Burke, Costes Lead Terps to Shutout Victory, Series Win

On Saturday afternoon against Rhode Island, Maryland pitching and defense struggled mightily, allowing 11 runs and making two costly errors. On Sunday, the Terps showed almost immediately that there would not be a repeat of their poor performance, as pitcher Sean Burke, catcher Justin Vought, and shortstop Ben Cowles combined for a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play to end the top of the first. 

The defensive highlight set the tone for a game that was well-played by both sides, standing in sharp contrast to the somewhat sloppy first two contests of the series. The Terps rode Burke’s strong start and Maxwell Costes’s two solo home runs to a 3-0 victory, clinching their first series win of 2020.

For the first time this season, the Terps did not make an error, which allowed them to make up for a poor offensive performance. While Maryland had 8 hits, the Terps failed to capitalize on big opportunities, going just 2-for-9 with runners on base and 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. 

In the bottom of the first, with Maryland still buzzing after Vought’s strong throw, Chris Alleyne started off the Terps’ offensive afternoon with a bang, lining a double to deadaway centerfield. After taking third on a wild pitch, Alleyne scored on an RBI groundout by Tucker Flint. Costes doubled the Maryland lead in the third when he ripped his first home run of the season to left-centerfield. 

Burke was nearly unhittable in the early-going, allowing only 2 hits and punching out 8 in his first two trips through the order. Burke’s only early jam came in the third inning, when the Rams put runners on first and second with two outs. But Burke won a seven-pitch battle with center fielder Austin White, getting a strikeout and keeping Rhode Island off the board. 

“On Sunday you’ve just got to set the tone, and it starts on the mound.” said Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn. “I thought he did an unbelievable job.”

Burke finally ran into real trouble in the sixth inning, when the Rams used back-to-back singles to put a man in scoring position with one out. After a deep flyout moved the lead runner to third, Vaughn lifted his redshirt freshman and brought on Elliot Zoellner to escape the jam. The sidewinder got Mark Coley to fly out to center, escaping the inning and keeping the shutout intact. 

After getting the big out, Zoellner’s afternoon was over, as he gave way to Connor Staine, who worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning and stranded a runner on second in the eighth to keep the Terrapin lead at two. After Costes’s second blast of the day extended the lead to three, Staine got two outs in the ninth before allowing a single and a walk to bring the tying run to the plate and being relieved by Mark DiLuia. DiLuia fanned pinch-hitter Thomas Summers, getting the save in the Terps first shutout of the season and moving the team to 5-1. 

Costes’s home runs were his first two of the season and both were very impressive. The first was a line drive shot over the left centerfield fence, and the second a towering drive down the left field line.

Despite the change in result, Costes said that “nothing really” changed in his approach.

“I talk to [assistant coach Matt] Swope a lot before the game, a lot after games, he kind of keeps my mind in things,” Costes said. “He tells me I’m swinging at good pitches and it’s going to come together at some point, and today we needed it in a couple big spots and it came together for us.”

 

 

Terps Take First Loss in Slugfest

When Maryland second baseman Austin Chavis blasted a fly ball to right-centerfield in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game with Rhode Island, it was initially unclear whether Rams’ center fielder Austin White had brought it back or if it had cleared the fence for Chavis’s first career homer. 

When it became clear that White had come up short, the Maryland bench exploded, as the Terps’ ninth hitter had just put them back in the lead for the third time in a back-and-forth slugfest with the Rams. 

But the euphoria was short-lived, as the lead changed hands for the sixth time in the very next inning, when two Rhode Island runs scored on an error by Troy Schreffler, giving the Rams a 9-8 lead they never relinquished en route to an 11-8 victory.

The Rams jumped out in front almost immediately, when three-hitter Jackson Coutts took Nick Dean deep over the left-centerfield fence for a two-out solo homer in the first. The lead was short-lived, as Maxwell Costes ripped a single back up the middle in the bottom of the frame to bring Chris Alleyne in from third and tie the game. 

Ben Cowles put the Terps ahead in the second with the first home run by any Terrapin this season, depositing a 2-2 pitch over the batter’s eye in center field. 

Coutts struck again in the third inning. After Rhode Island loaded the bases with two walks and a single, the designated hitter laced a 2-0 fastball from Dean down the right field line for a go-ahead two-run double. The Rams broke it open on the very next at-bat, when Xavier Vargas ripped a three-run home run to right field to push the score to 6-2. 

Coutts and Vargas carried the Rams’ offense, combining for six hits and driving in 8 of Rhode Island’s 11 runs. The Terps relied on a more balanced attack, with six different players driving in at least one run. Maryland also made the most of its opportunities. Five of their seven hits went for extra bases, and the Terrapins went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. 

The Terps closed the gap in the fourth, scoring on an RBI groundout by Matt Orlando and a run-scoring bunt single by Chavis to cut the Rams’ lead to 2. Tavin Shahidi, making his first start of the season, closed the gap to just one in the fifth with a two-out, RBI double to dead centerfield.  

One batter later, Maryland’s comeback was complete, as Troy Schreffler blasted his first collegiate home run, scoring Shahidi and putting the Terps up 7-6. However, the lead was short-lived as Rams’ second baseman Joe Fortin re-tied the game with two-outs in the sixth with an RBI double off the top of the wall in right field. 

After Chavis’s blast and the run-scoring error, the game briefly settled down, as neither side scored in the eighth. Vargas’s second homer, a two-run blast in the ninth, gave the Rams some breathing room and Tyler Brosius worked three scoreless innings for Rhode Island to slam the door on the Terps and hand them their first loss of the 2020 season. 

Terps Ride 19 Free Passes to Win Home Opener

When Sean Fisher walked off the mound with one out in the seventh inning against Rhode Island he was exiting his second straight solid effort and his second ever start for Maryland. While Fisher was excellent, escaping multiple jams and punching out four batters, the most dramatic aspect of his start was the contrast in free bases issued between him and the Rams’ pitching staff. 

After spending his first two seasons in College Park as a reliever, Fisher was named the Friday night starter entering the season, and has excelled in his two starts, allowing just one earned run in 11 ⅔ total innings. 

While Fisher issued one walk and hit one batter, Rhode Island’s pitchers lack of control, coupled with costly defensive miscues, defined the game, The Rams beat themselves badly, walking 12 Terrapins, hitting 7 batters, and committing two run-scoring errors in the 9-3 Maryland victory. 

When they did find the strike zone, the Rams pitchers mostly held Maryland in check, allowing only four hits, all of which were singles. However, the free bases allowed Maryland to score eight or more runs for the third time in four games

The Terps got on the board in the second, when second baseman Aaron Perez walked in a run after Rams’ starter Justin Cherry loaded the bases with a single and two hit batters. Cherry’s control issues continued in the third, as he walked two batters before leaving with an injury. Reliever Ryan Twitchell had no better luck finding the plate, sandwiching an RBI single by Bobby Zmarzlak between two HBPs as the Terps tacked on three more runs.  

After the long wait between trips to the mound, Fisher lost no rhythm, setting the Rams down in order on just five pitches in the top of the fourth to keep the Terps’ lead at 4-0. 

In the bottom of the frame, reliever Ryan Picone continued Rhode Island’s trend of finding Maryland batters more than the strike zone, as he loaded the bases with three hit batsmen. However, unlike Cherry and Twitchell, Picone managed to keep the Terps off the scoreboard, escaping the jam by striking out Zmarzlak on three pitches. 

The Rams’ offense finally broke through in the fifth. After getting two outs, Fisher walked center fielder Austin White on four pitches. After stealing second, White moved to third on an infield single by third baseman Tino Salgado and scored on a single to right field by second baseman Josh Brodeur. 

Maryland got the run back in the bottom of the fifth, when Rhode Island shortstop Alex Ramirez dropped a sky-high, two-out popup by Chris Alleyne, allowing Benjamin Cowles to score from third. 

The Terps added further insurance in their final two offensive innings, scoring three times in the seventh and once in the eighth to put the game firmly out of reach.

The win moves the Terps to 4-0, their best start since they started with the same record in 2015. 

Terps climb all the way back to stay perfect on Opening Weekend

The Terrapins won their first two games of the weekend by generous margins, outscoring opponents 19-4, but on Sunday they rallied back late in the ninth to secure a 4-2 victory over the College of Charleston in the biggest comeback of the year.

Maryland tallied just three hits through the first eight innings, all of which came from the first three frames. In the ninth alone the Terrapins matched that hit total as center fielder Chris Alleyne started it off with a single, followed by freshman Tucker Flint who shot a double down the line.

Flint, who appeared as Maryland’s designated hitter on Sunday, has started all three games to start the season and leads the team with a .667 on-base-percentage at the end of the weekend.

A sacrifice fly from right fielder Randy Bednar plated Alleyne, bringing in his team-high fifth RBI of the season.

Following Bednar was first baseman Michael Pineiro, who replaced sophomore Maxwell Costes as a pinch runner. In his first at-bat of the season, Pineiro dropped a suicide squeeze that scored Flint to tie the game in an electrifying way.

The Terrapins wasted no time in extra innings, scoring the go-ahead and insurance runs quickly in the 10th. Third baseman Tommy Gardiner, who earned two hits on the afternoon, scored from second on a wild pitch to give the Terrapins their first lead. Pinch runner Austin Chavis followed with a wild pitch run of his own to put the team up 4-2.

With the win, Maryland stayed perfect on the weekend, going 3-0 for the first time since the 2015 season. In that season, the Terrapins made a Super Regional, the last time the team appeared in the tournament.

The unsung hero of the game for the Terrapins was starting pitcher Sean Burke. After being redshirted in 2019 due to injury, the righty was dominant in his first career start.

In five innings, the righty fanned eight batters, four of which came in the first two frames. Burke was the third Maryland starting pitcher to debut in as many games. He went five scoreless, and left in the sixth with two runners on, one of which scored on a fielder’s choice for the game’s first run.

Three arms came out of the bullpen for Maryland, the most that coach Rob Vaughn has had to use all season. Mark DiLuia tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit. Trevor LaBonte came in for the close in the 10th and earned a 1-2-3 inning to give the Terrapins the win.

 

 

 

Maryland’s offense dominates in second straight win

For the second consecutive day, a slow start in the batter’s box was wiped away in one inning for the Terrapins. A 10-batter inning in the third proved to be the turning point in Maryland’s second straight win to start the year, defeating Iona 8-2.

Center fielder Chris Alleyne led the inning off with his third double of the year that shot down the line and dribbled to the left field wall. The Terrapins dealt with a few free bases to load the bases for a majority of the inning.

Right fielder Randy Bednar tied the game for Maryland with a sacrifice fly into left, bringing in his first RBI of 2020. The junior is hitting a solid .333 through the first two games of the season.

Following Bednar was first baseman Maxwell Costes who stroked his second single of the day, the other coming in the first inning that brought in freshman Tucker Flint for the team’s first run.

Flint, who made his debut as the designated hitter, moved to left field and up to the two-hole for the Terrapins on Saturday after reaching base four times on Friday. The freshman was hit by Iona pitchers in his first two plate appearances, and later doubled to left field. He reached base a total of four times on the day, keeping his OBP to .800 on the season.

An oddity of sorts that is starting to become a theme for the Terrapins is the statistic of 11 hit-by-pitches in just the first two games.

Adding to the list of freshmen making their debuts for Maryland this weekend was designated hitter Bobby Zmarzlak. The No. 1 ranked prospect in the Big Ten, according to Perfect Game, earned a hard-fought walk on a full count to bring in his first RBI as a Terrapin in the long third inning.

Junior Tommy Gardiner also earned an RBI with a bullet up the middle to plate a run in the inning. The third baseman has been productive out of the nine-hole for the Terrapins, holding a .500 average through the first two days.

Maryland tallied nine hits on the afternoon in its second consecutive win, while the Gaels also had nine. Iona, who had just 14 wins a season ago, dropped its first game against the College of Charleston on Friday night and continued to struggle against the Terrapins.

On the other side of the ball, more newcomers made their debuts in a Maryland uniform. Freshman Nick Dean took the mound for the Terrapins and in 4 2/3 innings he fanned six hitters and forfeited just two earned runs.

In relief for Maryland was freshman Ryan Ramsey. The lefty tossed 2 1/3 innings from the bullpen, not allowing his first hit until the eighth inning. Ramsey finished with four strikeouts and just the one hit on a scoreless outing.

Sophomore Sean Heine made his first appearance of the season to close things out on the mound. In two innings of work, Heine fanned three and allowed two hits.

After four players made their debuts in the game on Friday night, three more Terrapins suited up for Saturday’s game for the first time.

Freshmen shine in Maryland’s season opener

After five runners were stranded on base through the first five innings, the Terrapins found a way to use some two-out magic in the sixth to regain a lead they would not again forfeit. In Maryland’s first game of the 2020 season, it was the four Terrapins making their debuts who carried the team to a 11-2 win over Charleston Southern.

The rally began with none other than freshman Tucker Flint, who in his Maryland debut found his way on four out of five times he came up to the plate, including three hits and an RBI. The Terrapins’ designated hitter shot a single into center and was followed by shortstop Ben Cowles, who earned a walk with two outs.

Another newcomer to the Maryland roster, junior transfer Austin Chavis, poked a ball to third that ended up thrown over first baseman Ryan Stoudemire’s head and brought in Flint to tie the game at two.

Maryland third baseman Tommy Gardiner looped a single into the infield grass that couldn’t be picked up in time, bringing in Cowles and giving the Terrapins the lead.

Gardiner, who lacked playing time in his sophomore season due to injury, found his way into the Maryland starting lineup for the season opener.

Freshman left fielder Troy Schreffler used his arm in the beginning of the game to throw out a Buccaneer at home, and then in the ninth joined the offensive onslaught with a two-RBI triple.

The Terrapins finished with 10 hits on the night, compared to Charleston Southern’s four.

Southpaw Sean Fisher started on the mound for Maryland on Friday night, making it his first career start in his junior season. Ace Hunter Parsons left the team after last spring and was drafted by the New York Mets, leaving the weekend opener slot wide open for the taking.

In 5 1/3 innings, Fisher tossed 92 pitches and earned five strikeouts. Two runs crossed the plate with the lefty on the mound, neither of them earned as they both came from Maryland errors in the second inning. Fisher finished the game with his first win of the year.

In relief for Maryland was freshman Sam Bello. In his collegiate debut, the right-hander stranded two Buccaneers on base with a strikeout to end the inning and hold on to the lead in the sixth. He followed his first inning with six more strikeouts in three additional innings of work, including striking out the side in the eighth.

The Terrapins literally started right away as leadoff hitter Chris Alleyne dumped a ball into left field that ended up as a double in what was the first pitch of the season. Two batters later, right fielder Randy Bednar dribbled a ball to the left side of the infield that brought in Alleyne for the game’s first run.

In the back half of the contest, the Terrapins really broke things open in the seventh as three straight players earned free passage to first via hit-by-pitches.

Catcher Justin Vought brought in a run after being pegged on the foot, and was followed by an RBI single from Flint’s third hit of the night. Gardiner drew a walk later in the inning, bringing in his second RBI on the night.

Alleyne finished things off in the inning with his second double of the night that brought in Vought and Flint, increasing the Terrapin lead to six runs.

The dominant start by Fisher followed by the closing by Bello saved Maryland’s bullpen for the remaining two games of the season, both of which will be started by freshmen.

Five things to know from Maryland’s exhibition versus St. John’s

Maryland hosted the St. John’s University Red Storm Sunday afternoon in an 18-inning scrimmage as Fall baseball for the Terps is nearing its conclusion. Many newcomers to this Terrapins team had an opportunity to display their talent on the diamond while returning members were able to get in some reps versus a generally highly-regarded St. John’s squad. Here are five takeaways from the exhibition:

1. Terps bullpen cleaned up an early mess

Starter Nick Dean came into the game with some clear command issues. While his first two innings went unscathed, the lack of command was evident as seen by three walks being issued paired with no strikeouts. The command issues bit Dean in the back in the third inning when two walks and a bunt single combined to load the bases in the St. John’s third followed by a sacrifice fly. The damage continued when St. John’s Ryan Markey shot a two-run single over the head of Dean, who was then pulled in favor of freshman Sam Bello. Bello immediately made a difference after maneuvering his way out of the third inning and through a scoreless fourth inning. The Terps bullpen continued to put up zeroes in the St. John’s run column as the first half of the 18-inning marathon moved on with Sean

2. Patience paid off early

After falling behind 3-0 early in the game, the Terps offense made some great adjustments to get themselves back in the game. The biggest difference they made in their approach was having more patience at the plate and on the base paths. This was especially key after they watched their starting pitcher, Nick Dean, walk five St. John’s players. What that patience led to was a huge three-run fourth inning that began when freshman Troy Schreffler Jr. wisely held up at third base on a shallow single to center field off the bat of Randy Bednar. Freshman Tucker Flint then took a walk to load the bases, and the Terps ultimately unloaded them after a bases-loaded walk from Austin Chavis and a big two-run double by catcher Tavan Shahidi. The Terps proceeded to load the bases a second time but failed to do any more damage in the fourth. However, that inning would set the tone for the offense as the game progressed through the afternoon.

3. Tavan Shahidi flexes power with big performance

Redshirt junior Tavan Shahidi didn’t see the diamond that much in the 2019 season, but he made a great impression during Sunday afternoon’s contest. The Iowa native had grounded out in his first at-bat, but his next appearance came with a major opportunity to cash in some runs with the bases loaded. Shahidi looped a pitch into the right-field corner — just out of reach of St. John’s right fielder — to bring in two runs and tie the game which could later be seen as a big momentum swing. Shahidi followed up his first big at-bat another double, a monster shot off the right-field wall that nearly cleared the fence. His third at-bat put him in a big RBI spot with runners on second and third, and he converted yet again with a hard-hit single to left field. He would have one final at-bat in the ninth inning of game one, and he clearly didn’t slow down as he notched his fourth hit of the day. Shahidi would sit for the second half of today’s exhibition.

4. Randy Bednar had a monster day

Bednar finished the first half of the day by reaching three times in five appearances. His first was a walk in the first inning as he was the only Terp to reach base in the first two innings. His next appearance had a much larger impact as he helped progress the Terps’ fourth-inning rally with a single. He would later come around to score on Shahidi’s two-run double. The game was tied at three runs apiece by the time Bednar came up for his third plate appearance, but Bednar wanting to change that, he smacked a pitch deep over the left-field fence to give Maryland a 4-3 lead. His next at-bat came with two runners in scoring position, and despite airing a ball towards the St. John’s left fielder, the sun prevented a clean play from being made as the left fielder misplayed the ball allowing two runs to score. His final at-bat of game one came in the eighth inning, but nothing came of it as he softly flew out to right field. Bednar started for game two, but after reaching on a walk in two plate appearances, he was pulled in favor of freshman Tucker Flint.

5. Freshman bullpen arms make great first impressions

In their first innings against a Division I school in St. John’s, both Sam Bello and Sean Burke put on great first impressions. As mentioned earlier, both were sent to the mound following early trouble for the Terps starter, but there’s nothing more they could’ve done to hold St. John’s to three runs. Bello had entered the game in the second, inheriting three base runners after Nick Dean was unable to record an out. While Bello allowed all three to cross the plate, he was able to escape the third inning without allowing further damage as he ultimately produced a flyout and struck out a pair of hitters. Bello looked to be settled in during the fourth inning as he recorded two more strikeouts induced a flyout. Sean Burke would take over for the next couple of innings. Despite some control issues for the redshirt freshman (three walks in two innings), Burke shut down St. John’s bats for two innings while racking up four strikeouts. In game two of the doubleheader, lefty Ryan Ramsey was another freshman that emerged from the Terps bullpen, and he had looked just as good as his fellow freshman for an inning. He would run into some trouble in the next after walking the bases loaded, but his appearance ended there.