Up 2-0 in the top of the third inning, No. 22 Maryland baseball had a runner on second with two outs as it was in a prime position to extend its lead against Dallas Baptist.
Looking to get out of the inning with a manageable deficit, Dallas Baptist pitcher Luke Eldred delivered a fastball on a full count with sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw at the plate.
The pitch selection ended up being a mistake as Shaw took the fastball yard to right-center field, bringing in two runs and pushing Maryland’s lead to four.
Maryland’s three-run third inning was just the start. The Terps flipped a switch from their poor hitting performance yesterday and piled on double-digit runs to take care of business on Saturday afternoon as they took down Dallas Baptist 11-5 in the second game of the three-game series.
Maryland will face off against the Patriots one more time this Sunday in Dallas, as the Terps have put themselves in a position to win this series and improve their overall national standing. With Saturday’s six-run win, the Terps’ record improved to 18-4.
Similar to Friday night, Maryland loaded the bases in the first, this time with no outs. Sophomore catcher Luke Shliger, fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne and junior third baseman Nick Lorusso each singled, giving the Terps a promising start.
However, Maryland failed to capitalize completely and left the inning with just one run scored as a double play took the wind out of the Terps’ sails.
Maryland then saw a two-out scare in the bottom of the first. After two groundouts to Shaw, a walk and double put runners on second and third. Junior pitcher Ryan Ramsey collected himself on the mound and forced another groundout to Shaw, securing the one-run lead for the Terps after the opening inning.
The Terps got the bats rolling again in the top of third, scoring three runs to boost their advantage even further.
Shliger led off the inning with a single up the middle and Lorusso singled to right field, putting them on second and third after an error by Heefner. Senior first baseman Maxwell Costes hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field and Shaw took care of the last two runs, crushing the ball over the right center field wall.
The Patriots couldn’t respond with Ramsey rolling on the mound. The left-hander allowed just one hit through three innings.
However, Dallas Baptist finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth, after producing three base runners with two outs. Redshirt sophomore center fielder Ryan Wrobleski started the run with a double and scored on a single from Heefner. With runners on first and second, Ramsey came through and was able to force a flyout to end the inning, allowing just the lone run.
Maryland held a 4-1 lead and it answered with another scoring burst in the top of the fifth.
After Costes walked, Shaw hammered a double to the right center field gap. Costes and Shaw were each brought home on singles from Schreffler and freshman designated hitter Sean Lane. Sophomore second baseman Kevin Keister tacked on one more, roping a single through the left side, pushing the Terps’ lead to six.
Shaw continued his offensive barrage with a two-run shot in the top of the sixth. The two-out homer, the shortstop’s second home run of the day and Shaw’s sixth of the season, was responsible for the only Maryland runs scored in the sixth as the Terps controlled this game from the get-go and ran away with it on the scoreboard.
Alleyne followed in Shaw’s footsteps, hitting his own two-out, two-run homer in the top of the seventh, giving Maryland an 11-1 lead as the Terps refused to take their foot off the gas.
Ramsey made the rest of the seventh inning quick, striking out his third batter of the day en route to his second 1-2-3 inning. Ramsey, who allowed no more than two runs in four of his five appearances entering Saturday, gave up just one earned run and three hits to back Maryland’s offense.
The Patriots got a few runs back with Ramsey off the mound in the bottom of the eighth, but it was too little too late. Maryland still held a strong eight-run advantage with only three outs left to secure.
Lorusso was tasked with closing out the Patriots in the ninth. Lorusso allowed two runners to score, but a flyout to Alleyne officially ended the game.
Three things to know
1. The Terps capitalized on their hot start this time. Maryland got to an early 2-1 lead on Friday night as the Terps were clicking offensively. They then went on a seven-inning drought and scored just one more run in the ninth. While they held another one-run lead after the first inning on Saturday, Maryland kept the bats rolling, which included multiple three-run innings. When the Terps have it going throughout the whole game, they are hard to beat.
2. Was this Matt Shaw’s bounce-back game? Shaw was electric at the plate today, smashing two home runs and one double, carrying Maryland’s offense to an important victory. The sophomore has yet to put together a solid offensive series since squaring off against Baylor on opening weekend as he has been moved from third to fifth in the lineup. Shaw has had multiple promising games but has yet to regain his stride. Is this another blip on the radar, or will Shaw finally get back to being himself?
3. Blayne Jones is out for Sunday’s game. Dallas Baptist’s starting center fielder and three-hole hitter is now out for Sunday’s contest. Jones wasn’t happy with a called third strike to end the bottom of the seventh and verbally displayed his displeasure. Home plate umpire David Wiley wasn’t having it, throwing the fifth year out of the game.
Jones, who leads the team in batting average (.326), hits (28) and RBIs (18), will be unable to compete on Sunday, leaving the Patriots with a massive hole on offense and defense. With the Terps tying the series on Saturday, they are in a prime position to win the series with Jones absent.