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Maryland baseball vs. Towson preview (part two)

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The Terps take on the Tigers for the second and final time this season.

Photo Courtesy of Zach Bland/Maryland Terrapins
UMTerps

Coming off its first Big Ten series sweep against Ohio State, Maryland baseball will hit the road on Tuesday to take on Towson for the second and final time this season.

After barely beating the Buckeyes on Friday and Saturday, the Terps put on a masterclass on both offense and defense on Sunday.

Junior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak ripped the heart out of Ohio State on Friday night with a three-run walk-off homer that gave the Terps an 8-6 victory.

On Saturday, solo homers from sophomore catcher Luke Shliger and junior third baseman Nick Lorusso pushed Maryland across the finish line as they defeated the Buckeyes, 6-5.

The series closer saw the Terps blow out Ohio State, 16-1, as sophomore righty Jason Savacool pitched seven innings without allowing a single run.

Towson, on the other hand, has not found much success in recent weeks as they are on a six-game losing streak.

The two teams will square off at 3:00 p.m., and the game will be streamed on FloSports.

What happened last time

Maryland hosted Towson on March 29, when it destroyed the Tigers, 26-8. It was the largest winning margin and run total of the Terps’ season.

After shutting down Towson, Maryland got right at it on the offensive end, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first on an error, single, and two-run homer from sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw.

Back-to-back singles helped the Tigers score their first run in the second, but Maryland responded with another four-run inning as Lorusso and junior right fielder Troy Schreffler each hit RBI singles.

Down seven, Towson needed to score runs fast. Luckily, a wild pitch helped the Tigers on their way to a three-run inning, cutting the deficit to four.

In the bottom of the third, Maryland doubled Towson’s production with a monstrous six-run inning. All six runs were scored on home runs from Lorusso, senior first baseman Maxwell Costes and Schreffler.

The Tigers were quiet in the fourth, but Maryland kept its foot on the gas with a five-run inning, seizing control of a daunting 15-run lead. Costes scored the first two runs of the inning with a single to right field, and the second passed ball of the inning saw Shaw cross home plate for the final run.

Neither team recorded a hit in the fifth and the lone run scored in the sixth belonged to Towson.

Maryland’s lead continued to shrink in the top of the seventh as the Tigers scored three runs. With two outs and runners on first and second, senior third baseman Trent Gast-Woodard smacked an RBI double that was followed by a two-run RBI single from redshirt sophomore shortstop Jake Lysaght.

The Terps’ final offensive blow came in the bottom of the seventh with a remarkable seven-run inning.

Although the lineup in the later innings was filled with backups and underclassmen, Maryland had no trouble extinguishing any comeback hopes the Tigers had. Schreffler and junior second baseman Drew Grace were the main contributors with back-to-back two-run RBI doubles.

Junior infielder Matt Orlando started the ninth on the mound and wasted little time closing out the game with a swift two-strikeout 1-2-3 inning.

Freshman Andrew Johnson was awarded the win after pitching two innings without allowing a single base runner.

What happened since

Since beating Towson three weeks ago, Maryland had one more midweek game before becoming fully immersed in Big Ten play.

The Terps took care of business against George Mason in a 3-1 ball game, Maryland’s second-lowest run total this season.

Just a few days later, the Terps faced Penn State at home in their first Big Ten series. After taking Friday night’s game, 8-4, Maryland fell to the Nittany Lions in extra innings on Saturday as it scored just one run in the final seven innings. When Sunday rolled around, Maryland was ready, winning the series with a swift 7-2 victory.

Then, the Terps played George Mason again in a more action-packed 8-5 win.

Maryland’s second Big Ten series was at Minnesota, where it won the first two games but dropped Sunday’s finale, 4-3.

After suffering their seventh loss of the season against Minnesota, the Terps have not lost a game, defeating James Madison, 8-7, and then sweeping their three-game series against Ohio State.

Towson has not found the same success as they have won just one game. The Tigers have now been swept in three consecutive series at the hands of Delaware, William & Mary and UNC Wilmington.

Three things to watch

1. Can Logan Ott bounce back? Sophomore pitcher Logan Ott is the projected starter for the Terps on Tuesday, but he is coming off a disappointing performance against James Madison. Ott only pitched 2.2 innings, but he managed to allow five runs and four hits while tallying just one strikeout. As the Terps go-to midweek starter, Ott has been extremely reliable in the first three innings, but struggled against JMU. It will be interesting to see if this was just a one-time slip up, or if it forms into something more concerning.

2. Both offenses showed up last time. The last time these two teams met, it was an absolute bloodbath as both teams were exceptional on the offensive end. While Maryland ended up pulling away in emphatic fashion, Towson held its own for the first 2.5 innings. With both teams scoring at will, it wouldn’t be a shock if either team switched up its pitching approach.

3. Can Maryland ride its hot Big Ten start? After sweeping Ohio State, the Terps are now 7-2 in conference play and continue to climb the Big Ten standings. Racking up another midweek win on Tuesday would bode well for Maryland, which takes on a worthy opponent in second-place Illinois this weekend.