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No. 24 Maryland baseball vs. Delaware preview (part two)

The Terps will look to extend their winning streak to five.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Coming off a split-series sweep over Georgetown and Cornell, No. 24 Maryland will hit the road to take on Delaware for the second and final time this season.

Maryland’s starting pitchers were the story of the weekend as junior Ryan Ramsey recorded a career-high 13 strikeouts in just six innings against Cornell on Sunday. Sophomore Jason Savacool also had himself a day as he pitched eight innings, allowing just three hits and one run against Georgetown on Monday.

The Terps have won four straight games and have a 13-2 record heading into Tuesday's matchup. If Maryland can get by Delaware and win the weekend series over Siena, the Terps may eventually find themselves inside the top-20 of D1Baseball’s rankings.

The two teams met just two weeks ago and have achieved similar success since, each sweeping last weekend’s season series.

Tuesday’s matchup is set to begin at 3 p.m. and will be aired on FloSports.

What happened last time

Maryland squared off against Delaware once at home earlier this season. The Terps came out on top, scoring 14 runs and winning by a 10-run margin, both of which are the largest of the season.

After a scoreless first inning, the Terps took control as each of their first four batters scored, including a home run by right fielder Troy Schreffler.

The Fightin’ Blue Hens got one back in the third but left two base runners stranded. Maryland immediately erased that run as Schreffler was rewarded with another RBI.

The Terps tacked one more on in the fourth before a Delaware single scored two, cutting the deficit to three.

With both teams going hitless in the sixth, the seventh seemed to be shaping up the same way as Maryland had two outs and no runners on. First baseman Maxwell Costes found his way to first on three straight balls and Schreffler continued his phenomenal game with a single to right field.

All of a sudden the Terps looked alive and freshman infielder Jacob Orr ripped a two-RBI double. Orr worked his way around the bases and reached home before the inning ended, extending Maryland’s lead to six heading into the eighth.

A double to right field scored one run for the Blue Hens, but Maryland shut the door in the bottom of the eighth with a five-run inning that saw Costes crush a two-run homer and second baseman Kevin Keister and center fielder Chris Alleyne contribute with RBI doubles.

A scoreless ninth inning secured the 14-4 Maryland win as relief pitcher Will Glock was awarded the win after pitching 1.1 innings, recording zero hits, zero runs and one strikeout.

What happened since

Since that game against Delaware, Maryland hit a bit of a rough patch, losing its first two games of the season. In a split-series in Greenville, North Carolina, the Terps dropped Friday night’s game against Michigan 4-7 and Sunday’s game against East Carolina 3-6, with a 12-6 win over Indiana State in between.

Since then, the Terps have won four games in a row by an average margin of 3.5 runs per game as they have found themselves in some close games, including a 10-9 win over Georgetown that ended in a two-run walk-off home run from shortstop Matt Shaw.

Delaware has won four of its last six and is on a two-game winning streak, putting it just one game below .500 (6-7). The Blue Hens have won each of their last two series, including a convincing 20-10 win over Iona on Friday night.

After putting up just four runs against Maryland, Delaware has averaged 10.83 runs per game, which leads the Colonial Athletic Association.

Graduate student right-handed pitcher Chris Ludman has been an absolute stud for the Blue Hens as of late, pitching 14 innings and allowing just three runs in two Delaware wins.

It is unclear who will be on the mound against the Terps, but junior right-handed pitcher Dan Frake has pitched in the last two Tuesday games. Against Maryland, Frake pitched to just two batters in the bottom of the ninth, striking out the second one. He was named the starter against Delaware State but didn’t even last a full inning as he surrendered five runs. If the Terps face off against Frake, they shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring runs.

Three things to watch

1. Who will start for Maryland? With Nick Dean being out for last Friday’s game, head coach Rob Vaughn turned to sophomore Logan Ott, the usual midweek starter. Freshman Ryan Van Buren got the start last week, but struggled once the third inning hit, allowing three hits and three runs with two outs. It will be interesting to see if Vaughn gives Van Buren another chance, or if he looks in a different direction.

2. Can Delaware take advantage of Maryland’s quick turnaround? Tuesday will mark Maryland’s third straight day with a game, while the Blue Hens have had three days of rest and preparation. With an extra arm in the bullpen after a canceled game on Sunday, Delaware should be firing on all cylinders and make this game much more competitive than its last go around against the Terps.

“Hopefully we did a good job recovering [Saturday] because we got two big ones the next two days,” Vaughn said on Sunday.

3. Maxwell Costes has been on fire. Costes has continued his dominance since his two-hit three-RBI game against Delaware. He has been Maryland’s biggest offensive threat over the last three games, tallying five hits, eight RBIs and three home runs. With there being uncertainty on the mound, the Terps may need a few more runs than usual to overcome Delaware.

“I feel like I’ve become much more aggressive at the plate,” Costes said. “In all honesty, I feel like I’m not missing pitches anymore.”