Matt Woods’ eight-inning blast powers Maryland baseball over George Washington

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Matt Woods stood at the plate in the bottom eighth with the score tied, 5-5. Luke Shliger stood at third and Nick Lorusso at first. Woods got the pitch he wanted, blasting it over the batter’s eye in center, his fifth home run of the season, giving Maryland the lead and the eventual victory.

“That’s what you sign up for, like if you sign up to play college baseball and only hit when you’re up fifteen or down fifteen you’re probably not playing the right sport,” said Woods. 

Maryland beat George Washington, 9-6, bringing the Terps’ record to 12-8 on the season. 

The Terps came into this midweek matchup winning two of three against the Albany Great Danes. An 18-run offensive explosion won them their first game and a pitching masterclass from Kyle McCoy and Nate Haberthier won them their second. The Terps’ one loss came on Saturday. The loss ended their six-game winning streak.

In this matchup, Maryland sent Logan Ott to the bump. Ott appeared in four games previously out of the bullpen all in midweek games. In 17 innings, Ott has a 4.24 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. George Washington sent Max Haug to the hill. Haug has appeared in five games this season compiling an ERA close to 10. 

The Terps had a small shakeup in the lineup. Devin Russell, the freshman from Boonton Township, New Jersey, got his first collegiate start behind the plate. Russell appeared in one game prior, the 25-run game against Maine, working two walks and scoring two runs.

Luke Shliger remained atop the lineup as the designated hitter. The odd man out was Ian Petrutz, who struggled against Albany, hitting 1-11 on the weekend. 

It didn’t take long for either offense to get going. Shliger and Matt Shaw launched a pair of solo homers to put the Terps up 2-0 in the first. That lead evaporated at the top of the second. 

Ott, after retiring the Colonials in order in the first, gave up three-straight singles to start the inning. Michael Kohn, the Colonials’ leader in doubles, stepped to the plate with the bases juiced. It wasn’t a double this time, instead it was a grand slam. The homer gave George Washington the lead, 4-2. 

Ott’s day ended after pitching a clean inning in the third. Ott finished the game by giving up six hits and four runs. Ott only had one strikeout getting the other eight outs off contact. 

“When he’s down and he’s around the knee and the changeups working and the sliders turning, he’s pretty effective,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “I thought he got elevated with a team with a really good plan and approach and they made him pay for it.”

Kenny Lippman relieved Ott to start the fourth and the first batter he faced was Kohn. Lippman walked the first baseman. Kohn advanced to second on a wild pitch then came home to score on a fly out and ground out. The run extended the George Washington lead to three. 

The Terps’ lineup went cold following the two runs in the first. Maryland put runners on the bases in the next four innings, but they couldn’t move any of them across the plate. Through five innings Maryland went 1-12 with runners on base and hit .111 with runners in scoring position. 

“If you looked at our at-bats individually all game they were really really good we just kept finding ways to blow the inning up,” said Vaughn. “Just kept kind of blowing it up early.”

George Washington pulled Haug after five innings. Haug pitched well for the Colonials, allowing just two runs to score despite giving up six Maryland hits. The new pitcher was Brayden Kurtz. 

The change in pitchers benefited Maryland. Shliger ended the scoreless streak in the sixth with an RBI groundout. Shliger drove in Zmarzlak from third after Zmarzlak tripled to start the inning.

After a scoreless seventh, the Maryland lineup erupted for a six-run bottom of the eighth. The rally was sparked by none other than Luke Shliger who hit a single past the diving Levin at second to score Zmarzlak. Nick Lorusso extended his hitting streak to 19 games, driving in Orr with a single. 

Keister ended the scoring with a solo homer, his second of the year, giving the Terps a four-run lead.

George Washington threatened in the ninth, loading the bases against Nigel Belgrave with one out. Belgrave navigated the inning allowing just one run to score and getting the final two outs.

Maryland will travel to Orlando to take on UCF in the weekend series.