Maryland struggles on both sides of the ball as they drop the series opener

With a runner on first, junior Sean Fisher was in the midst of a multi-pitch battle with the number nine batter, Makenzie Pate. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Pate turned on one and drove it way over the left field wall to take a 2-0 lead for Coastal Carolina in the third inning.

From there on, the inning spiraled out of control for Fisher and the Terrapins. With the top of the lineup due up, senior Scott McKeon went back-to-back as he smacked a home run of his own over the left field wall.

Fisher walked the following batter to spark a new rally for the Chanticleers, as three straight hits would follow. In addition to the hits, passed balls and wild pitches hurt the Terrapins before they were able to get out of the inning. But unfortunately for Maryland, they dug themselves in too big of a hole to come out of as they faced a seven run deficit after three frames.

With the Terps facing such a huge deficit, it made things even more difficult as they couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side of things. Maryland totaled just four hits and had few opportunities as they lose the series opener to the Chanticleers, 16-0.

Junior Zach McCambley started on the mound for Coastal Carolina and was dominant in his start. Coming into this game, he had allowed just three runs in 13 innings, while racking up 18 strikeouts. The righty tossed five innings as he recorded six strikeouts and allowed just two hits.

In the first inning it seemed like Maryland was going to be able to attack McCambley early. Junior Chris Alleyne led the game off with a walk and later found himself on third a few pitches later after a stolen base and a past ball. But with one out and a runner just 90 feet from scoring, junior Randy Bednar and sophomore Maxwell Costes were unable to bring him home.

On the defensive side of things, Fisher came back out onto the mound in the fourth inning, but ran into trouble once again. The junior hit the first batter he faced and then allowed three straight singles, before being relieved by sophomore Trevor LaBonte.

After two great starts for Fisher, his third career start at Maryland was a rough one. Fisher’s Friday night ended with three innings pitched, while he allowed 10 hits and nine earned runs.

In relief, LaBonte tossed 1 1/3 innings, allowed three runs on two hits, while surrendering three walks. After LaBonte, redshirt junior Mike Vasturia made his season debut as he entered in the fifth inning, with Maryland trailing, 13-0. The righty knuckleballer was impressive in his outing as he totaled 3 1/3 innings, while allowing six hits and picking up five strikeouts, while surrendering two runs. Vasturia’s outing was huge for Maryland as it seemed like the Terrapins were going to have to empty out their bullpen early on in the series opener.

The Terps struggled to get anything going against McCambley, but they got to face a couple of arms after the junior was taken out after five innings because of the large lead. However, as new pitchers came in, the Maryland offense still had difficulty getting anything going.

The Maryland offense was just 4-for-30 and posted a .133 team average. It was quite the opposite for the Coastal Carolina offense as the Chanticleers went 18-for-40 with a .450 team average.

This huge difference in the offenses was clearly reflected on the scoreboard, as Maryland suffers its first shutout loss this season, 16-0.

 

 

Maryland’s plate discipline and late offense results in dominant midweek win

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.

 

 

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.