Chris Hacopian’s grand slam breaks it open in Maryland’s third-straight win

Maryland has been known for hard contact, plenty of hits, and home runs for much of the last few seasons. The Terps took a page out of old school baseball’s playbook to stay undefeated on Tuesday this season. 

Maryland scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth propelling the Terps to a midweek victory over James Madison, 9-5, Tuesday evening.

The Terps had runners at the corners and one out as Freshman Jordan Crosland dug into the turf. Crosland had one strike attached to his at-bat as he attempted to bunt Griffin Polley’s offering toward first base. 

Crosland executed the bunt perfectly poking it down the first base line. Jacob Orr sprinted out of his secondary lead at third base diving into home plate with his left hand outstretched. Orr scraped the bottom corner of home plate just before the tag, giving Maryland its first lead since the fourth inning. 

“You just have to, in these situations, you have to prepare these guys for no matter what it is,” said head coach Matt Swope. 

Chris Hacopian ensured a Maryland victory a couple batters later, blasting a no doubt grand slam past the trio of flags in left field. The four RBI hit was his first collegiate grand slam and his sixth home run of the season. 

“I’m getting a little more comfortable, getting a little more [experience] under my shoes and stuff. So I definitely feel better now,” said Chris Hacopian. 

JMU scored one run in the top of the ninth (on a solo home run), but the combination of Omar Melendez and Logan Berrier completed the Terps’ 16th win of the season. Berrier pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the half inning, ending the game on a strikeout. 

The Dukes’ solo homer in the ninth replicated how they started the game, scoring three of its five runs in the first two frames. Two of those runs came via solo homers. 

Mike Mancini led-off the game with his third home run of the season, blasting Van Buren’s offering over the short wall in center field. Mason Dunaway followed Mancini’s example, blasting a solo homer from the fourth spot in the lineup, giving the Dukes a two-run advantage after four hitters. 

James Madison added a third run in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly from Jason Schiavone. The Dukes seemed to have Van Buren figured out, but the right-hander was able to bounce back and hold James Madison to just one run in his final three innings of work. 

Van Buren ended the game pitching five innings allowing four runs to score, of which, three were earned. Van Buren struck out for JMU batters and only walked one. 

Van Buren did get significant run support to aid his bounce back effort. 

The Terps scored four runs in the bottom of the second to take their first lead of the game. The inning started with Jacob Orr working a walk and then Brayden Martin playing some small ball with a bunt single. The bunt was fielded cleanly by the JMU starter, Casey Smith, but his throw was way off the mark heading into the right field allowing the runners to advance into scoring position. 

Jordan Crosland walked to load the bases and in the next at-bat Elijah Lambros scored Maryland’s first run with a sacrifice fly to shallow right field, just far enough for Orr to score from third. Chris Hacopian drove in the next run with an RBI single as the lineup turned over. Eddie Hacopian followed with an RBI double that mishandled in right field. The error allowed the fourth Maryland run to score. 

Smith only allowed those four runs to score in his six innings of work, which is his longest outing of the season. The right-hander gave up eight hits and walked four. Two of the four runs scored while he was on the mound were unearned. 

Maryland only scored in the second and eighth innings and after the first two innings James Madison scored just twice. Melendez was a big part of holding down the JMU offense. The lefty reliever pitched three innings of scoreless baseball, before giving up an earned run in the top of the ninth.  

“He’s unflappable,” said Swope. “He may not have the role that he necessarily likes right now, but [he] hasn’t complained once, has been very professional. What a great teammate, great personality, he’s hysterically funny, and when his number is called he just comes in and he’s just super consistent.”

Maryland will have a couple of days off before starting Big Ten play this Friday at home against Michigan State.