After failing to capitalize on big opportunities early on in the game, the Terps offense came alive in the last few innings to runaway with its first midweek victory, 13-3.
With the game tied 3-3, with two outs and runners on first and third, the Terrapins showed off their plate discipline, drawing three consecutive walks. The lack of control from the Patriots converted into two Maryland runs to give the Terps a 5-3 lead in the sixth.
The Terps broke things up in the bottom of the seventh and got it done with the small ball and the long ball. Junior Tommy Gardiner drew a leadoff walk and was moved over on a bunt by Chavis. Gardiner would later make his way around the bases to score after an error on a pick off attempt and a wild pitch. After another walk, junior Randy Bednar dug into the box and hit an absolute moonshot over the left field wall to give Maryland an 8-3 lead.
“That felt really good,” Bednar said. “I always think about singles and doubles, I know the power’s gonna come eventually. So I’m not too worried about that, but it’s definitely a good feeling to be able to come out and do that.”
The Terrapins drew 14 walks in this midweek matchup and collected nine hits, which totaled 13 runs. This was the most runs the Terps have scored in a game this season to secure the victory and move to 6-1, despite stranding 15 runners on base.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Head coach Rob Vaughn said. “I told our guys don’t look at that scoreboard, that score is fool’s gold a little bit for me. I thought offensively that was probably our worst played game of the year. Leaving tons of guys on base, when you leave the bases loaded three times at home, you should lose, that’s the reality.”
Early on, the Terrapins struggled to capitalize on scoring opportunities early on in the game. Maryland found themselves with bases loaded in back-to-back innings, but only managed two runs in those situations in the third and fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Terrapins did what they’ve done well all season long, draw free passes and get hit-by-pitches. Young hit two batters and walked one run in, but he bounced back and got out of the inning on a groundball, limiting the damage once again.
This theme continued for Maryland in the bottom of the sixth, with the game tied 3-3. With two outs and runners on first and third, the Terrapins showed off their plate discipline, drawing three consecutive walks. The lack of control from the Patriots converted into two Maryland runs to give the Terps a 5-3 lead.
Last season, redshirt junior Zach Thompson was the Terps’ Saturday starter in their weekend series. Thompson finished the season with 3-6 record and posted a 5.08 ERA.
This season, the right-hander found himself making his season debut in the Terps’ first midweek game. Thompson worked some quick innings and only ran into trouble in the fourth after allowing one run but escaping a bases loaded jam. The redshirt junior’s evening was done after tossing five innings, allowing just four hits and one run, while picking up two strikeouts.
“He trusted his stuff, trusted his preparation, was very focused and was awesome,” Vaughn said. “I’m gonna be honest with you, people wanna talk about Friday night guys and this and that, [but] midweek starting pitching is huge. We really haven’t had that the last couple years… But him coming out today was really good to see. He was tremendous, he was mature and I was really proud of him.”
Thompson left the game with the Terps out in front 3-1, but he quickly watched the lead disappear from the bench. In the sixth inning, sophomore Trevor LaBonte started the inning and issued a leadoff walk. The following batter, junior Scott Morgan smashed a long fly ball over the left center field wall to reset the game, 3-3.
But with the game tied back up, the offense began to come alive and senior Elliot Zoellner shut the door on the George Mason offense. Zoellner took over in the middle of the sixth inning and was dominant. The righty picked up the win in 2 1/3 innings in relief, without allowing a hit and recording four strikeouts.
“He really showed me a lot there today,” Vaughn said about Zoellner. “His composure was awesome. At the time, when we threw him in the game, the game was still pretty tight. Not only did he get us out of that one inning, but he gave us two more.”
In just the second inning, sophomore Maxwell Costes made a fielding error but when he stepped into the box in the bottom of the frame, he looked for some redemption. With an 0-1 count, Costes turned on one and sent a sky-high fly ball towering over the left field wall. The sophomore gave the ball a stare and tossed his bat to the side as reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year gave the Terps an early 1-0 lead on his third bomb of the season.
Costes followed up an impressive weekend with another incredible day at the plate. The sophomore reached base safely in all six of his at-bats and was just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
“[I’m] seeing the ball really well,” Costes said. “Swinging at the pitches I can swing at, taking the pitches I should.”
While the Terps were able to limit the Patriots’ offense, George Mason wasn’t able to do the same on the other side. After keeping it close for the first six innings, the game began to slip away for the Patriots as a result of free passes and timely hitting from the Terps. Maryland scored 10 runs in its last three offensive frames to capture the first midweek of the season.