Maryland baseball drops weekend series to Ole Miss, mercy-ruled in last game

Ole Miss slugged six home runs and put together two 7-run innings to beat the Terps,18-8, in a seven-inning mercy rule.

The Terps came into this all-deciding Sunday game following a hard loss on Saturday. The Terps held the lead going into the final innings, but their pitching fell apart. The Rebels scored a combined eight runs in the seventh and eighth innings on their way to a 12-6 win.

Ole Miss didn’t miss a beat today. Shortstop Jacob Gonzalez started the game with a leadoff homer. The home run gave the Rebels an early lead and proved to be a precursor to the offensive barrage that would incur from both teams. 

Nick Lorusso put Maryland on the board with his first home run of the season. The two-run shot gave the Terps a lead in the top of the third that would evaporate in the bottom of the inning. 

The Rebels’ scored seven runs on five hits in the inning, three of those hits going for home runs. Haberthier couldn’t record an out in the inning after giving up two of those home runs. The first of the two came on the first pitch of the inning to Peyton Chatagnier. The second came off the bat of Calvin Harris, and drove in three.

Haberthier allowed the next two batters to reach base before he was replaced by Kenny Lippman. Lippman didn’t fare much better against the first batter he faced, TJ McCants. McCants was able to blast the second 3-run home run of the inning over the outfield fence, giving Ole Miss a 8-2 lead. 

“We didn’t get a great start today and they got hot so you’re kind of digging out of a hole,” said Vaughn. 

The Terps retaliated in the top of the fourth with a pair of 2-run home runs of their own. Elijah Lambros was the first to homer, driving in Kevin Keister after he reached base with a walk. Luke Shliger reached on a hit by pitch and after a Matt Shaw strikeout, Nick Lorusso replicated his second inning hitting, blasting another home run to left field. 

Through the top of the seventh there had been seven home runs in the game and every run scored came via the long ball. 

The offense continued to roll in the bottom half of the inning. The new Maryland pitcher Ryan Van Buren was struck early, giving up a single to Ethan Groff. Calvin Harris roped a double that scored Groff, the first run that didn’t come from the long ball. Kemp Alderman singled home Harris to increase the Rebel lead to four. 

Luke Shliger answered the Ole Miss two runs, with two of his own in the top of the fifth. Amidst the boo birds of Swayze Field, Shliger pulled the ball over the right field wall. The third 2-run home run for Maryland decreased the Rebel lead to just two. 

Tommy Kane proved to be a big factor in keeping the Terps in the ball game. Kane came in for Van Buren and got the team out of trouble in the fourth inning. Kane ended the game with four earned runs and five strikeouts, three of those runs coming in a disastrous seventh inning for Maryland. 

With the bases loaded and no outs the Terps turned to right hander Eliakim Stowe. Stowe came in and walked all three of the batters he faced, walking in the three runners Kane allowed on base. Those three runs brought the score to 14-8, which meant that the winning run was coming to the plate for Ole Miss.

“Every time we’d inch closer we kind of you know they would separate, which was a good team. They’re highly ranked. They’re the national champions last year for a reason and our battle was outstanding,” said Vaughn. “We just play good enough.”

The Terps made another pitching change in the inning, bringing in left hander Andrew Johnson. Johnson was tasked with facing Harris, who had previously homered in the game. Harris did just that, hitting his second home run of the game, a walk-off grand slam.

A walk-off might sound weird, especially since it came in the seventh inning, but it all stems from a new SEC rule implemented this year. The rule states that when a team is leading by ten or more runs after the seventh inning, the game is over. The rule is only applicable to SEC games and was implemented this year. When the game is against a non-conference opponent the two coaches must agree to it. 

The seven run seventh inning ended what turned out to be a horrid couple of days for the Maryland bullpen. The Terps’ bullpen has given up a combined 19 runs between Saturday and today. 

“We have enough guys down there. Now it’s our job to kind of figure out how to put them in spots to be successful,” said Vaughn. 

The Terps will need to flush this pitching performance quickly and move on to their next opponent, the Delaware Blue Hens. That game will take place on Tuesday in College Park.