Maryland baseball had an offensive explosion at the plate all game against Towson, but nothing was more telling than its ability to convert at the plate in the third and fourth innings.
The Terps found most of their success with two outs in each of those innings, signaling their confidence in tough situations. Maryland turned a two-out situation in both innings into a combined 11 runs, along with three home runs, denying Towson from ending each half inning en route to expanding its lead.
Maryland’s grittiness with two outs in the middle innings propelled it to a 26-8 crushing of Towson on Tuesday afternoon in College Park. Maryland’s 26 total runs were easily a season-high, seven more than its previous high of 19, and it was a solid bounce back after it dropped two out of three against Dallas Baptist on the road.
Third baseman Nick Lorusso excelled at the plate, leading the Terps with six RBIs off three hits in the win, which was the Terps’ 19th victory of the season compared to just five losses.
“It’s nice,” Lorusso said. “You know, we wanted to get that sour taste out of our mouth, [we’re] not used to losing especially the way we did not playing our best ball. We really took it out today.”
Maryland got off to a quick start and put the first few runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Designated hitter Luke Shliger made it home off an error to put Maryland up 1-0, but that was just the beginning.
Third baseman Nick Lorusso followed up Shliger’s run with an RBI single, which brought home fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne. Later in the inning, sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw kept the momentum going with a two-run home run. Shaw’s seventh home run of the season put Maryland up 4-0 after only the first inning.
Towson was able to pull one back in the top of the second off a fielder’s choice from first baseman Jack McLaughlin. The lone run wouldn’t be enough to dispel Maryland’s bats from staying hot in the bottom of the same inning.
Maryland managed to bring across four runs for the second consecutive inning to pile onto its already three-run lead, Shliger got his first RBI of the day on a fielder’s choice, then Lorusso added two more RBIs to his stat sheet with a single. Outfielder Troy Schreffler Jr. capped off the inning with an RBI single to make it an 8-1 advantage.
“That’s what we do best, we feed off each other,” Schreffler Jr. said. “When the guy in front of you is hitting, the guy behind you is gonna hit, you’re gonna hit. Hitting, catching barrels, is contagious.”
In the top of the third inning, Towson rallied back to cut Maryland’s lead to four, but the Terps continued to add on to their run total in the ensuing innings.
After facing two outs in the bottom of the third, Maryland proceeded to hit three home runs to cap off the explosive inning. Lorusso crushed a three-run home run over the centerfield wall bringing his RBI total on the day to six. First baseman Maxwell Costes was the next batter up and collected his 10th home run of the season and his second in three days. Schreffler Jr. followed suit with his own two-run bomb to give Maryland 14 runs in three innings.
Towson came away scoreless in the top of the fourth, which allowed Maryland to pour it on the Tigers yet again in the bottom of the half-inning as it extended its lead to 19-4.
After two hours of baseball, only four innings were played due to Maryland’s stunning display at the plate.
The next two innings only saw one run scored by the Tigers. Maryland’s offense cooled down after its hot start and Towson’s Jacob Terao made it home in the middle of a double play in the sixth inning.
Towson eventually made it 19-8 after a three-run top of the seventh, but just when Maryland started to put its backups into the game, they made an immense impact in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Terps scored seven runs in the seventh inning to officially give them their season-high in runs. Second baseman Drew Grace and Schreffler Jr. both rattled off back-to-back RBI doubles in the inning, then junior Riley Langerman hit an RBI single to finish off Maryland’s 26-run day.
Maryland held Towson without a run in the eighth and ninth innings to take the dominant 18-run win on its home field.
Three things to know
1. It was a spectacular bounce back for Maryland’s bats. There is no better way to get over a series loss than to follow it up with a strong performance. In its best hitting performance of the season, Maryland had 19 runs after four innings. Five hitters had multiple RBIs on the day, with nine hitters recording at least one RBI. Some of the biggest performers were Lorusso and Schreffler Jr as both players had a homer and at least five RBIs on the day. Even Grace came in and got two RBIs on one hit. It was an all-around phenomenal day of hitting for the Terps as they finished with their season-high in runs.
“You know it’s kind of a scary group when you’re firing on all cylinders,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.
2. Towson’s bullpen struggled. The Tigers ended up using eight pitchers in eight innings on Tuesday. There were no Towson pitchers that were able to get any momentum as left-handed pitcher Dom Valis had the most strikeouts out of any pitcher with three. The first four pitchers pitched a combined 3.2 innings and gave up 14 total runs. They were put in a hole early and they were never able to get out of it.
3. Nick Lorusso had a near-perfect day. The third baseman put on a clinic at the plate on Tuesday afternoon. Lorusso had three hits in four at-bats and added four runs. He also had six RBIs and one home run. It was easily Lorusso’s most complete performance of the season, which could be beneficial for Maryland the rest of the way if he can keep up the hot hitting.