Luke Shliger plays extra-innings hero as Maryland baseball escapes valiant Delaware effort

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Luke Shliger walked to the plate in the top of the 10th inning for his sixth at-bat of the game. Elijah Lambros reached on a hit-by pitch, and now stood on first base. Shliger laced a double down the left field line and Lambros hustled in to score, breaking the tie.

“Going up in that last at-bat, I kind of just got back to myself, staying behind the ball, using the other side of the field, because that’s what makes me good,” said Shliger. 

A base hit by Jacob Orr brought in an insurance run, helping Maryland beat Delaware in an extra-inning thriller, 13-11. 

“Your captain’s having a tough day but steps up and hits a double when it counts and that’s what really good players do,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. 

The Terps came into the mid-week matchup off their best weekend performance of the season. Maryland swept the Maine Black Bears, the Terps first of the season. Maryland’s offense exploded in the series scoring 39 runs on the weekend. 

The high powered Maryland offense took on a Delaware pitcher that they hadn’t seen the game prior. Nate Rolka made his third start of the year. The Terps sent Kenny Lippman to the bump for his first start of the year.

The Maryland offense continued what they did all weekend, hit. The Terps compiled three hits in the first inning, scoring three. The knockscame from Ian Petrutz and Delaware native Kevin Keister. Petrutz’s two-run double drove in Shliger and Lorusso, while Keister’s single drove in Shaw from third. 

The Blue Hens struck back in the bottom half for five runs and the lead. Lippman struggled in the inning, giving up four hits. The Maryland defense struggled as well, recording two errors.

“That was one of the sloppiest baseball games I’ve been a part of in sometime, you know, we had five errors,” said Vaughn. “And all of them were just playing catch. I mean every single one of them, and then there’s probably three or four other plays that don’t go down in the scorebook as an error.”

Joey Loynd was the only Blue Hen to score a run via a hit in the inning. Three runs came on fielder’s choices. The first fielder’s choice to yield runs was a missed double play opportunity. Eddie Hacopian fielded the ball at first and threw to second, but instead of hitting a glove he hit a runner. The fifth run of the inning came on an error by Luke Shliger. 

Both teams replaced their pitchers in the second inning. Wyatt Nelson took over for Delaware, Logan Ott for Maryland. Both pitched clean innings in the second.

The Terps got the long ball working in the next two innings. Matt Woods blasted his second home run of the season to cut the Blue Hen lead in half. Lorusso followed that up with a three run homer in the fourth that gave the Terps a 7-5 lead.

Ott pitched three clean innings before trouble found him in the fifth. After a diving play by Luke Shliger to get the first out of the inning, Bryce Greenly hit a triple. A Loynd single drove him in, and a triple by Jake Dunion tied the score. Andrew Amato hit a 2-run homer to right field to retake the lead. 

The Blue Hens added another run in the bottom of the eighth, but that didn’t stop the Terps from battling back. 

Maryland scored four runs in the top of the ninth, earning a one-run lead. The Terps loaded the bases with one out in the inning. Petrutz walked and Kevin Keister grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring two. Matt Woods drove in the other two with a single to left, putting the Terps ahead one.

The bottom half of the ninth was filled with controversy. With two outs in the inning and a runner at second, Nick Lorusso made a tag on the runner coming to third. The umpire ruled the runner safe on the slide, sayinghe tag was too late. The runner on third scored on a wild pitch, sending the games to extra. 

Following Maryland’s offensive on-slot in the top of the inning, David Falco shut the door on the Blue Hens with a 1-2-3 frame.

Maryland (9-7) heads home to face Albany in the weekend series.