With Maryland baseball leading 7-0 and two men on base, Ohio State made its second pitching change of the day, attempting to contain the Terps’ offense at all costs.
However, it didn’t matter who the Buckeyes put on the mound. Sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw bombed Ohio State freshman pitcher Jake Johnson’s first pitch over the right field wall, pushing Maryland’s lead to double-digits.
Shaw’s homer was one of a plethora of scoring plays that saw the Terps bats come alive all afternoon en route to a resounding 16-1 win over Ohio State in College Park on Sunday. Maryland picked up its first Big Ten series sweep with the win.
The 15-run win was the third largest win margin for Maryland all season as they controlled this game from the get-go. The Terps now improve to 16-1 in College Park with a midweek game against Towson this Tuesday.
Sophomore Jason Savacool got into some trouble in the top of the first, loading the bases with two outs. However, he was able to escape the jam. With a 1-0 count, freshman second baseman Tyler Pettorini chopped down on the ball, grounding out to Savacool.
After Ohio State quickly retired the side in the bottom half of the inning, Savacool got into a rhythm, striking out two en route to a 1-2-3 inning of his own. The two strikeouts were No. 70 and No. 71 on the season for Savacool.
In the bottom of the second, the Terps had runners on second and third with two outs. With two strikes on him, sophomore second baseman Kevin Keister drilled a two-run RBI double to the left-center field wall for the first runs of the game to give Maryland a 2-0 lead.
Each pitcher only faced three batters in the third as Savacool continued his dominance, picking up two more strikeouts.
Savacool allowed back-to-back singles to begin the top of the fourth, but Ohio State couldn’t capitalize as they were left stranded on second and third.
Maryland’s offense went back into attack mode in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with no outs. Ohio State was forced to make its first pitching change, but that didn’t stop the Terps from scoring as Keister sent junior right fielder Troy Schreffler home on a ground ball to shortstop.
Then, fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne, who just checked into the game for freshman outfielder Zach Martin, smacked a double to left field, scoring junior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak and Keister to push Maryland’s lead to four.
Savacool only wasted six pitches in the fifth inning as he was on fire through the first half of the game.
Ohio State was able to collect two quick outs in the bottom of the fifth, but senior first baseman Maxwell Costes ripped a double to begin a fruitful two-out rally. After a Schreffler walk, Zmarzlak continued his RBI-filled weekend with a double that cleared the bases.
With another dominant 1-2-3 inning from Savacool in the rearview mirror, the Terps’ offense found success for the third straight inning.
Keister and Alleyne each reached base for the second time this game as Ohio State made another pitching change. Shaw’s homer on the first pitch he saw extended Maryland’s lead to 10.
The Terps’ offense remained relentless as they added on to the lead with a five-run barrage in the bottom of the seventh.
Maryland scored in a variety of ways with two RBI singles, a sacrifice fly and an RBI double from Shaw to cap off the action-packed seventh inning in which five runs were scored.
Maryland led 15-0 headed to the eighth when Savacool’s phenomenal day on the mound was over. The Terps bullpen couldn’t hold the shutout but it was too little too late for Ohio State as Maryland walked away with a convincing win.
Three things to know
1. Jason Savacool continued his elite play. Head coach Rob Vaughn can always count on Savacool to pitch at least six innings and he went even longer today. In seven innings, Savacool shut out the Buckeyes, allowing just five base runners, while striking out seven batters. Having Savacool is a luxury as most teams have to dig into their bullpen come Sunday, which is a big reason why Maryland has been so dangerous all season long.
2. The Terps capitalized with runners in scoring position. When Maryland had an opportunity to score, it took advantage. With runners on second and third, the Terps had a whopping .412 batting average, compared to Ohio State’s .000. Maryland has struggled converting base runners into runs in previous games. If this is the turning point for the Terps, they should have no issue winning the Big Ten.
3. Maryland captured its first Big Ten series sweep in exemplary fashion. The Terps were two runs away from completing a series sweep against a Big Ten opponent last Sunday against Minnesota, but they got it done today with a dominant 16-1 win. While Ohio State doesn’t have a desirable record at 11-20, they have a ton of talent, and this series sweep should look better as the year unwinds. It will be interesting to see if d1baseball.com rewards Maryland with a top-25 nod.