With two runners on base, first baseman Maxwell Costes was given a prime opportunity to extend No. 24 Maryland baseball’s lead in the fourth inning. Costes capitalized, dropping a double into right field to put even more pressure on Cornell.
The double scored both runners, giving the Terps a nine-run lead in the fourth inning and deflated any confidence that the Big Red had coming into this game.
Maryland controlled the scoreboard for the rest of the game after its eight-run fourth inning, overcoming Cornell 12-5 on Sunday afternoon in College Park.
“We talked about faceless opponents a lot, I didn’t think we did that today,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “Obviously it’s great when you don’t play good and you win, but we kind of measure ourselves against the best version of who we can be, not just something that the scoreboard says.”
Left-hander Ryan Ramsey, who has struggled in the early innings in his previous starts, was absolutely dialed in to begin the game. He allowed one hit but struck out five of the six outs through two innings.
The Terps’ offense was sluggish to start off, only forcing nine pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning. Costes quickly changed that in the second, smacking a two-run bomb over the center field wall after third baseman Nick Lorusso was hit by a pitch.
Ramsey continued to give the Big Red problems in the third, striking out two to reach a career-high seven strikeouts, a remarkable feat in just three innings.
Designated hitter Luke Shliger singled to right field to lead off the bottom of the third, but the next three at-bats were busts as a runner was stranded on second.
Two more strikeouts in the fourth gave Ramsey nine total as Cornell struggled to even foul the ball off the bat.
Maryland blew the door open in the bottom of the fourth with an eight-run inning. It started with left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak and right fielder Troy Schreffler walking before freshman second baseman Jacob Orr singled to second base to score the first run of the inning.
Two hit-by-pitches and two walks followed, loading the bases and scoring three runs with one out. After a Cornell pitching change, Lorusso grounded out to first, scoring another run for the Terps. In their second at-bats of the inning, Costes dropped a double into right field and Zmarzlak singled to score the last three runs of the inning for the Terps.
Ramsey’s pitches remained unhittable in the fifth with another two-strikeout inning, keeping Maryland’s lead at 10.
The Terps tacked on one more in the fifth as shortstop Matt Shaw ripped a two-out single into left field, scoring catcher Riley Langerman from second who got on base with a single to third base.
The top of the sixth saw another two-strikeout inning for Ramsey, who had the best pitching day of the season for the Terps by far.
Freshman lefty Michael Walsh replaced Ramsey at the beginning of the seventh for his first appearance of the season. Walsh struggled heavily at first, allowing one hit and walking two as the bases were loaded with no outs. A sacrifice fly to center field scored Cornell’s first run of the game and gave Walsh his first out. After shaking off the nerves, Walsh collected himself and struck out the last two batters of the inning.
After back-to-back scoreless innings, the Terps’ run total remained at 11.
The once double-digit lead was nearly cut in half after Walsh allowed a no-out grand slam, forcing Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn to pull the freshman and replace him with junior Matt Orlando. Orlando retired the next three, holding the Big Red to a four-run inning.
The Terps got one of those runs back in the bottom of the eighth as Zmarzlak singled to center field and worked his way all the way around the bases, reaching home on an error by catcher John Quinlan.
Orlando closed the game out with a 1-2-3 inning, securing a 12-5 win for Maryland.
Three things to know
1. Ryan Ramsey overcame the early-inning woes that he had in other games. Ramsey has struggled in the early innings throughout the season, allowing five of his eight earned runs in the first three innings. That was not the case today as he was locked in from the get-go, allowing just one hit and three base runners in the first three innings, while striking out seven batters. Ramsey finished the day with 13 strikeouts, one hit and no runs in six innings pitched.
“Just having command the whole entire game,” Ramsey said. “They were swinging and missing a lot of changeups, so sticking with that the whole entire game was definitely a big one.”
2. The Terps capitalized on Cornell’s mistakes. The fourth inning decided this game as Maryland scored eight runs. Six of those runs came from walks and hit-by-pitches by Cornell pitcher Spencer Edwards. When the Big Red made a mistake, the Terps took advantage, clearing the bases and scoring runs.
“We found a lot of different ways to score runs that inning,” Costes said. “That inning kind of was just like a smorgasbord of how well our offense works.”
3. Maryland took advantage of an unexpected day of rest. After Saturday’s game was rescheduled to Sunday due to inclement weather, Ramsey and the Terps found themselves with an extra day of rest and preparation after fighting off Georgetown on Friday night. With this being Cornell’s second game of the day, it is undeniable that it was gassed from its 10-inning contest against the Hoyas and Maryland took advantage of the situation.
“We took yesterday off, which I think is huge,” Vaughn said. “Sometimes the best thing to do is put the bat down, put the ball down and let your body just recover a little bit.”