Once you get in this side of the bracket it’s a long road to get your way back,” Vaughn said.

Regardless of who the Terps will play, Saturday’s offensive eruption couldn’t have given them a more promising breath of fresh air as they live to see another day.

“The motto is just to play one more day with each other,” Zmarzlak said. “We don’t want this season to end.”

Maryland falls in high-scoring NCAA Tourney match with Charlotte

Maryland’s return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017 got off to a rough start in a 13-10 loss to Charlotte in the Greenville Regional Friday.

It was a back and forth game to start off the contest with a tie game 3-3 going into the bottom of the fourth inning. That’s when Charlotte blew the game open against Maryland starting pitching Jason Savacool. The bases were quickly loaded on a walk, a single and a bunt single that scored a run on an errant throw by Tommy Gardiner that made the score 4-3. Charlotte would add another run and load the bases once more chasing Savacool out of the game and forced coach Rob Vaughn to go to his bullpen and bring in David Falco to try and put out a fire facing the top of the 49ers lineup in a big spot in the game.

But the fire wasn’t put out by Falco as Charlotte’s offense made their impact on the game with a sac-fly that scored another run and two more RBI singles suddenly made the score 8-3 and put the Terps suddenly in an early hole that be hard to climb out of.

The game got off to a scary start for Maryland when Chris Alleyne took a foul ball to the head and had to leave the contest in the first at-bat of the game and was replaced by Tucker Flint a brutal early blow for the Terps. 

But Maxwell Costes gave Maryland its first lead and run of the NCAA Tournament in the second inning with a home run off of Andrew Lindsey to right field opened up the scoring and got the Maryland dugout fired up.

Charlotte answered right back and took the lead when Jack Dragum hit a two-run homer off of Savacool to make it 2-1. In the third inning, down 3-1, Maryland tied the game in the top of the fourth thanks to a Gardiner RBI single and a Troy Scheffler Jr. sac-bunt as both pitching staffs were struggling to contain these high powered offenses.

Now trailing by five runs Maryland loaded the bases in the top of the fifth without even putting a ball in play via three walks but could only muster up two runs on an RBI groundout by Costes and a wild pitch. 

But every time Maryland tried to get back into the game Charlotte answered any rally the Terps had. A three-run six-inning for Charlotte was highlighted by two long home runs by David McCabe and Will Butcher gave Charlotte a 12-5 lead. 

Maryland had one last rally in them in the seventh inning scoring four runs highlighted by a sac-fly by Randy Bednar and RBI singles by Costes and Gardiner to cut the lead to 12-9 and make things interesting. 

But again all game, Charlotte would answer any momentum Maryland had with their offense when McCabe hit his second home run of the game to make it 13-9 in the bottom half of the inning leaving the Terps frustrated.

Bednar would hit a home run in the top of the ninth to make it 13-10 to show signs of life that the group wouldn’t quit at this point in the season but it was too little too late for Maryland. Charlotte spoiled their welcome back party to the NCAA Tournament and now Maryland will play Norfolk State in an elimination game Saturday at 1:00 p.m. looking to continue their season for another day.

Hoosiers spoil Terps’ Senior Day, salvage a win in regular season finale

On an emotional day for many senior Terps — those who returned for their senior season following the 2020 season’s cancelation and the seniors of 2021 — the Indiana Hoosiers rained all over Maryland’s parade, salvaging a win after being victim to a doubleheader sweep Saturday.

What looked like a promising start for the Terps quickly turned into a bullpen implosion, as the Hoosiers scored all seven of its runs in the middle innings to claim a 7-3 win.

With Nick Dean day-to-day due to a wrist injury, Senior Sean Fisher took his spot as the Sunday starter and looked fiery in his first three frames. In what would be his final appearance at the Bob in his Terps career, Fisher fired three scoreless innings with two strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Maryland lineup kept up its trend of scoring early, getting on the board first with a solo bomb off the bat of Senior Randy Bednar. Chris Alleyne came around to add to Maryland’s early lead after back-to-back Hoosier errors allowed him to score from first base.

Fisher, and the proceeding outing of Zach Thompson, would keep Indiana at bay through the first four frames, but then the implosion began. Bullpen implosions had been hard to come by in the spectacular 18-3 stretch this Terps team entered this game amidst, but with the reliable arm of Dean absent, the bullpen was forced to take on some extra workload this afternoon.

Indiana would load the bases in the fifth after Thompson hit Jeremy Houston with a pitch, and a Drew Ashley sacrifice fly would quickly halve Maryland’s lead. In came Senior Tyler Blohm to douse the Hoosier rally, but Grant Richardson battled through a seven-pitch at-bat to tie the game with a RBI single that just rolled past Benjamin Cowles into left field.

With rain being a common theme of this weekend series, the Hoosiers let the runs pour in just an inning later, putting up a four-spot against the combined efforts of Blohm and Sean Heine.

Fucci came around an inning later to double his home run total for the day and give Indiana a commanding 7-2 lead.

Indiana’s pitching — reflecting Maryland’s “bullpenning” — was extremely hard to penetrate in its Sunday outing, and held the potent Terps lineup to two earned runs. John Modugno started the Hoosiers off with four innings of work to keep Indiana in the game long enough to spark its offensive rally.

Next came Nathan Stahl, who surrendered the game-tying home run to Maxwell Costes in game one Saturday. This time, he promptly threw three one-run innings and left the door open for Braden Scott to close out the final two innings.

The only ounce of a comeback Maryland could muster against the strong Hoosier bullpen was a two-out RBI double off the bat of Cowles, but the Terps ultimately fell to Indiana in the season finale.

Maryland now awaits the Selection Sunday show later this afternoon, where it stands in as a national tournament hopeful.

Terps secure seventh-straight series win, lock in on second-place with doubleheader sweep over Hoosiers

With a monsoon-like rainstorm wiping out any chance of Friday night’s game being played, the Terps were be forced to play a straight doubleheader Saturday afternoon. The rain didn’t entirely disperse Saturday as the Terps kicked off the final series of the season with a sweep of the doubleheader over the Indiana Hoosiers, winning game one, 4-3 and game two, 5-2.

Game one pitted two of the best starting pitchers in the conference against each other, with Freshman Jason Savacool matching up with Gabe Bierman. Savacool came into this start as a three-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, while Bierman owns the third-best ERA in the Big Ten (2.78).

The pitchers’ duel was as advertised as scoring was limited to just four runs between the two starters, and not surprisingly, only one of those runs was scored on a hit.

The Terps kicked off the scoring with Bobby Zmarzlak drawing a two-out walk with the bases loaded, but the Hoosiers didn’t wait too long before matching the score.

While Savacool did his job to keep Indiana scoring to a minimum, his one flaw was allowing the dreaded leadoff walk, which he did in back-to-back innings as his control seemed to drop off throughout his outing. The first walk came in the fourth inning, and the free pass came around to score off a sacrifice fly courtesy of Cole Barr.

Savacool’s struggles only got worse when seeing the Hoosiers lineup the third time around in, as the leadoff hitter Jeremy Houston served a pitch to deep left field for a double to lead off the sixth frame. A couple batters later and Grant Richardson would loop a single into center field to bring home Houston, giving Indiana its first lead of the day.

Indiana would extend its lead in the sixth as Savacool came undone, loading the bases thanks to a hit batter and a walk. The consequential, second sacrifice fly of the day would provide Indiana with some insurance as they jumped to a 3-1 lead.

As Savacool exited after six innings of work with his team trailing, it was still a positive outing for the freshman. He recorded his sixth quality start of the season and nearly matched his season-high in strikeouts with six on the afternoon.

David Falco entered from the bullpen to limit the Hoosiers to their three runs, and that’s just what he did with three scoreless frames.

But with the Maryland offense unable to come up with anything following the first-inning bases-loaded walk, the stellar pitching in relief would appear to be for naught — that is until the ninth inning.

After Bierman and the Hoosiers bullpen sent down 13 of Maryland’s last 14 batters prior to the ninth, Maxwell Costes would become game one’s hero, smashing a solo bomb to left-center field to tie the game at three runs and giving the Maryland offense life.

The Maryland bullpen continued to shove in extras, as Ryan Ramsey replaced Falco in the tenth frame and promptly retired the side.

While the offense was more than anemic for a majority of game one, the Terps would finish off the Hoosiers in a similar fashion to how they started them off.

After loading the bases on a walk and two hit batters, the Terps offensive MVP Benjamin Cowles stepped to the plate. Working the count full against Nathan Stahl, Cowles drew the bases-loaded walk to walk it off against Indiana, 4-3 — making it the third time the Terps have won in that fashion this season.

Game two presented yet another pitchers’ duel — this time between two 2021 MLB Draft hopefuls: Sean Burke and McCade Brown.

With both starters being ranked within the top-100 of MLB Pipeline’s Top 200 Draft Prospects list, it arguably should have set up for a more intense battle than game one’s pitchers’ duel. However, Brown’s rare struggle with command would put Indiana into an early hole.

Walking five batters in the first inning, Maryland stole an early 2-0 lead on Brown’s shaky command — a lead they would take and never look back. In total, Brown walked a career-high eight batters in just three innings, easily his worst outing of the season.

Burke would pitch from the opposite side of the spectrum as he stayed sharp on the mound, lighting up Indiana’s lineup for 12 strikeouts — a new season-high.

As Burke butchered the Hoosiers, the Terps lineup would still struggle to get hits against the Hoosiers, especially after Brown exited the game in favor of Braydon Tucker. Tucker immediately struck out the side in his first frame, but the Terps bats would finally heat up in the fifth inning.

After Cowles picked up a rare infield single, Costes launched a Tucker pitch off the top of the right field wall to score Cowles from first and extend the Terps lead to 3-0.

While Maryland may have struggled to find just a few hits in game two, the Hoosiers struggled even more as they were held hitless through 6 2/3 innings. They finally broke through when Kip Fougerousse slapped a single to center field.

It would be the first time Indiana really threatened to that point as it loaded the bases on a walk against Elliott Zoellner, who replaced Burke after his 6 2/3 innings of work. A lined shot off the bat of pinch-hitter Ethan Vecrumba to center field would have Terps fans holding their breaths — but it fell just short of the wall into the glove of Chris Alleyne to keep a zero in the Hoosier run column.

Maryland’s offense found some life in the seventh inning, as the first five Terps would reach base and add two more runs onto the lead. Justin Vought nearly blew game two wide open with a deep blast with the bases loaded but just fell short of his second grand slam of the season.

A solo home run from Drew Ashley in the seventh and a two-out Jacob Southern RBI single were the only blemishes on Zoellner down the stretch, and he was able to safely navigate the Terps through the final few innings to secure the doubleheader sweep.

The sweep gives Maryland its seventh-straight series win, and gives them the chance to sweep the series Sunday at noon in the regular season finale.

Maryland takes rubber match, wins sixth-straight series against Michigan

For the first time since April 16, Maryland finally had its top five hitters in the same lineup and through a full-strength offense and one of Sean Burke’s best outings of the season, Maryland beat Michigan 7-3 to win their sixth-straight series Sunday.  

Maryland was swinging out of the gates with a more aggressive approach against starting pitcher Jacob Denner compared to Saturday with a leadoff double by Chris Alleyne. Up came Ben Cowles who had been hitless in the first two games of the series as Michigan has done a good job containing him. 

But on a 3-1 pitch, Cowles hit his Big Ten leading 17th home run to deep left field to give Maryland the early 2-0 lead and also extend his streak of hitting at least one home run in a series. Randy Bednar Jr. would then follow Cowles’ lead and hit his own home run to left field to give Maryland a commanding 3-0 lead in the first inning.

“We got after [Denner] early, with a really good plan and a really good approach by the guys,” coach Rob Vaughn said.

Michigan would respond in the second inning, hitting Sean Burke hard with a single and a double that brought Tito Flores to the plate, and on one swing he tied the game 3-3 with a home run to left field. 

But Maryland slugger Matt Shaw responded in the third inning with a double and advanced to third on Cowles’ sacrifice fly that was almost home run No. 18 on the season. Bednar would get the job done and bring him home on the RBI groundout to give Maryland the lead right back 4-3. 

Against an offense like Michigan, Maryland needed to add insurance runs. That’s exactly what happened in the fourth inning when Troy Scheffler Jr. got it going with a single and a stolen base. Justin Vought continued his hot streak with a single that put runners on the corners with no outs. 

Schreffler Jr. then had a heads up play to score when a wild pitch got away from catcher Griffin Mazur with nobody covering home to make it 5-3 and bring up the big guns of the Maryland lineup with the chance to do more damage.

Shaw’s RBI double would do just that making it 6-3 and the bases would be loaded for the returning Maxwell Costes after missing five games with an ankle injury. Normally, facing a high leverage situation would cause you to be aggressive looking for the big hit. Costes stayed patient and drew the bases-loaded RBI walk to cap off the big inning and give Maryland a 7-3 lead.

“[Costes] really sees the baseball well.” Vaughn said. “It’s good to have him back in there today.”

Sunday featured only the 18th time out of 41 games this season Bednar Jr. and Costes were in the lineup at the same time, and the result was seven runs, which was all the offense Maryland needed on the afternoon.

After his slip up in the second inning, Burke would settle in. In the third inning, Burke picked off Elliot at second base which would ultimately keep a run off the board as Jimmy Obertop would single right after. Burke then retired nine-straight Wolverines from the fourth through the sixth innings. 

Around 100 pitches, coming back out for the seventh inning, Burke entered empty-the-tank mode and gave up a walk to Big Ten player of the week Ted Burton, his first baserunner since the Obertop single in the third inning. 

But Burke struck out Mazur looking to record the first out and was taken out of the game. Burke went a season-high 6 1/3 innings, gave up three runs on four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.

“[Burke] slammed the door,” Vaughn said. “When he’s throwing his fastball like that he’s really good.”

Elliot Zoellner would come out of the bullpen and only needed two pitches to get out of the inning as he forced a huge double play.

Michigan tried to rally in the eighth with two runners on base, but Zoellner struck out Obertop to end the inning. 

Ryan Ramsey was tasked to get the save in the ninth inning and did it stress-free to clinch Maryland’s six-straight series win.

“Unbelievable job by our pitching staff having a big time bounce back day after a tough one yesterday,” Vaughn said.

Maryland is now tied with Michigan for second in the Big Ten standings and has the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Wolverines going into their last series of the regular season against Indiana chasing after that at-large-bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“We’ve got one weekend left,” Vaughn said. “It’s our job to go leave a really good lasting impression in the committee’s mind so they don’t have the option to leave us out.”

Aggressive Wolverine bats stomp out Terps

Usually when Jason Savacool pitches, Maryland is in a great position to win games. Saturday, that wasn’t the case as Savacool struggled early as Michigan snapped Maryland’s six-game win streak with a 14-3 blowout win.

Just like Maryland did Friday, Michigan got out to a big lead early against Savacool starting in the second inning with a back-to-back double and single before a wild pitch got Michigan on the board. As Savacool struggled to get ahead in counts, Michigan’s Friday night hero Jordan Velazquez made him pay hitting a two-run double to left-center field that made the score 3-0.

Savacool found himself in trouble once again in the third inning, as he continued to struggle throwing strikes. Savacool let up a leadoff single, an error on a pick-off attempt advanced the runner to second, a walk and a hit-by-pitch then loaded the bases with one out for Michigan. With the chance of staying in the game at stake, Savacool struck out Griffin Mazur to get closer to escaping the inning unharmed. 

But it wasn’t meant to be as Tito Flores’s RBI single on Savacool’s 64th pitch of the game brought home another run and coach Rob Vaughn came out of the dugout to end Savacool’s night in favor of Sean Heine.

The next batter, Jordon Rodgers, hit the first pitch he saw from Heine for a two-run RBI single to left field to make it 6-0 and close Savacool’s line for the day.

After only going two innings and giving up four runs against Michigan back on April 5, Savacool went 2 2/3 innings, gave up six hits in total for six runs and couldn’t get ahead in counts this time. It was his shortest outing since April 11 against Nebraska where he only went 1 ⅔ innings and gave up five runs for his only loss of the season until Saturday.  

[Savacool] didn’t have a very good feel for his secondary stuff which got him in some bad counts,” Vaughn said. “A good team took advantage of it.”

In the next inning, Big Ten Player of the Week Ted Burton put his mark on the game with a three-run homer off of Heine. After being up 8-0 Friday, Maryland found itself in the opposite situation Saturday being down 9-0. But unlike Michigan, Maryland would not rally late as the red-hot offense struggled to get hits off starting pitcher Cameron Weston. Back on April 4, Maryland was able to get four runs off of Weston.

But Weston was much more effective today in shutting down the Maryland lineup going 5 ⅓ innings, only allowing three hits and was never in a stressful situation with the lead his offense gave him early.  

“I thought we were passive in some of those counts early,” Vaughn said.

After Michigan tacked on two more runs to hit double digits, one of the lone bright spots on the day was Chris Alleyne who hit a three-run homer to left field in the seventh inning to avoid the shutout. But Michigan’s Benjamin Simms would answer with a final blow on the day with his own three-run-homer off of Logan Ott.

“[Michigan] just came out and beat us in every aspect of the game,” Alleyne said. 

Thanks to its well-balanced offense that ranks second in the Big Ten, Michigan now jumps a game ahead of Maryland for second place in the Big Ten standings with only four games left on the season for both teams. That adds more importance to Sunday’s rubber game as Maryland tries again for their sixth-straight series win as both teams are still in the quest for a Big Ten regular-season championship and the NCAA Tournament.

“Sometimes you get punched in the mouth by good teams,” Vaughn said. “The reality is were [tied] 1-1 with a chance to win the series tomorrow.”

Maryland topples Michigan in extra inning drama

Coming into Ann Arbor this weekend Maryland knew how important this series was going to be towards their final placing in the Big Ten standings and how tough it would be. 

They thought they got the series off to a stress-free start Friday against No. 24 Michigan when the offense put up eight runs to give them a commanding 8-0 lead over the Wolverines going into the seventh inning.

“The first six innings was about as dominant as a performance that we’ve had all year,” coach Rob Vaughn said.

But that was far from the case after a five-run collapse in the ninth inning forced the game into extra innings. But a three-run inning in the 11th inning helped Maryland escape with an 11-8 win over the Wolverines.

With the go-ahead runner on third base, Matt Orlando hit a double off the left-field wall that made the game 9-8. A safety squeeze by Tommy Gardiner and a wild pitch brought home two more runs and Maryland was up 11-8 looking to finally close it out.

Ryan Ramsey struck out three batters in the bottom of the inning, to close out a wild important win for Maryland.   

Coming into the ninth with an 8-3 lead, closer Sam Bello came on for a non-save situation looking to end things stress-free. It was far from that with a couple of two-out RBI singles after a miscommunication on a foul ball pop-up by Justin Vought and Matt Orlando kept Michigan’s hopes alive.

“Orlando came in there at the last second,” Vought said. “But that’s my ball I got to go get it”

The next thing you know the score is 8-6, the bases are loaded and David Falco is facing Joey Velazquez with the game on the line. After a long at-bat, his two-out RBI single tied the game at 8-8 and sent the game to extra innings as the Wolverines scored eight unanswered runs and had all the momentum.

“I thought we played the eighth and the ninth inning kind of scared,” Vaughn said.

Looking to respond, Maryland loaded up the bases in the top of the 10th when Ben Cowles hit a sac-fly to center field but Matt Shaw tagged up to the second base and was thrown out before Troy Schreffler Jr. crossed home plate ending the inning keeping the score tied.

“The first move in that situation if you’re at first base is you can start running to second,” Vaughn said. “But if that throw starts coming into second base, you have to shut it down and go back.”

Before the craziness of the ninth inning, everything seemed like it was perfect on the day for Maryland starting in the third inning. 

Chris Alleyne drew a walk and stole two bases to get to third base with one out. Playing some small ball, Cowles put down a perfect safety squeeze up the first baseline to score Alleyne and the game’s first run.

Randy Bednar in his return to the lineup after missing 15 games with an ankle injury didn’t look rusty at the plate whatsoever dropping an RBI single into center field to make it 2-0.

“I’ve been waiting for that moment,” Bednar said. “[Was] really excited beforehand, just to be out there and contribute on the field…help the team win.”

Vought kept the offensive attack going in the fourth with a leadoff solo home run, his seventh of the season to extend the lead to 3-0 continuing his recent hot play. 

Up came Bednar again this time with runners on the corners and once again he delivered with a RBI double that hit off the brick wall in left field to score another run and make it 4-0 and two more runs scored in the inning to make the score 6-0. Vought hit a no-doubt two-run home run to left field for his second of the game in the sixth inning to make it 8-0. It was Vought’s eighth of the season and he has now homered in four straight series.

But despite the craziness of the late innings and nearly blowing it, Maryland has now won their sixth straight game and has tied the Wolverines for third place in the Big Ten. They also added another big win to their NCAA Tournament resume and will have the chance to win their sixth straight series with the Big Ten wins leader Jason Savacool taking the mound Saturday.

“There’s definitely some things we have to learn from and grow from with some young players,” Vaughn said. “But we’ve found a way to get it done at the end of the day and at this time of year, the [win] is all that really matters.”

Offense gets off to hot start, leads Terps to sweep over Purdue

A four-run first inning and Sean Burke’s pitching helped guide Maryland to a 7-2 win over Purdue to win their 10th-straight home win and sweep the series Sunday from Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.

Matthew Shaw, who had three hits on the day, started off the first inning with a solo home run to tie the game 1-1. The Terps then put together a two-out rally: singles by Bobby Zmarzlak and Matt Orlando, who is filling in for the injured Maxwell Costes at first base brought Tommy Gardiner to the plate with the chance to do some damage. Gardiner on a full count tripled to center field that brought Zmarzlak home for two RBI and a 3-1 lead for Maryland.

“I worked the count to 3-2, got a fastball over the middle and just hammered it.” Gardiner said.

Luke Shliger would join in on the fun with an RBI single to bring home Gardiner to make it 4-1 Maryland to complete the big inning and give them a lead they would never relinquish for the rest of the afternoon.

“That’s one thing our offense been good at is responding,” coach Rob Vaughn said. “We’ve done it all year.”

After an error in the first inning allowed Purdue to push across an unearned run to briefly take the early 1-0 lead, Burke began to settle in and deal with a Purdue lineup the Terps have kept contained all series. Burke only allowed one hit through four innings and four hits total on the day. 

In the fourth and fifth innings, Burke pitched 1-2-3 frames keeping the Purdue lineup frustrated. 

“I thought it was a good outing,” Burke said. “The focus going into the week was just about moving smooth, simplifying anything and attacking the zone.”

In the fifth inning, Troy Schreffler would add on some insurance runs for Burke with an RBI double that scored two more runs to make the score 6-1 Maryland. 

Purdue would finally get to Burke in the sixth inning. A Ben Nisle RBI double cut the score to 6-2, but Burke would get Zac Fascia to fly out to end the inning and the chance of Purdue cutting into the lead further. 

Burke would end up delivering the third-straight quality outing by a Terps starting pitcher this series. Burke went six innings giving up two runs one earned and only allowed eight base runners to pick up his third win of the season.

“Burke had a super efficient start for us and was as efficient with his pitch count as he’s been all year,” Vaughn said.

Maryland would add another run and Elliot Zoellner would come out of the bullpen and record the final nine outs stress-free to put the finishing touches on an important series for a Maryland team with NCAA Tournament hopes. Maryland is now 19-5 their last 24 games, won five-straight series and won ten straight games at home. The Terps now turn their focus to next weekend as they travel for an important series in the Big Ten standings against the Michigan Wolverines.

“Great weekend for us and now our attention turns to Michigan,” Vaughn said.