Down 3-0 to Michigan in the bottom of the second, No. 18 Maryland baseball was feeling the pressure to produce some runs. Thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles by sophomore catcher Luke Shliger and fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne, the Terps captured a one-run lead.
With two outs on the board, sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw extended the inning in a big way, destroying a breaking ball over the right field wall to give Maryland a 7-3 lead.
The three-run homer wasn’t the end of Shaw’s day as he hit two more home runs, one of which was a grand slam. Shaw’s impressive performance helped the Terps dominate Michigan, 20-6, on Saturday night in College Park to clinch the series win.
Saturday night’s blowout secured Maryland’s seventh Big Ten series win in as many tries. The series finale against Michigan is on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Junior left-handed pitcher Ryan Ramsey returned as Maryland’s Saturday starter and got off to a rough start. He walked the first three batters and then let up a double to right-center field, giving Michigan a two-run lead.
Fortunately for Ramsey, he collected himself, striking out the next batter in three pitches. The Wolverines then attempted a squeeze play, but a missed bunt helped Shliger catch Michigan graduate student third baseman Matt Frey stealing home.
Shliger and Alleyne led off the bottom of the first with a walk and hit by pitch, respectively, which led Michigan to pull freshman pitcher Jake Keaser after just five pitches. A double play followed by a strikeout abruptly ended the inning, giving Michigan an opportunity to expand its lead in the top of the second.
Michigan junior second baseman Ted Burton didn’t waste any time, smacking a solo home run over the left-center field wall. Ramsey recorded three straight outs to end the inning, but the Wolverines held a 3-0 lead.
The Terps exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the second, rocketing past the Wolverines to grab a lead they would not give up.
Junior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak scored the first run of the inning with a single up the middle. Respective RBI doubles from Shliger and Alleyne and Shaw’s three-run bomb to right field capped off the seven-run inning that gave the Terps a four-run lead.
Both teams exchanged blows in the third inning as Frey cut Maryland’s lead in half with a two-run homer.
Freshman designated hitter Ian Petrutz swiftly got those two runs back with a single through the right side, scoring senior first baseman Maxwell Costes and Zmarzlak.
Ramsey was able to control the tempo in the top of the fourth, delivering his first scoreless inning of the game.
With one out on the board in the bottom of the fourth, Shaw lined up another bomb over the right field wall to push Maryland’s lead to five. Later in the inning, Petrutz had another chance to extend the Maryland advantage with two runners in scoring position and two outs. However, the freshman couldn’t convert for the second inning in a row, grounding out to second for the final out of the inning.
In his last inning on the mound, Ramsey struggled with his control, walking and hitting a batter. He was able to hold the Wolverines to one run, though, as Maryland sustained a 10-6 edge.
Michigan junior right-handed pitcher Cameron Weston recorded the first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the bottom of the fifth, keeping the Wolverines within arms reach.
In the top of the sixth, freshman right-handed pitcher Noah Mrotek took the mound and took care of the first two batters. After walking the next two, Mrotek initiated a high-bouncing ground ball up the middle, and Shaw was able to scoop it up and tag second just in time to limit the damage.
Mrotek got back to work in the top of the seventh, retiring the side in three batters as the game quickly turned into a defensive battle.
The Terps were virtually gifted base runners in the bottom of the seventh as an error, hit by pitch and walk loaded the bases with just one out. Keister scored the first run of the inning after junior third baseman Nick Lorusso was walked, and then Shaw stepped up to the plate and crushed a grand slam, his third home run of the day.
Maryland refused to take its foot off the gas as a three-run Lorusso homer concluded another five-run inning for the Terps in the bottom of the eighth.
Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Will Glock closed out the game for the Terps, striking out two batters to put the icing on the dominant win.
Three things to know
1. Ryan Ramsey didn’t seem like himself. Coming off two phenomenal performances, expectations were at an all-time high for Ramsey. The southpaw struggled in his return as the second pitcher in the weekend rotation, though. Ramsey pitched a total of five innings, allowing a season-high six runs and six walks as he didn’t have much control. Despite the tough outing, Ramsey was awarded the win, improving to 10-0 on the season.
2. Matt Shaw was phenomenal. The sophomore had possibly the best game of his collegiate career in an offensive masterclass. Shaw went 4-for-5 at the plate with a jaw-dropping three home runs and eight RBIs, tying the school record. If he can mimic any of this success in postseason play, Maryland will be in a great position to make a deep run.
3. The Terps pick up their seventh Big Ten series win. Maryland is a perfect 7-0 in Big Ten series following Friday’s, 8-7, and Saturday’s, 20-6, wins over Michigan. After overcoming Rutgers last weekend, the Terps’ fate lies in their own hands with four Big Ten games to go, the finale against Michigan on Sunday and three against Purdue next weekend. If Maryland wins out, they are guaranteed at least a share of the Big Ten regular season crown and the one-seed in the conference tournament.