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Maryland baseball cruises to 9-5 win over Baylor to lock up first series win

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The Terps are 2-0 to start the season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland baseball capitalized on Baylor’s errors to put it ahead in the second game of the three-game series.

Baylor third baseman Esteban Cardoza-Oquendo watched the ball escape him as the Terps scored two runs in the first inning. He then had another error in the sixth inning which got Maryland designated hitter Luke Shliger on base, who eventually rounded home off an RBI single which the third baseman couldn’t get his hands on.

Baylor mistakes led to Maryland runs all day in Waco, Texas as star shortstop Matt Shaw and first baseman Maxwell Costes had two RBI’s each on the day. Pitcher Ryan Ramsey allowed five hits and had three strikeouts in his first start of the season.

Left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak also blasted a lead-off homer as the Terps assimilated their presence, winning their second game of the series 9-5 on Saturday.

With the win, Maryland improved to 2-0 this season. It will have a chance to capture the series sweep when it takes on Baylor once more on Sunday afternoon as it looks to remain undefeated in 2022.

It didn’t take much time for the Terps to get rolling. The first four Terp batters got on base and the highlight was an RBI double from the junior Shaw, which brought a runner home.

This was followed up by the error from Cardoza-Oquendo which brought outfielder Chris Alleyne and Shaw home to go up three runs. Just when pitcher Blake Helton thought he was getting out of the inning after striking out two, an RBI single from outfielder Troy Schreffler brought third baseman Nick Lorusso home to go up by four in the first inning.

Ramsey put in the Saturday starter role this season after being a reliever last year, gave up only two hits and no runs in the first two innings to keep the Bears scoreless to start.

Zmarzlak spent some time last season as a designated hitter for head coach Rob Vaughn and at the top of the third inning, it was clear why. The outfielder smashed a laser over the centerfield wall to start the third inning as Maryland kept it going, extending its lead to 5-0.

Helton was taken out in the third after almost 60 pitches. Transfer Taylor Voelker came in for him and managed to get out of the inning with the bases loaded as Alleyne hit a pop fly to deep left field.

With two outs in the fourth inning, Zmarzlak looked to add another homer to the list as he hit a bomb to right field that looked like a sure homer. However, right fielder Kyle Nevin leaped up with his glove over the wall to rob Zmarzlak and get Baylor to the bottom of the fourth.

Ramsey then experienced a bit of a hiccup. Hitting two batters, Ramsey loaded the bases for Baylor. Catcher Cortlan Castle then got a hit through left field which brought two runners home and made the game a little more interesting at 5-2 at the end of the fourth.

An uneventful fifth inning ended with a sliding catch from Zmarzlak, as both sides remained at 5-2.

Another error from the third baseman Cardoza-Oquendo put Shliger on first, who then stole second on a wild pitch and stole third after the third baseman dropped the throw from the catcher. This was followed by the third baseman missing an RBI single from Shaw which brought Shliger home to extend the lead at 6-2 in the sixth.

The scoring wasn’t over in the inning, as with two runners on base, Costes stepped up to the plate with a mission. He obliterated a pitch from reliever Henry Cones that hit the wall at centerfield. The RBI double tacked two more on for the Terrapins as Cones didn’t even make it out of the inning without being replaced. Maryland added to its lead to make it an 8-2 game.

After a blank slate seventh inning, Maryland found themselves in a bit of trouble in the bottom of the eighth inning. Relief pitcher Sean Heine looked unsteady as the bases became loaded multiple times, resulting in a run being let up. But that was all the damage dealt, as the Terps managed to still be up 8-3 going into the final inning.

The top of the ninth featured even more scoring for Maryland as Zmarlak reached home after Mason Marriott walked Luke Shliger with the bases loaded to make it 9-3.

But when pitcher Nigel Belgrave came in to relieve at the bottom of the ninth, Baylor saw life. Belgrave threw one strike in five batters, walked a batter with the bases loaded, and seemed like his confidence was fully shot. To close out the game, three batters missed their opportunities at the plate, and Maryland closed out the game walking away with the win.

Three things to know

1. Matt Shaw can hit a baseball. It’s not surprising to see the stud shortstop excelling this early into the season, as he put together a brilliant performance. The sophomore had four hits in five at-bats, which included two RBI’s. The expectations for Shaw coming into the year were high, as he was put on the Collegiate Baseball All-American Second Team coming into the year. If he can keep on improving and putting on performances like this against teams like Baylor, he will surely continue to make an impact for this Maryland team.

2. Blake Helton could not recover after the first inning. Helton pitched two innings in which he let up six hits, five runs and three walks. The junior pitcher also had three strikeouts. During the 2021 season, he led the Bears with 13 starts on the mound and compiled a 4-3 record. However, in this matchup with the Terps, in which Maryland scored four runs in the first inning, Helton could not find a way to bounce back.

3. Terps look strong going into game three of the series. Maryland has already clinched the series win, its first of the season, by winning the first two games of the three-game series. Maryland has been dominant in the opening two games against an NCAA caliber opponent on the road. The Terps will have a chance to open their season with a series sweep when they conclude their series against Baylor on Sunday. Heading back to College Park with a 3-0 record would be quite the statement to the collegiate baseball landscape.