Maryland comes through with runners in scoring position, out-slugs Georgetown, 10-7

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland’s offense put up 10 runs and the bullpen shut down the late innings to carry the Terps over Georgetown, 10-7.

The Terps (15-9) came into this mid-week matchup after winning two of three against UCF in the weekend series. Maryland dropped the first game of the weekend, then fired back in the final two games, scoring 16 runs on Saturday and Kyle McCoy’s dominant outing on Sunday. The Hoyas (14-10) entered this game after a 3-1 week, sweeping Dayton in their weekend series. 

Maryland sent Nate Haberthier to the mound for his fourth start of the year. Haberthier started the year as the Terps’ Sunday starter, but with the emergence of Kyle McCoy, Haberthier came out of the bullpen in his last two Sunday appearances. Haberthier is sporting a 5.31 ERA and 1.33 WHIP this season. 

The Georgetown starter was Kai Leckszas. Leckszas made his fourth start as well. Leckszas entered the game with a 1.42 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 12.2 innings of work. 

Maryland’s lineup featured the same three at the top with Luke Shliger penciled in as the designated hitter. James Heffley got his first start of the season behind the plate and Jacob Orr started in center for the third-consecutive game. 

The lineup did the damage early blitzing the Hoyas for two runs in the bottom of the first. The inning started with a walk by Shliger who then advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundout by Nick Lorusso. Matt Shaw drove him in with a triple that missed being a home run by about two feet. Ian Petrutz drove in the second run with a base hit giving the Terps a 2-0 lead. 

Nate Haberthier pitched a fantastic first inning, retiring the side in order and striking out the first two Georgetown batters. The second inning was not so fantastic. The Hoyas’ first two batters reached base. Haberthier made a good pitch to Christian Ficca, getting him to ground into a double play. 

Haberthier walked the next two batters to load the bases. Then, Keith Savoy Jr. tied the game with a two out double just out of the reach of a leaping Shaw at shortstop. The double drove in two, tying the game. 

Maryland retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning with key two-out hitting. Heffley earned a walk after the first two Maryland hitters recorded outs to start the inning. Shliger drove him in with his first hit of the day, putting the Terps on top, 3-2.

The third inning meant the end for both starting pitchers. Haberthier finished the game with two innings pitched allowing two runs to cross the plate. Haberthier walked as many as he struck out, three. Leckszas ended his day haven given up three earned runs, walking two, and striking out one. 

New pitchers didn’t mean an end to the offensive display. The teams traded blows in the third, matching each other with two runs apiece. The Hoyas scored their two runs via a 2-run homer off the bat of reigning Big East Player of the Week, Ubaldo Lopez. Maryland’s two runs came from an RBI single from Eddie Hacopian, retaining the one-run lead. 

The lead vanished in the top of the fourth behind the bat of Austin Kretzschmar. With two runners on via the walk, Kretzschmar got a pitch to hit from Logan Ott (who replaced Haberthier) and didn’t miss it, depositing it over the fence in left field. The big fly gave the Hoyas a 7-5 advantage.

The Terps got one back in the bottom half of the inning, but the bats came up big in the bottom of the fifth. Following a 1-2-3 inning pitched by Andrew Johnson (who replaced Ott), Maryland’s first since the first inning, the Terps put runners on first and second with two outs. 

“AJ [Andrew Johnson] came in and threw a ton of strikes and was able to kind of stabilize that for the rest of the guys the rest of the way,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “I thought he was absolutely outstanding.”

The two runners, Heffley and Shliger, reached base via a hit-by-pitch and walk. The free passes brought up Lorusso, who was 0-3 on the day. Lorusso jumped on a 2-1 pitch from Jordan Yoder, sending the ball over the fence in left-center. His tenth home run of the year gave the Terps a 9-7 lead. 

“I turned to our dugout in that situation, He [Lorusso] had three at-bats that weren’t his best and I turned around and I said sometimes boys, your best player has to be your best player, and about two pitches later he runs it out of the yard,” said Vaughn. 

The bullpen took over from there holding the Hoyas scoreless the rest of the way. The bullpen combination of Johnson, David Falco Jr., Kenny Lippman, and Ryan Van Buren combined for five innings pitched allowing just three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. 

Van Buren got the final three outs in the top of the ninth to secure the 10-7 win and earn himself his first save of the season. 

The offense had another solid day at the plate. Though the team ended with just six hits for the game; they got those hits when they were needed. The team batted .400 with both runners on and in scoring position. Six different Terps recorded an RBI in the game, and as a whole, the team walked 10 times. 

“That’s what the pack should look like. When we’re operating like the pack offensively that’s what it is,” said Vaughn. “Timely hitting far trumps lots of hits and that’s what we were tonight.”

The Terps will face their first Big Ten opponent on Friday taking on No. 25 Iowa in Iowa City.