With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth, center fielder Chris Alleyne blasted a leadoff double to left field, giving No. 22 Maryland baseball a prime opportunity to win its first home game of the season
Then with one out and Alleyne on third, third baseman Nick Lorusso came up to bat with a chance to secure the Terps’ fourth straight win.
Lorusso didn’t crack under pressure with two strikes on the count, hitting the ball on a line drive straight to center field, sending Alleyne home and winning the game.
The Terps have now started 4-0 for the second time in three years and will look to continue their winning streak Friday night against Campbell after securing the 3-2 win over the Retrievers on Wednesday evening.
“Happy to win that. [It] wasn’t our best game in the world, but there’s something to be said for teams who just find a way to win,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.
The first inning showed tremendous promise for the Terps. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Logan Ott had a one-two-three inning to kick-start his 2022 campaign and the Terps had runners on first and third after a Lorusso single.
The inning ended abruptly after left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak grounded out to shortstop, keeping the score even at the end of one.
Ott and the Terps gave up two hits in the top of the second but managed to escape the inning without allowing any damage to the scoreboard.
Similar to the second, Maryland erased one of UMBC’s hits by catching a base runner stealing second. The other two outs of the inning were a diving catch by right fielder Troy Schreffler and an Ott strikeout, his second of the day.
The scoring drought didn’t make it past the third as catcher Luke Shliger led off with a moon shot over the center-field wall, giving Maryland a 1-0 lead. More scoring followed shortly after as Alleyne worked his way around the diamond after singling to right field.
After back-to-back batters were hit-by-pitch, the Terps had runners on first and second with two outs. The eventful two-run inning eventually came to an end after Schreffler flew out to right field.
With runners on first and second, UMBC found its way onto the scoreboard with a line-drive single to left field by shortstop Drew Roberts. Ott was pulled as a result and freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Van Buren replaced him.
With no outs and two runners on, Lorusso came up with a big double play, tagging third and then throwing to first. The Retrievers tacked on one more run before the end of the first as designated hitter Jayden Shertel singled to right field, sending third baseman Nolan Charlton home.
The Terps made their second pitching change in the sixth inning, bringing in senior right-hander Sean Heine. Heine bailed Maryland out of a potentially dangerous inning that saw two runners on base with one out, keeping the score tied at two.
A Shliger popup to left field marked another rough inning offensively for the Terps, producing one run over the last three innings.
Redshirt junior Will Glock provided some stability on the mound in the top of the seventh, retiring the side in three batters.
After another successful half inning by Glock, the Terps offense was in position to score with first baseman Max Costes at second and second baseman Kevin Keister at first with two outs. After fouling off three balls, Shliger lines out to shortstop, securing a bottom ninth inning of play.
With one out and a runner on first, freshman right-handed pitcher Noah Mrotek came in to close out the ninth. Mrotek was able to get the last two outs by himself, striking out both batters.
Alleyne doubled to start the inning and then advanced to third on a flyout to right field. With two strikes on the count, Lorusso hit a walk-off single to center field, giving Maryland a 3-2 win.
Three things to know
1. The Terps didn’t crack under pressure. Maryland found itself in its first close game of the season and showed out when it mattered most. Mrotek and Lorusso both looked poised under pressure and delivered for the Terps.
“Kind of just relaxed,” Alleyne said when asked about his ninth-inning double. “Not trying to do too much and just get on base for the guys to get me in.”
2. Logan Ott’s performance on the mound. The sophomore showed some promise in his first start of the year, shutting the Retrievers out for the first four innings. Ott began to struggle to start the fifth, where he let up two hits, one walk and his first run. So the question becomes, can Ott develop into a reliable mid-week starter for the Terps?
“I probably left him out there a couple hitters too long but I thought Logan was outstanding today,” Vaughn said. “He throws a lot of strikes, he can mix looks at you, he’s got three pitches he can throw at you. I thought [Ott] gave us a phenomenal start.”
3. The Terps continue to roll. The Terps have now started 4-0 and will have a chance to be 5-0 for the first time since 1968. This would be an impressive feat for a program that’s on the rise. Maryland’s next opponent is a struggling Campbell team, who it will play three times this weekend starting Friday at 5 p.m.
“This team is never going to chase records, chase rankings, chase any of that,” Vaughn said. “We’re just going to go out and try to be a better version of who we were.”