Maryland splits doubleheader, wins series over Rutgers

The Terps and Scarlet Knights played in a series ending double header Saturday with Maryland taking one of the two to win its second consecutive Big Ten series. Maryland’s record improves to 31-18, 10-11 Big Ten, and Rutgers’ record now stands at 26-21, 4-14 Big Ten.  

Game 1

The Terps left eight runners stranded in the first game of the day losing, 2-1, to Rutgers in the afternoon. 

Maryland’s offense had plenty of chances to score, loading the bases in the second and fifth innings. The Terps pushed across one run in the first on an Elijah Lambros walk, but the threat ended with a double play. Maryland failed to drive in any runs in the fifth with the Terps’ two-three-four hitters in the lineup going down in order.

Maryland had a chance in the top of the ninth to prolong the game after Alex Calarco hit a single up the middle with two outs, but a ground out in the next at-bat ended the game. 

Rutgers’ offense didn’t have much of a better day than the Terps, scoring its only two runs on a two-RBI single from left fielder Johnny Volpe in the bottom of the fourth. 

Those were the only two runs Freshman Joey McMannis allowed in his first Saturday start of the season. McMannis labored through much of his outing starting the day with a 31 pitch first inning. McMannis finished the game with 90 pitches giving up six hits while walking and striking out four each.

McMannis’ outing was matched by his opposition, Donovan Zsak, who made his second start in conference play this season. Zsak only allowed the one run in the second and finished his day completing a season high three innings. Zsak walked three and struck out three, giving up just one hit to Eddie Hacopian. 

Rutgers finished the game with a bullpen effort that involved two arms, Sonny Fauci and Joe Mazza. The duo allowed four hits over the final six innings keeping the Maryland offense off the board. The Terps offense finished with five hits, five walks, and no extra base hits. Maryland was held scoreless in all but one inning for the second time in a row. 

The Scarlet Knights faced only one Maryland arm out of the bullpen, Freshman Evan Smith. Smith had similar success to Rutgers’ duo keeping the Scarlet Knights without a run in his four and a third innings. Rutgers’ lineup finished with eight hits, five walks, and seven strikeouts while also being held scoreless in all but one inning. 

The teams had a short break before starting the final game of the series at 3:15 p.m. to decide the winner of the weekend.

Game 2

The Terps seemed to learn from their mistakes, scoring six runs from two bases loaded opportunities leading to their 6-4 win over Rutgers in the evening game. 

The first bases loaded opportunity came in the top of the fourth following three innings of pure dominance from Rutgers starter, Jake Marshall. Marshall retired the Terps in order through the first three frames striking out four. Eddie Hacopian stopped the trend in the fourth with the Terps first hit of the game.

Chris followed him with a single and Sam Hojnar walked, loading the bases with no outs. The Terps scored two runs during Brayden Martin’s at-bat all without a swing. The Hacopian brothers scored on a wild pitch and passed ball putting the Terps up two. Martin singled home Hojnar from third, giving Maryland a three-run advantage.

Maryland scored its fourth run of the game when Devin Russell was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. Elijah Lambros drove in two more with a double to left field plating two more insurance runs for the Terps who led, 6-3, after six. 

The Terps sixth inning rally regained their lead which they lost in the bottom of the fifth due to a two-RBI double by leadoff hitter Johnny Volpe. Volpe’s double was his second hit of the day and fourth RBI adding to his two-RBI double in the first game.  

Those two RBI were credited to Maryland’s starter, Logan Koester. Koester has struggled since the start of Big Ten play, compiling a 10.66 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched. Koester took a step toward lowering his conference ERA allowing three runs over six innings in this start, striking out two and walking none. 

Logan Berrier took over for Koester to start the seventh and went the distance earning his fifth save of the season. The only run to score on Berrier was one he balked in during the bottom of the seventh. The Terps pitching ended the game holding the Rutgers offense to 10 hits, one walk, and three extra base hits. 

Maryland’s offense ended the final three frames scoreless, but it didn’t matter as its six runs scored in the first six frames proved to be enough for the Terps fifth win in seven games. Maryland’s lineup finished the game with six hits, four walks, and seven strikeouts. 

The win aids Maryland’s fight for the eighth position in the Big Ten standings and a berth into the Big Ten Tournament. Maryland came into the weekend ranked 40th in RPI and Rutgers started the series at 54 meaning that the Terps two wins most likely won’t lead to a large jump in RPI for Maryland.

The Terps play a full non-conference slate next week taking on USC Upstate on Wednesday and Boston College on the weekend.