Maryland defeated Rutgers 13-8 as the Terps bats announced their presence with authority in the team’s home opener Friday evening.
Without Maxwell Costes, who was a gameday scratch, Maryland pelted Rutgers pitching with four home runs on the day, led by infielder Ben Cowles. Cowles went 3-4 at the plate with two home runs, three RBI, and three runs scored.
“Thirteen-to-eight is not a normal Friday night score,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “Especially when you have Burke and Rutkowski were going against each other.”
Rutgers took an early lead off Terps starting pitcher Sean Burke. Burke allowed a leadoff double to Josh Rodriguez who later scored on a passed ball by Terps catcher James Heffley giving Rutgers a 1-0 lead. Then, infielder Danny DiGeorgio drove in outfielder Evan Sleight and outfielder Richie Schiekofer with a single to center field that extended the Scarlet Knights first inning lead to 3-0.
In the bottom half of the first inning, Rutgers second baseman Grant Shulman’s error allowed Chris Alleyne to reached base. Randy Bednar drove in Alleyne with an RBI ground out to shortstop, giving the Terps their first run of the game trailing 3-1 at the conclusion of the first inning.
“Bubba [Alleyne] did an unbelievable job for us in the first creating a run without a hit,” Vaughn said. “It’s what seniors do.”
In the second inning, Cowles gave Maryland a 3-2 lead with his first of two home runs off Rutgers starter Harry Rutkowski. However, Rutgers bounced back in in the top half of the third as infielder Chris Brito hit one over the wall in left-center field extending the Scarlet Knights lead to 4-2. That run was the last Burke gave up as he regained his composure and struck out seven batters on the night.
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Tucker Flint got on base with a leadoff walk while Cowles followed that up with a single to field. Alleyne provided the Terps offense with just the spark it needed with a 3-run bomb to left field giving the Terps a 5-4 at the conclusion of four innings and Maryland never looked back.
“It was a really big-time come-from-behind win,” Vaughn said.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Bobby Zmarzlak’s home run made the score 6-4 to extend Maryland’s lead. However, Rutgers tacked on a run in the sixth inning as catcher Peter Serruto singled to start the inning and then scored on a wild pitch.
Building on his momentum from earlier, Cowles hit his second home run of the game extending the Terps lead to 8-5 in the bottom of the sixth. Bednar added an RBI single, which allowed Maryland to continue padding its lead. The seventh inning Maryland’s bat came alive once again pummeling the Scarlet Knights bullpen. Tommy Gardiner drove in Matt Orlando pushing the Terps lead to 10-5. Heffley added an RBI single and later scored on a bases load walk giving Maryland a commanding 12-5 lead after seven innings.
Rutgers scored three runs in the eighth inning, however, that was not enough to overcome the insurmountable lead.
Maryland and Rutgers resume the series with a doubleheader Saturday with Game 1 at noon and Game 2 at 3:30 p.m.