With a six-run lead heading into the seventh inning, No.18 Maryland baseball proceeded to give up six runs to Michigan in the inning, tying the game at seven apiece.
However, after allowing Michigan to crawl back in the game, Maryland got right back to work to start the eighth. The Terps got two players on base almost immediately. One of those runners, junior right fielder Troy Schreffler Jr., found himself on third base with one out.
Suddenly a wild pitch gave Schreffler the go ahead to steal. He dashed toward home and dove for the diamond, just beating the tag from Michigan catcher Jimmy Obertop to give the Terps a one run lead.
The run was the deciding one in the game as Maryland closed the deal in the final innings to fight off a relentless comeback from Michigan to secure the series opening win, 8-7, in College Park on Friday night.
As they have all season, Maryland got things going early in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw and junior third baseman Nick Lorusso each crushed solo homers over the right and center field wall, respectively, to give Maryland a quick 2-0 lead after one inning.
The next few innings featured no scoring, with right-handed pitcher Jason Savacool getting the Friday start and controlling the Wolverine bats.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Terps’ bats started to come alive. After two runners got on without a hit, junior left-fielder Bobby Zmarzlak was able to bring both of them home with a two-run RBI single. Freshman designated hitter Ian Petrutz followed that up with a deep RBI double to bring Zmarzlak home.
The runs continued to pour in as second baseman Kevin Keister hit his eighth homer of the season over the left field wall with a runner on to give the Terps a 7-0 lead after four innings.
An uneventful fifth inning was followed by Michigan coming alive offensively for the first time in the sixth inning. First baseman Jake Marti hit a solo shot in the top of the sixth to finally get Michigan on the board.
The Wolverines almost managed to strike some more, loading the bases with just one out. However, Savacool got himself out of the jam to end the top of the inning.
But in the seventh inning, as soon as Savacool exited the game, the Wolverines took their chance to pounce on the Terps.
It started with a Marti sacrifice fly that brought a runner home. Then, center fielder Joe Stewart smacked a two-run RBI single to the outfield to score two more. The disastrous seventh inning for Maryland continued with a massive three-run bomb from Michigan third baseman Matt Frey.
Just like that, the game was tied at seven heading into the eighth inning.
The top of the eighth finally showed some good pitching from the relievers with senior right-handed pitcher David Falco striking out two in the top of the inning to put Maryland up at the plate.
The Terps capitalized in the eighth with Schreffler’s run on a wild pitch, allowing Maryland to score the final run of the game and giving it the series-opening win.
Three Things to Know
- Some of the relievers struggled once again. As soon as Maryland’s starter Jason Savacool left the game, Michigan took advantage of an inconsistent Terps bullpen. Going into the seventh inning down 7-1, the Wolverines managed to come back and tie the game in just one inning, scoring six runs. Three different pitchers came into the game in that inning alone while the away team was just tearing them apart. David Falco did shut the Wolverines out in the eighth, and they didn’t give up any runs in the final two innings, but this group continues to struggle like they have all season.
- Savacool had a nice showing. Through the first six innings of the game, the sophomore right-handed pitcher put on a nice performance. The normal Saturday starter made an irregular appearance on Friday night, and managed to throw seven strikeouts. He only gave up four hits, with one of them a solo home run. Besides that play, no one scored off of Savacool. He managed to force a double play with one out and the bases loaded to end the sixth inning, keeping his ERA intact.
- Can Maryland stay in the driver’s seat? A loss on Friday would have put more pressure on Maryland to win out to have a chance to catch Rutgers for first place in the Big Ten. A series win is essential for Maryland if they want to claim the Big Ten regular season title. Junior left-handed pitcher Ryan Ramsey wasn’t on the mound on Friday, so he will get the chance to perform in his former Saturday position in game two of the series. Maryland will look for the series win to get them to 40 wins on the season, continuing to build on its historic season.