After George Mason rattled off a four-run inning, Maryland baseball suddenly found itself trailing by a run with the bottom of the sixth inning on the horizon.
Sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw tied the game at four on a sacrifice fly to right, giving senior first baseman Maxwell Costes a prime opportunity to take the lead with a runner on first.
Off a 1-1 count, Costes obliterated a high fastball, sending it way over the left field wall for his team-leading 11th home run of the season. The two-run shot gave Maryland a crucial 6-4 lead after it briefly fell behind.
The Terps never let go of the lead they were forced to recapture, taking an 8-5 win over George Mason for the second time this year. Maryland now improves to 23-6 on the season and 13-1 at College Park.
“I just didn’t think we were mentally as hooked in as we needed to be at the beginning. We kind of flipped a switch in the middle of the game and fortunately got it done,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.
Sophomore Logan Ott got the start on the mound for Maryland on Tuesday, marking his seventh start of the season. The left-hander made an immediate impact, recording two 1-2-3 innings to kick off his outing.
The Terps were in position to strike first in the bottom of the opening inning, putting runners on second and third with only one out. The lead didn’t come to fruition, however, as George Mason freshman Chad Gartland struck out back-to-back batters.
Similar to the last time these two teams met back on March 30, Maryland was the first team on the board, scoring one run in the bottom of the third inning.
Three walks gave the Terps runners on first and third with two outs as junior right fielder Troy Schreffler stepped up to the plate. Schreffler ripped a hard-hit ground ball up the middle, scoring fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.
Ott continued his dominance in the fourth with another 1-2-3 inning, as he faced just 12 batters through four innings.
Maryland’s offense got back to work in the back half of the fourth. Junior catcher Riley Langerman led off the inning with a double off the center field wall. Then, third baseman Nick Lorusso hit an RBI single to left field and designated hitter Luke Shliger scored on a wild pitch, granting Maryland a three-run advantage.
George Mason figured out Ott in the fifth, collecting four singles and scoring its first run of the matchup. With two outs and the bases loaded, redshirt junior Will Glock replaced Ott, making his 10th appearance of the season.
Glock’s first pitch got past Langerman and added another run for the Patriots. George Mason second baseman Brett Stallings took Glock’s first strike to right field, piling on two more runs with a single. Langerman finally got the Terps out of the inning by throwing Stallings out at third, but George Mason escaped the fifth inning with a 4-3 lead.
Freshman pitcher Ryan Van Buren provided some consistency for the Terps in the sixth. Van Buren retired the side in four batters and held the deficit at one.
Maryland then found offensive life again as its bats flipped the score in its favor once more in the bottom of the sixth.
Alleyne got the Terps’ surge started with a leadoff single through the right side. Shaw came up to bat and sent Alleyne home on a sacrifice fly to right field. Costes ended the sixth with an exclamation point home run over the left field wall, handing Maryland a decisive two-run lead.
With Van Buren off the mound, George Mason cut Maryland’s lead in half in the top of the eighth thanks to a solo homer from freshman shortstop Carsen Pracht.
The Terps scored two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, leaving senior Sean Heine with a three-run cushion. Heine had no difficulty closing the game out, striking out two in the top of the ninth.
Three things to know
1. Logan Ott fell apart in the fifth. Ott got off to a great start, facing the minimum number of batters in the first four innings. However, once the fifth inning rolled around, Ott began to struggle. He surrendered four runs, four hits and one walk in the top of the fifth alone. This has been a common theme for Ott as he always seems to stay on the mound for one inning too long. It will be interesting to see if Vaughn makes any adjustments on Ott’s pitch count in future midweek starts.
“It’s hard to get through a lineup more than two or three times,” Vaughn said. “I was happy with [Ott], I thought he threw the ball well, and he gave us a chance to win, which is our starter’s job.”
2. Nick Lorusso has been on fire. The reigning Big Ten Player of the Week continued his dominance on Tuesday against George Mason. Lorusso got on base five times today, recording two hits, two runs and two RBIs. This extended his 15-game hitting streak and 29-game on-base streak, the most since major leaguer Brandon Lowe’s in 2015.
“You can get him, but his at-bats are professional,” Vaughn said. “We win five to seven less games at this point this year without Nick Lorusso on our team.”
3. Maryland’s offense had no issues this time. The last time these two teams squared off the Terps offense did just enough to get the win, but had one of their worst performances of the season. Maryland produced its second-lowest run total, three, and fifth-lowest hit total, seven. That was not the case on Tuesday as the Terps manufactured eight runs and 10 hits in an offensive-led win.
“Last time, you know, it was just baseball,” Costes said. “We only won 3-1, but, you know, we had like eight or nine 100 mph balls that were hit right to outfielders … a little bit to the left, a little bit to the right, those are two-run singles, two-run doubles.”