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No. 22 Maryland baseball’s red-hot hitting leads it past UMBC, 13-7

The Terps have now won four straight.

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 22 Maryland baseball found itself up 4-0 early as everything was clicking and it seemed to be headed towards another blowout. However, the UMBC Retrievers exploded in the fourth, scoring three runs to cut the lead to one.

Only up 5-3 in the top of the sixth, Maryland still needed to add some insurance to close out the visitors. With bases loaded and just one out, fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne flew out to right field, allowing junior third baseman Bobby Zmarzlak to score from third. But, sophomore catcher Luke Shliger found himself in a pickle in between first and second.

Sophomore second baseman Kevin Keister used this situation to not only help out himself but his teammate as well, as he made a dash for home. Keister forced a throw to home, which did not come in time. The heads-up play from the sophomore extended the inning and garnered one more important run for the Terps.

Maryland ended up scoring four runs in the sixth inning, giving it enough room to close out UMBC, 13-7, on Tuesday afternoon in College Park.

The Terps wasted no time putting runs on the board. Shliger started the game with a leadoff double, which was followed by another double from junior third baseman Nick Lorusso to give Maryland its first run of the game.

Maryland got right back at it in the second, scoring three runs in four straight at-bats. The run started with a solo home run from Zmarzlak, his third of the season. After freshman designated hitter Sean Lane doubled to left field, Keister continued his hot-hitting from the weekend with a triple to center field. Shliger brought Keister home for the final run of the inning with a single to center field, giving Maryland an early four-run lead.

Sophomore pitcher Logan Ott was rolling early in his fifth start of the season, facing just 10 batters and allowing no hits in the first three innings.

The Terps’ hot bats quickly cooled down in the third and fourth as they struck out three times. Keister recorded the only hit over the two-inning span with a single to center field.

The fourth inning is where Ott started to struggle. The first two batters of the inning each singled, putting runners on first and third. A fielder’s choice scored the first run and a single to center scored the second.

Freshman Ryan Van Buren replaced Ott with two outs and two men on in the bottom of the fourth inning with Maryland holding a 4-0 lead. After walking the first batter, UMBC shortstop Drew Roberts singled to right field, sending two runners home. The first one made it with ease, but the second one was gunned out by right fielder Troy Schreffler, saving Maryland from a tied ball game.

Similar to the fourth inning, the Terps recorded just one hit in the fifth as they went scoreless for a third straight inning. Still, they boasted a one-run lead.

The top of the sixth was a different story. Maryland was in an optimal position, bases loaded with one out. Shliger walked to score the first run and a sacrifice fly to right field scored two more. The final run of the inning came off of a two-out single from Lorusso, scoring Shliger from second to extend Maryland’s lead to 8-3.

Van Buren’s first two full innings cost him just 18 pitches, as he retired the side in three batters each time.

The third hit of Keister’s day tacked on one more run for the Terps as Schreffler scored from second. Maryland held onto a commanding 9-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

After two singles and a walk in consecutive at-bats, redshirt junior Will Glock replaced Van Buren inheriting three base runners and just one out. An error by Glock and single to center field scored all three base runners, slicing Maryland’s lead in half.

Both teams tallied just one hit in the eighth as the Terps were able to hold onto their three-run lead heading into the ninth.

Maryland had another four-run inning in the top of the ninth, giving the program its third game in the last four outings with at least 13 runs.

Three things to know

1. Logan Ott continues to struggle after the third inning. The usual midweek pitcher has been extremely reliable in the first three innings but has yet to really give Maryland any more length. Eleven of Ott’s 17 hits and six of his 10 runs allowed this season have come after the third inning. It will be interesting to see if head coach Rob Vaughn will continue to use him past three innings.

2. Bobby Zmarzlak and Kevin Keister provide a deadly spark in the bottom of the order. The duo was crucial in today’s win, considering the Terps needed the extra runs with a struggling bullpen. Zmarzlak and Keister combined for six hits, six runs and four RBIs in Tuesday’s win. Keister extended his hitting streak to four games, further securing his spot as the starting second baseman.

3. The Terps didn’t need a walk-off to win this time. The last time these two teams met, Lorusso came up big with a walk-off single, but his heroics were not needed this time. The three-run lead heading into the ninth was more than enough for Maryland to overcome UMBC.