A Maryland baseball pitcher had not completed a perfect game since 1959. That changed on Friday night when left-handed pitcher Ryan Ramsey took the mound in his first series opening start of the season. Ramsey did not allow a single man on base on a historic night in College Park.
Up 13-0 in the ninth inning, Ramsey took the mound with a chance to make history. With two outs in the inning and one out away from glory, Northwestern sophomore middle infielder Tony Livermore came in to pinch hit. With a 2-2 count, Livermore hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Nick Lorusso, who took a hop and beamed the ball to first to beat Livermore for the final out.
Twenty-seven up, 27 down.
Ramsey completed a perfect game in an all-around dominant 13-0 performance by the Terps. It was the 31st perfect game and only the 18th nine-inning perfecto in Division I history.
“I thought about it all the time in high school, trying to get no hitters and I fell short a couple times,” Ramsey said. “It takes a lot of command, but it’s a little bit of luck too, honestly.”
“Ryan was absolutely incredible. This is a night he’ll never forget, which is special and that’s what it’s all about,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.
Maryland takes on Northwestern twice more this weekend, with the next game on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Ramsey made his Friday night debut and did not disappoint in the first. Ramsey retired the Wildcats in just seven pitches, leaving room for Maryland to take a first-inning lead.
Sophomore catcher Luke Shliger couldn’t figure out first-year left-handed pitcher Sean Sullivan as he struck out looking. After a brief conversation with Shliger, fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne drilled his first pitch over the center field wall.
Another 1-2-3 inning from Ramsey put the Terps offense in position to take control of the game.
Senior first baseman Maxwell Costes and Zmarzlak gave the home crowd a show with back-to-back solo home runs. Three consecutive singles followed as Alleyne recorded his second RBI of the game, pushing Maryland’s lead to four in the bottom of the second.
Maryland’s scoring barrage continued in the form of a five-run two-out rally. With two men on, Keister hit a line drive to shallow center field, scoring the first run of the inning. Three RBI singles and one wild pitch later saw the Terps mount a monstrous 9-0 lead.
Ramsey continued his spectacular performance in the top of the fourth, striking out two in his fourth 1-2-3 inning.
After Maryland’s offense went quiet for the first time of the day, Ramsey’s perfect game remained alive with a 10-pitch inning in the top of the fifth.
Northwestern couldn’t contain the Terps for long as Lorusso smacked a solo home run. With two outs on the board, junior right fielder Troy Schreffler and Costes hit back-to-back doubles before Zmarzlak cleared the bases with a triple, giving Maryland a 12-0 lead.
With two more perfect Ramsey innings in the books, Maryland tacked on one more in the bottom of the seventh on a single that looked foul, but dribbled into fair territory.
Ramsey saw a perfect-game scare in the top of the eighth, but Troy Schreffler was able to track down the final out of the inning at the right field warning track.
After a scoreless inning by the Terps, Ramsey completed his perfect game, securing a 13-0 win for Maryland.
Three things to know
1. Ryan Ramsey showed out in his first Friday night start. Ramsey has been dominant on the mound all season, but had been the Sunday starter. However, this past week, he was moved to the series opening starter. And that decision paid off. The junior pitched the first perfect game in program history since 1959.
“There’s something to be said to be in that kind of headline guy that goes out on a Friday night and he’s worked his tail off,” Vaughn said.
2. The Terps scored at will. For the second game in a row Maryland put up double-digit runs as there wasn’t a single Northwestern pitcher that could slow the Terps down. Maryland finished the night with 17 hits leading to 13 runs, including four homers, on Ramsey’s historic night.
“We just did our job today,” Alleyne said. “It’s easy to go out and hit when you got a guy like Ryan Ramsey [and] when he’s pitching like that.”
“It was one of the best games I’ve seen with our hitters,” Ramsey said. “Just absolutely mashing baseballs and it’s good for the rest of the weekend too.”
3. Maryland played its most complete game. There was nothing the Terps couldn’t do Friday with nearly flawless pitching, fielding and hitting. In addition to the 13 runs, Maryland recorded its fourth shutout of the season, thanks to Ramsey’s jaw-dropping performance. If the Terps play like this all weekend, they are well on their way to their second Big Ten sweep of the season.
“I told you guys about 15 times up here [that] I don’t think we’ve played to our potential yet,” Vaughn said. “I think tonight was our potential, I think that’s about as good as we can be.”