Midweek Preview: James Madison

Following a home weekend sweep against Michigan, No. 15 Maryland has a matchup on the horizon against James Madison, the second time the Terps and the Dukes will play this season. In their contest a month ago in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Terps downed the Dukes in a thriller. James Madison got out to a 3-0 lead and following back-and-forth play, led 7-5 entering the eighth inning. After Jacob Orr recorded a two-run single to tie the game in the eighth, Chris “Bubba” Alleyne smacked a solo home run over the wall in right in the ninth, putting Maryland ahead 8-7. David Falco shut down the Dukes in the bottom of the inning, securing the Terps’ 8-7 victory.

Against Michigan this past weekend, the Terps’ bats were on full display. Maryland outscored Michigan 43-23, including a 20-run showing on Saturday. Matt Shaw had a series to remember — the sophomore shortstop went 7-13 with seven runs scored, 12 RBI, and six home runs.

The midweek game against James Madison is the Terps’ last home game of the season, with their regular season finale set for this weekend on the road against Purdue.

James Madison (26-23, 11-9 CAA)

Last Season:

James Madison was one of the worst teams in the CAA last season, as the Dukes were in the bottom half of the conference in both conference and overall win percentage. The Dukes’ pitching staff was their big weakness last season, as they ranked second-to-last in the CAA with a 6.38 ERA. The only Duke that threw double-digit innings with a sub-4.00 ERA last season was Donovan Burke, with a 3.00 ERA. Burke was one of the few consistent Duke arms last season, as he led James Madison in appearances, strikeouts, and WHIP, and was top-three in batting average against.

This Season:

The Dukes rank in the middle of the pack this season in the conference in both batting and pitching. James Madison relies on the home-run ball more than most of its conference, as the Dukes rank third in the CAA in slugging percentage and second in home runs.

Pitching-wise, James Madison is much improved from 2021 — a near two-run decrease from last season. The Dukes’ pitching staff is one of the best in the conference in terms of control, as James Madison ranks third-best in the CAA with 160 walks allowed.

Hitters to Watch:

Redshirt junior backstop Travis Reifsnider has been a wrecking force in the Dukes’ lineup this season. Reifsnider leads qualified Dukes in average (.299), OPS (.988), home runs (12), and slugging percentage (.628). Another redshirt junior, Trevon Dabney, has been a threat at the top of the order for James Madison. Dabney ranks first on James Madison with a .452 on-base percentage, and is a perfect 9-9 in steal attempts.

Pitchers to Watch:

James Madison has started a number of arms in each its past midweek games this season – Ryan Murphy, Todd Mozoki, and CJ Czerwinski. Right-hander Eli Ottinger has been one of James Madison’s best arms out of relief, with a 3.86 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 19 appearances, all out of the bullpen. Ottinger also has a slim batting-average-against of just .214.

Probable pitching matchup

Logan Ott vs. CJ Czerwinski

Ott has been Maryland’s primary midweek starter this season, and the sophomore has been a mixed bag in that role. Ott has fired scoreless outings in two of his starts, but has struggled in the others. Ott enters with a 6.70 ERA.

In its previous midweek matchup this season, the Dukes sent out Czerwinski as the starter against the Terps. Czerwinski struggled, allowing two runs in just 2 1/3 innings pitched. The redshirt sophomore has struggled to a 9.17 ERA on the season.

Maryland uses small ball, long ball to pick up thrilling victory over Michigan

After storming in front via the long ball, the Terps offense used small ball to save a struggling bullpen in a thrilling 8-7 victory over Michigan on Friday night.

Following a steal of third base, Troy Schreffler scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth off a wild pitch from Connor O’Halloran. There was no sign from third base coach Matt Swope. It was purely impulse from Schreffler.

“The adrenaline took over and I just started running,” Schreffler said. 

Head Coach Rob Vaughn praised the junior’s bold approach on the basepaths. 

“He won the game for us because he was fearless,” said Vaughn. “He was unafraid to crash and burn, and that’s something this group’s done all year.”

Schreffler’s dash for home capped off a wild three innings for No. 17 Maryland in which they relinquished a 7-0 lead before ultimately gaining it back. 

The Terps were in control throughout the first five innings. The offense jumped out to an early lead, connecting on back-to-back solo blasts from Nick Lorusso and Matt Shaw in the bottom of the first.

On the mound, Jason Savacool showed no signs of a back ailment that caused him to exit last Sunday’s start after one inning. The right-hander brought his swing-and-miss stuff against a Wolverines offense that ranks top five in the conference in runs, hits, home runs and RBI. Making his first Friday night start of the year, the righty recorded seven strikeouts through the first three innings.  

Maryland broke the game open in the fourth. Maryland extended their lead to 4-0 on a Bobby Zmarzlak two-run single. Freshman Ian Petrutz followed Zmarzlak with an RBI double to right-center. Five pitches later, Kevin Keister hit a two-run homer to extend the Terps’ lead to 7-0.

When these two teams met back in March, Maryland led 4-0 at the start of the sixth before Michigan scored seven unanswered runs to win 7-4. Friday’s game played out similarly.  

Once again, the Wolverines offense awoke in the sixth, but this time Michigan was spearheaded by an unlikely source. Nine-hole hitter Jake Marti hit his first homer in a Michigan uniform to start the rally.

Michigan proceeded to load the bases with one out, bringing up Tito Flores, the team leader in homers, to the plate. Savacool was able to work out of the jam by getting Flores to ground into a double play. That would be Savacool’s final batter of the night, as the sophomore went six innings, gave up two earned runs on four hits and recorded seven strikeouts along with two walks. With his third-inning strikeout of Ted Burton, Savacool became just the ninth Maryland pitcher to record at least 100 strikeouts in a single season.

After using four of their top bullpen arms on Friday night, Vaughn hinted at bringing in some young arms out of the bullpen on Saturday. 

“There’s some young pups that might get the ball tomorrow,” said Vaughn. “I want them to pitch without any fear of the negative of what could happen because they’re not freshmen anymore. You know, we’re six games left in our year.”

Michigan’s hitters immediately took advantage of Savacool’s exit. Sean Heine entered the game for Savacool and failed to record an out. After a leadoff double and back-to-back walks, Michigan loaded the bases for the second consecutive inning. Right-hander Nick Robinson replaced Heine but could not contain the Wolverine offense. A sac fly followed by a Joe Stewart two-run single cut Maryland’s lead to 7-4. 

Then Matt Frey delivered the biggest blow of the night. The graduate student hit a three-run homer that seemed to keep on carrying, as center fielder Chris Alleyne watched it sail over the batter’s eye. 

Down 7-0 to start the sixth, the Wolverines had stormed back to tie the game in the seventh.

The small but loud Michigan faithful erupted in cheers as the rest of Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium fell silent. But the Wolverines were not finished.

They threatened to score once more in the inning, putting runners on second and third before redshirt sophomore David Falco retired Joey Velazquez and Riley Bertram to end the inning. 

Schreffler and Maxwell Costes worked back-to-back one-out walks to fuel the Terps’ eighth inning rally before Schreffler used his speed to create the go-ahead run.

Schreffler talked about the team’s ability to not only hit for power, but get on base in a variety of ways. “We’re able to hit the long ball and extra bases, and also be able to work the walks, work the hit by pitches and put the ball in play a lot,” said Schreffler. 

The Wolverines would not go quietly in the ninth. Frey worked a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a Nigel Belgrave wild pitch. The hard-throwing right-hander set down the next three hitters, capped off by a called strike three on Velazquez. 

The team’s confidence in their ability to win never wavered, even after the Wolverines came back to tie the score at 7-7, Vaughn said. “I think they expected to win tonight even when it got bad. When I went out to the mound to make a visit there was no panic. It was like, man, they got to get us out nine more times. We’re in a good place,” said Vaughn.

The Terps earned their regular-season record 39th win of the season, just three behind the program’s all-time winningest season set in its run to the Super Regionals in 2015. 

Maryland and Michigan play game two of the series at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Lefty Ryan Ramsey is slated to start for the Terps while righty Cameron Weston is expected to start for the Wolverines.

Series Preview: Michigan Wolverines

No. 17 Maryland’s quest for a Big Ten regular season title continues this weekend as the Terps take on the fifth-place Michigan Wolverines. 

The Terps met Michigan back in March as part of the Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C. The Terps led 4-0 at the start of the sixth inning before Michigan came back and won 7-4 to hand the Terps their first loss of the season. The game did not count in the Big Ten standings. 

While the Terps dropped two of three that weekend, including a defeat in a regional finals rematch with East Carolina, Maryland comes into Friday’s game with high spirits. The Terps took two of three from first-place Rutgers in a series that concluded on Monday due to the weekend rain.

The Terps offense was out in full force, scoring 32 runs, including 11 home runs, over the three-game series. That continues an excellent last two weeks for Maryland hitters, who have scored at least seven runs in nine of their last 10 games.

Michigan Wolverines (25-21, 10-8 Big Ten)

Last season

The Wolverines finished third in the conference last season, one game behind Maryland. Like Maryland, they qualified for the NCAA Tournament. They went 0-2 in the regional series, losing by five or more runs to both Connecticut and Central Michigan. Michigan dropped three of the five games played against the Terps last season. Three of those games were played during the second-to-last weekend of the regular season, just like this year’s series.

This season

The Wolverines are full of offensive weapons, led by MLB Draft prospects Clark Elliott and Tito Flores. As a team, Michigan ranks top five in the conference in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and stolen bases. They are coming off a season-high 21-run performance against a Wright State squad that made the NCAA Tournament last season. 

The Wolverines’ pitching, however, has struggled. The team has the third-worst ERA in the conference at 6.41. They rank among the Big Ten’s worst in runs, hits, walks and batting average against.

Hitters to Watch

Elliott, a preseason All-Big Ten selection, paces the team in batting average, OPS, runs, walks and RBI. The junior has collected multiple hits in eight of his last 14 games, including a three-hit afternoon with four RBI versus Wright State on Wednesday.

Flores ranks among the team’s top 3 in batting average, OPS, hits, RBI and home runs, which he leads the Wolverines with 10. The Detroit native has collected at least two hits in six of his last 11 games, including a two-hit, 3-RBI day against Wright State. Flores was named Second Team All-Big Ten last season. 

Michigan has four other hitters with at least eight home runs each: graduate students Joe Stewart (9) and Matt Frey (8), d1baseball.com’s top infield draft prospect Ted Burton (8) and Third Team All-Big Ten honoree Jimmy Obertop (8).

Pitchers to Watch

Right-hander Chase Allen holds a team-low 3.84 ERA and has made 19 appearances, including five starts, for the Wolverines. The sophomore also leads the team with a perfect record of 6-0 and is holding opponents to a .224 batting average. Each of his last four outings have been Sunday starts, in which he’s gone at least five innings in each start. The righty presents Michigan’s best opportunity to win when he is on the mound.

Friday night starter Connor O’Halloran is another starter expected to see action this weekend. The lefty leads the team in innings (67.1) and strikeouts (80) and has started in all 13 games he’s appeared in this season. O’Halloran has the ability to pitch deep into games, going seven-plus innings three times this year. However, the pitch count can be a concern for him, as he’s thrown at least 107 pitches in five of his last six starts.

Probable Starting Pitcher Matchups

Friday, 6:30 p.m. ET

So. RHP Jason Savacool (7-2, 2.59 ERA) vs. So. LHP Connor O’Halloran (4-3, 4.41 ERA)

Savacool will make his first Friday start of the season after lasting only one inning on Sunday due to back soreness. In his shortened outing, the righty gave up two hits on three runs (two earned) along with one strikeout and one walk. Despite lasting only one inning, he still remains the conference leader in innings pitched (80) and strikeouts (95). His seven wins rank second in the Big Ten and his 2.59 ERA ranks third. 

O’Halloran earned a no-decision last Friday versus a solid Indiana lineup, going 5.1 innings, surrendering four runs on six hits, striking out eight and walking three. The key for the lefty is striking out hitters- Michigan is 5-0 when he records at least eight punchouts. However, the home run ball has bitten the sophomore lately. After allowing no home runs through his first 50.2 innings this season, he’s surrendered six homers in his last three outings, including three in last Friday’s start.

Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET

Jr. LHP Ryan Ramsey (9-0, 2.47 ERA) vs. Jr. RHP Cameron Weston (4-3, 4.72 ERA)

Arguably the top pitcher in the Big Ten, Ramsey continued his dominance last weekend versus one of the best hitting teams in the nation in Rutgers. Ramsey went six innings, gave up two earned runs on four hits, recorded one strikeout and allowed two walks on 91 pitches en route to his conference-leading ninth win of the year. 

Weston had heightened expectations coming into the season, as he was ranked a top-five Big Ten pitching prospect by d1baseball.com. The righty has been consistent all season long, but not as effective as many predicted. The junior has given up between two and four earned runs in all but one of his starts. Weston is coming off a mediocre outing in which he allowed three earned runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings. He walked three and struck out five on 102 pitches.

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Nick Dean (4-2, 4.01 ERA) vs. So. RHP Chase Allen (6-0, 3.84 ERA)

Since being moved to a Sunday starting role, Dean has shined on the mound, allowing just two earned runs on four hits in 11 innings. The junior earned the win in Monday’s rubber match in Piscataway, going six innings, allowing two earned runs (both solo homers) on three hits while striking out nine and walking two. The righty will look to continue his momentum against a hot Michigan lineup.

Recently moved into a starting role, Allen has been the Wolverines’ most consistent pitcher all year. The righty sits just outside the conference top 10 in ERA and has made the second most appearances (19) for Michigan this season. Last Sunday’s start versus Indiana was his worst outing of the season, as he allowed a season-high six earned runs in six innings and earned the no-decision. Allen will return to the site of his collegiate debut, which he made last April. 

Series Preview: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

First place in the Big 10 is on the line this weekend as No. 18 Maryland travels to Piscataway, New Jersey for a three-game series against the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. This Rutgers team will pose the most difficult challenge yet in conference play for the Terps, both teams entering action with 36 wins on the season. If Maryland can pick up a sweep this weekend, they’ll find themselves leaders of the Big 10 with six games to go.

It was another successful week for the Terps, winning a weekend series over Northwestern that saw three fantastic starting pitching performances including Ryan Ramsey’s perfect game on Friday night. Tuesday’s showdown with Georgetown saw another dominating performance by this Maryland lineup, lighting up the Hoyas pitching staff for 19 runs.

Chris Alleyne and Maxwell Costes continue to provide the power to this lineup, each hitting a home run over the weekend against Northwestern. The pair of sluggers currently sit at one and two in the Big 10 for homers, Alleyne on top with fourteen and Costes right behind him with thirteen.

Kevin Keister had a huge game on Tuesday, going four of five and driving in three runs against Georgetown. After a really difficult start to the season that saw him platooning with Drew Grace and Jacob Orr, Keister is now batting .328 and has firmly secured his spot as the starting second baseman.

Freshman pitcher Matt Cunningham made a great first impression on Tuesday, striking out the side in order in his first outing as a Terp.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (36-10, 15-3 Big Ten)

Last Season

2021 saw a middle-of-the-road year for Rutgers in a season of conference-only games, going 21-23 and finishing eighth in the Big 10. Hitting was a struggle for this team a year ago, having a conference third worst .257 batting average. Pitching was a bit better but still toward the middle of the league, finishing seventh in the Big 10 with a 5.00 ERA. By the end of the season, 21 wins were not enough to earn the Scarlet Knights a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

This Season

There were not too many people outside the Rutgers dugout who would have told you back in February that this team would be in first place in the Big 10 with three weeks to go in the regular season, not even projected to finish in the top six based on the preseason coaches poll. Yet after the first week of May, that’s exactly where they find themselves. At 15-3, the Scarlet Knights enter the weekend two and a half games ahead of second place Maryland, meaning only a Terps sweep will be able to dethrone them. Timely hitting and dominance on the mound have been key for Steve Owens’ team. At the plate, the Scarlet Knights lead the Big 10 in batting average, hits and runs scored. At 3.52, Rutgers also boasts the second-best team ERA in the conference.

Hitters to Watch

You would be hard-pressed to find a hitter in this Rutgers lineup who is not having a fantastic year. Currently, there are seven players, all consistent starters, who are batting over .300 on the season.

The best among them has without a doubt been redshirt junior Nick Cimillo. His name appears all over the Big 10 leaderboards, sitting in the top five for batting average, slugging percentage, OBP, OPS and runs scored.

Sophomore Ryan Lasko was awarded national player of the week by D1 Baseball for his performance last week where he went a combined 14 of 21 against Hofstra and Ohio State, hitting five home runs and driving in fourteen. He has also won Big 10 Player of the Week twice this year, consistently providing a spark for this Rutgers lineup no matter who the opposing pitcher may be.

Pitchers to Watch

Redshirt junior Dale Stanavich has been almost unhittable out of the bullpen this year for Rutgers. In 18 appearances, the Scarlet Knights closer has allowed just three earned runs across 23 1/3 innings. He will be a lethal weapon against the Maryland lineup late in games this weekend.

Redshirt sophomore Sam Bello has been a great bullpen piece this year for Rutgers as well. Aside from one tough four-run outing against Coastal Carolina, the reliever has not allowed more than two runs in any appearances and enters the weekend with 2.10 ERA. His best outing of the season came back in February where he provided 4 1/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen in a win over Houston Baptist.

Probable Starting Pitcher Matchups

Saturday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Jr. LHP Ryan Ramsey (8-0, 2.42 ERA) vs. 5th Year Sr. RHP Jared Kollar (7-1, 2.76 ERA)

There really isn’t much more to say about Ryan Ramsey’s performance last Friday night that hasn’t already been said. He completely outmatched Northwestern’s lineup on the way to throwing just the 34th perfect game in the history of college baseball. It was an utter display of dominance that truly encapsulated how good he has been this season. Entering the weekend, the Maryland lefty finds himself fourth in the conference in ERA, second in opposing batting average, first in wins and seventh in strikeouts.

Jared Kollar will get the start opposite Ramsey on Saturday. A graduate transfer from Seton Hill University, he has provided a great lift to this pitching staff, posting a 2.73 ERA and 1.02 WHIP to this point. His best start of the season came back in March against Omaha where he went 7 1/3 shutout innings, only allowing two total hits.

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

So. RHP Jason Savacool (7-2, 2.39 ERA) vs. 5th Year Sr. Nathan Florence (5-2, 2.94 ERA)

Jason Savacool will get the ball in game two of the series, coming off yet another fantastic performance. With so much to live up to following Ramsey’s perfect game, the sophomore went seven shutout innings, only allowing three hits and lowering his season ERA to 2.39, good for second best in the Big 10. With nine punchouts in the performance as well, he continued on his path to striking out the most batters in the conference, now 15 K’s ahead of second place in that category. A late-inning comeback by Northwestern prevented Savacool from getting the win, but he’ll enter the weekend with lots of momentum on his side.

Another graduate transfer for Rutgers, Nathan Florence has been a welcome addition to this pitching staff alongside Kollar. He hasn’t necessarily been an innings eater for the Scarlet Knights, only pitching up to six innings in one start, but he has very effective nonetheless. His best outing by far came against Nebraska on April 9, where he went five innings, only allowing two total baserunners and striking out seven.

Monday, 1:00 p.m. ET

Jr. RHP Nick Dean (3-2, 4.12 ERA) vs. So. LHP Justin Sinibaldi (2-0, 5.81 ERA)

Moving to the Sunday spot seemed to have worked for Nick Dean as we saw a version of him closer to what he looked like back in February and early March. Over five innings he did not allow a run to Northwestern and only gave up one hit. There still seemed to be some issues with his command though as he allowed four walks, but the outing as a whole was still very encouraging as the end of the regular season draws closer.

It’s been tough going for Sinibaldi since he assumed the Sunday starter role at the beginning of April, only going more than three innings once in his past four starts. In his last start against Ohio State he only lasted 2/3 of an inning, allowing four runs, three hits and three walks to the Buckeyes lineup. He was also brought out of the bullpen on Tuesday to face two batters in a loss to Seton Hall, so it will be interesting to see how long he is allowed to go on Monday given the abnormal week he has had.

Midweek Preview: Georgetown Hoyas

With two midweek games remaining in the 2022 season, No. 18 Maryland will square off with a familiar foe in the Georgetown Hoyas Tuesday evening at The “Bob.” It’s the third time the Terps will play the Hoyas this season, having won their two previous meetings in early March, and they’ll be looking to take care of business again for what could be Maryland’s eighth-straight midweek victory.

The Terps enter Tuesday coming off yet another series win in Big Ten play, taking two of three from a middling Northwestern Wildcats squad. Despite the series win, which keeps the Terps undefeated in Big Ten series, Maryland still finds itself in second-place in the conference standings.

With the first-place Rutgers Scarlet Knights looming large this weekend, Tuesday’s date with Georgetown should serve as a tune-up before heading into the arguably the most important series of the season.

Georgetown Hoyas (26-18, 7-8 Big East)

Last Season:

The Hoyas were the gutter of the Big East last season, going 6-19 in the conference. Many of the heavy-hitters on today’s squad hadn’t reached that level in 2021, and the Georgetown pitching weighed the team down with a collective 5.83 ERA.

This Season:

The Hoyas at this point have gone eight games over .500 overall, but are struggling to stay above that mark when it comes to their 7-8 conference record. There are really just two main contenders in the Big East this season (Connecticut, Creighton), which has left the Hoyas in the middle of the pack. Their hitting is what has separated them from the bottom-tier Big East teams, but the pitching — especially the starting pitching — has kept them from making a serious push at the top-tier teams.

Hitters to Watch:

Jake Hyde has stood out the most for the Hoyas lineup this season, and he’ll certainly be the top priority for Maryland’s scouting after his three-hit performance in an earlier matchup this season. One of those hits was a home run against midweek starter Logan Ott, and Hyde leads his team with 17 of those. Right behind him in long balls is Ubaldo Lopez with 16. Together, Hyde’s 1.157 OPS and Lopez’s 1.062 OPS continue to pose a threat to Maryland pitching.

Pitchers to Watch:

Georgetown’s pitching strength comes directly out of the bullpen as four Hoyas relievers have posted ERA’s below 3.50. With probable starter Andrew Williams tending to go just an inning deep like he has in recent starts, it may be a relay race to the finish out of Georgetown’s bullpen. Most notably, Anthony Redferd owns a 2.50 ERA in 15 appearances and has notched two saves.

Probable Pitching Matchup

The Terps have won six-straight Logan Ott starts, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for them to divert from him as the midweek guy to round out the season. Although his last start against the Hoyas wasn’t very strong (5 ER, 2 IP), the Terps offense rallied to claim a 10-9 victory.

Judging by that last Ott matchup against Georgetown, the Hoyas are likely to send freshman Andrew Williams to the mound again. Most of Williams’ last several starts haven’t gone beyond an inning, and his season ERA sits at 5.54. The freshman is capable of a quality outing, having pitched eight strikeouts in five innings against UMass (March 4) and seven strikeouts in seven innings against Mount St. Mary’s (March 18).

Maryland wins rubber match, takes down Northwestern 10-5

Even before the rain started to come down, Maryland’s pitchers struggled with command. Starter Nick Dean and relievers Nick Robinson and Nigel Belgrave combined to issue eight walks, a few of them proving costly. Three free passes in the top of the seventh allowed Northwestern to take its first lead of the afternoon, going ahead, 4-3. 

The answer came quickly. Immediately, the Terps loaded the bases. Freshman Ian Petrutz came to the plate with the bases full and no outs. He spiked a ball into the infield turf, giving the Wildcats’ second baseman a tough play. The fielder fumbled, unable to get a glove or hand on it as the rain grew stronger. 

The run tied the contest and sparked a rally. Maryland scored three more in the inning to regain a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The score ultimately grew to 10-5, giving the Terps their fifth straight weekend series victory. 

Dean, pitching for the first time on Sunday, settled into the role the way Coach Rob Vaughn hoped he would. Although he worked slow, allowing several counts to go deep and issuing more free passes than strikeouts, he held Northwestern scoreless in the early innings. 

Troy Schreffler Jr. second inning solo home run, his seventh of the season, was it as far as offense went. Through the opening four innings, his run was the source of the only scoring. 

“The past few weeks I’ve been struggling a little bit,” Schreffler Jr. said. “I wanted to get back in the action.”

Wildcats starter Grant Comstock worked nearly as efficiently as Dean did through four, but Maryland jumped on him in the fifth. A Bobby Zmarzlak single scored Schreffler, who led the inning with a double. 

An inning later, Luke Shliger began with a double, tagged on a fly ball to advance to third and scored on a Lorusso sacrifice fly. The small ball approach gave Maryland, the Big Ten’s leading team in home runs, a 3-1 lead.

After loading the bases in relief of Dean, Maryland reliever Nick Robinson stared down the heart of Northwestern’s lineup in the sixth inning. Leading by two runs, a one-out groundout scored one and cut that advantage in half. Again facing the bases loaded with Maryland’s lead in danger, Robinson induced another ground ball. 

This one was stung, unlike the prior hitter’s soft grounder to second base. This one went to third baseman Lorusso. On one hop, he threw his glove at the ball, spun around allowing his momentum to take him, and threw flat-footed to a fully extended Maxwell Costes at first base to keep the lead alive. 

In the bottom half of the sixth, it was Lorusso’s turn to come through in the clutch with a runner in scoring position. After Luke Shliger doubled to leadoff the frame and eventually advanced to third, a long fly ball to the centerfield warning track was enough to extend the lead to 4-1. 

When Maryland’s bullpen blew up an inning later, Vaughn called on David Falco Jr. to halt the slide. After cleaning up the mess Belgrave handed him, Falco came back for the eighth, where a strikeout and two weak balls in play ended the inning quickly. 

With the rain impacting his ability to grip the ball and move on the muddy mound, Falco Jr. was forced to adjust. 

“Just simplify my mechanics the best I can,” he said. “You don’t want to get too crazy, you start sliding.” 

After a three-run bottom of the eighth, Sean Heine killed a small Northwestern rally before it could linger.

“I talked to David and Heine both yesterday after the game,” Vaughn said. “Let’s just call it was it is, they were bad yesterday and I told them that. If we have another opportunity we’re going right back to you guys.” 

NO. 23 TERPS DROP 7-4 DECISION TO NORTHWESTERN 


(RECAP COURTESY OF MARYLAND ATHLETICS)

COLLEGE PARK, MD — After Jason Savacool threw seven scoreless innings, No. 23 Maryland allowed five runs in the eighth inning as Northwestern beat the Terps, 7-4. The Terps are now 34-9 and 10-4 in the Big Ten. On Maryland Day Saturday, a crowd of 2,576 came out to Bob ‘Turtle’ Smith Stadium, the largest in the last 30 years. This was just Maryland’s second loss at home this season, as the Terps are now 18-2 in College Park. 

Savacool continued his stellar pitching as he threw those seven innings, allowing just three hits. He struck out nine.  

Nick Lorusso drove in two runs as he went 3-for-4 with two RBIs with a home run. Matt Shawalso hit a home run, coming back-to-back with Lorusso’s blast in the eighth.  Luke Shliger hit a solo homer to center field in the ninth. 

Northwestern moved to 20-18 and 7-7 in the Big Ten. 

Breaking Down The Action
• Maryland took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Lorusso’s rip down the line to scored Alleyne. 
• The teams traded six scoreless innings through the seventh.
• Northwestern tied the game on a line sacrifice fly to left by Jay Beshears to score Tony Livemore.  Then the Wildcats scored four more runs to take a 5-1 lead in the top of the eighth. 
• Lorusso clubbed his ninth home run of the season — a blast off The Shell —  to cut the defcit to 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth. The next batter, Shaw smashed a solo homer to nearly the same place in leftfield. 
• Anthony Calarco added a run with a homer to left in the top of the ninth to make it 6-3. Northwestern tacked on another score to make it 7-3. 
• Shliger hit the Terps’ third homer in two innings, leading of the bottom of the ninth to make it 7-4. 

Series Preview: Northwestern Wildcats

Winners of 13 of its last 16 games, No. 23 Maryland enters this weekend’s series against Northwestern as one of the country’s hottest teams. In a similar standing in the RPI leaderboard (24th), the Terps have positioned themselves nicely for a favorable postseason draw. Some projections have Maryland hosting a regional, something it has never been able to do and an accomplishment Coach Rob Vaughn desires but won’t let it distract the team. 

Prior to its 18-10 win over Navy on Tuesday at home, Maryland took two of three at Illinois last weekend. After losing the series opener by a lopsided score of 19-1, the program’s largest margin of defeat since joining the Big Ten, the Terps crawled back and took games two and three in a Saturday doubleheader. Luke Shliger and Chris Alleyne combined to drive in seven of Maryland’s 13 runs in the afternoon battle, whereas the middle of the order came through in the evening contest. Matt Shaw, Max Costes and Troy Schreffler scored six of the seven total runs. 

Northwestern (19-17, 6-6)

Last season

In a shortened 2021 schedule against only conference opponents, Northwestern finished 15-21 including four losses in as many games to Maryland in two separate two-game series. 

This season

While Northwestern currently sits above the .500 mark, it’s a measly 6-14 away from Evanston, Illinois this season. At seventh in the Big Ten standings, the Wildcats sit almost perfectly average in several statistics. They’re seventh in team batting average, fifth in home runs and seventh in on-base percentage. Northwestern pitchers sport the fourth-lowest ERA in the conference and have given up the seventh-fewest long balls. 

Hitters to watch

Outfielder Ethan O’Donnell and infielders Anthony Calarco, Jay Beshears and Patrick Herrera all tout batting averages north of .300 and an OPS of over .900, the only Wildcats who have that distinction. O’Donnell leads the team in home runs with nine with catcher Stephen Hrustich trailing just behind with eight. 

O’Donnell, Calarco and Beshears typically go 1-2-3 in the Northwestern batting order, a potential source of early torment for the Maryand pitching staff. 

Pitchers to watch

Outside of its weekend rotation, Northwestern’s most used and best reliever this season has been right-handed junior Coby Moe. His 3.67 ERA and 1.44 WHIP are both fourth best of the Wildcats’ entire staff. He’s thrown 27 innings to date this year.

From there, the bullpen drops off considerably. Only one other pitcher who has logged at least 10 innings has an ERA below four. Four relievers who’ve garnered considerable innings bring ERA’s over seven into this weekend’s series. 

Moe should be Northwestern’s go-to option out of the bullpen again this weekend, but Maryland’s best chance to win will come through getting to the rest of the Wildcats’ thin bullpen. 

Probable starting pitcher matchups 

Friday 6:30 p.m.

Jr. LHP Ryan Ramsey (7-0, 2.77 ERA) vs. Fr. LHP Sean Sullivan (5-0, 2.68 ERA)

vs.

MBN’s Matt Levine reported Thursday that Nick Dean was going to slide into the Sunday spot in the weekend rotation, likely due to his recent struggles along with Ryan Ramsey and Jason Savacool’s strong recent outings. Ramsey now moves up to the Friday night role, and deservedly so; He’s allowed more than three runs in a start just once this season. His dominance has allowed the Maryland pitching staff to not skip a beat despite Dean’s recent shortcomings.

Saturday 2:00 p.m.

So. RHP Jason Savacool (7-2, 2.63 ERA) vs. Gs. RHP Michael Fairnelli (4-4, 3.59 ERA)

vs.

Savacool has been one of the conference’s, if not the country’s, best hurlers in recent weeks. He’s lasted at least seven innings in each of his last four starts and has let up three or fewer runs in five of his last seven. He’s been dominant for Maryland on Sundays, and now moves up to Saturdays.

Fairnelli has been a workhorse for the Wildcats. He leads the team in innings pitched, has worked at least into the sixth inning in all but two starts and has gone at least seven innings in four of his last five games. 

Sunday 1:00 p.m.

Jr. RHP Nick Dean (3-2, 4.53 ERA) vs. Fr. RHP Grant Comstock (0-3, 6.20 ERA)

vs.

Dean’s last start at Illinois was a continuation of what’s been a disappointing second half to his junior season. He allowed five runs in four innings to the Illini and has now let in nine runs over his last 10 innings. Since returning from an arm injury in mid-March, the Big Ten’s preseason pitcher of the year has allowed four or more runs in half of his starts. Sunday is another chance to right the ship, but he’s running out of opportunities with just a few weeks remaining before the postseason. 

Maryland tops Navy in high-scoring midweek affair

In just the second matchup in eight years between the No. 23 Maryland Terrapins and the Navy Midshipmen, the Terps defeated the Midshipmen, 18-10, in a high scoring bout. Both teams had a bullpen day with a total of 14 pitchers seeing action. The back and forth affair had offense all over the field, but specifically sophomore designated hitter Luke Shliger and senior center fielder Chris Alleyne were firing on all cylinders Tuesday night accounting for seven hits and eight RBI.

Maryland started out a tad slow in the top of the first inning, with two errors leading to two runs. Freshman starting pitcher Andrew Johnson accounted for one of the errors and didn’t last past the opening inning as sophomore pitcher Logan Ott took his spot to start the second frame. 

The Terps regained their footing thanks to a Midshipmen error of their own allowing Maryland to respond with two runs in the bottom half of the first inning. Shliger and senior outfielder Chris Alleyne scored on a lead-off walk and a triple respectively, tying up the ball game 2-2 after the first. 

With the top of the order up again in the third, Shliger and Alleyne capitalized again with a lead-off walk and a nuke to right field for Alleyne for a 4-2 lead. Senior first baseman Maxwell Costes would later drive in another run with an RBI single to give Maryland a 5-2 lead. 

Sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw added a three run home run to the scoreboard in the fifth to break open the game 9-2. On the flip side, the Terps were also looking strong on the mound and in the field through four innings. 

Ott, who frequently pitches midweek games, didn’t flinch as soon as he entered the ballgame. The sophomore got Navy down in order in the second and fourth innings, and didn’t allow a hit until the fifth. While he looked strong, Ott gave up a pair of singles followed by a three-run shot to pull within four runs in the fifth inning. 

The Midshipmen were able to keep pace with the Terps battling back from seven down. Navy answered with seven of their own runs during the fifth and sixth innings, getting the job done in almost every fashion.

Maryland, who looked shaky and potentially ready to cough up a big lead, answered the bell and came back with nine runs of their own over the last three innings. Alleyne added to his home run total yet again, and took sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with a three run blast for his 13th homer of the year. The Terps tallied six home runs against the Midshipmen, 

The Terps, who have now tallied three wins in a row, will turn to the Northwestern Wildcats who will visit College Park and rank in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten. The Wildcats are in the upper echelon of the conference in batting, pitching and fielding which will be a great test for Maryland. 

Midweek Preview: Navy Midshipmen

No. 23 Maryland is coming into the week fresh off a series win against the Illinois Fighting Illini. The trip up to Champaign started very rocky as the Terps’ five game winning streak was put to an end with a 19-1 loss. Maryland used six different pitchers and could barely find its offensive firepower. Before that, Maryland hadn’t conceded more than nine runs in a single game. 

However, Maryland bounced back nicely, picking up two wins on Saturday in a double-header. The first of which took an extra inning to decide. The 13-9 victory for Maryland was earned by extra inning hits from sophomore catcher Luke Shliger and senior outfielder Chris Alleyne, who drove in runs to provide the four run cushion for the Terps. 

The late night game featured sophomore pitcher Jason Savacool getting through eight innings and striking out nine batters. In the 7-4 win, senior Maxwell Costes and junior Troy Schreffler both had two hits and two RBI. The Terps improved to 32-8 on the season and 9-3 in Big Ten play. 

Maryland turns to the Navy Midshipmen for a midweek game in College Park Tuesday evening. 

Navy Midshipmen (18-22, 9-13)

Last Season:

The Midshipmen finished with a 17-15 record last season and an 11-12 record in conference. While Navy isn’t having the hottest year thus far, the Midshipmen are always dangerous and are primed for an upset against anyone in the country with Head Coach Paul Kostacopoulos at the helm. Kostacopoulos is the second winningest coach in program history. 

This season:

Navy is 18-22 on the season and hasn’t played anyone to the level of the Terps this year. They have series wins against Air Force, UMBC and Holy Cross. The Midshipmen aren’t the hottest pitching team in the country with a collective 6.49 ERA, which is where Maryland can make them pay. 

Hitters to Watch For:

Senior catcher Christian Policelli leads the team with 53 hits on the season and a batting average of .342. While Policelli only has two home runs on the season, he gets on base and drives in runs with 28 RBI on the year which also leads the team. 

Junior outfielder Colin Smith also has an average slightly above .300, and leads the team in home runs with three. The Midshipmen don’t have a ton of ammunition when it comes to hitting, but these two can definitely make you pay at the plate. 

Probable Starting Pitching Matchup:

Logan Ott vs. Zach Powers

In Ott’s last outing against Towson, he went 3 2/3 innings, striking out one but only allowing one run as well. He will look to build on his already impressive midweek track record this season and lead the Terps to another victory.

Powers, a sophomore right handed pitcher, is 1-6 in games this season and has only pitched a total of eight innings this season. The Maryland hitters will look to pounce on Powers early and knock him out of the game, which seems to be a common occurrence for the underclassman.