With the score tied at three, No. 18 Maryland baseball was in the midst of a comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning after falling behind 3-0.
With runners on first and second, freshman designated hitter Ian Petrutz stepped up to the plate with a chance to take the lead. After working a favorable 3-1 count, Petrutz swung at an outside fastball and pulled it way over the right field wall, giving Maryland a 6-3 lead, its first of the game.
The Terps never gave up the lead as Petrutz’s home run was the third of six Maryland home runs as its offense exploded once the fifth inning hit. The Terps scored seven runs in the final three innings at the plate as they cruised past Michigan, 15-10, on Sunday in College Park to secure the series sweep.
With the series sweep, Maryland is now tied for first place in the Big Ten with Rutgers. The Terps have a midweek game against James Madison and then finish Big Ten play with a weekend series on the road against Purdue.
Sunday’s matchup had an eerily similar start to Saturday’s game. Michigan struck first as junior catcher Jimmy Obertop hit an RBI single to center field.
Then, a single and two walks loaded the bases for the Terps, but Maryland came up empty and stranded runners in scoring position to end the first inning.
Both pitchers were locked in for the second and third innings as neither team could produce any runs.
Right-handed pitcher Nick Dean struck out two, while Michigan sophomore right-handed pitcher Chase Allen struck out one. Each pitcher allowed just one hit through three.
The Wolverines got back to work in the top of the fourth as junior left fielder Tito Flores got on base with a single, and then scored Michigan’s second run of the game as senior shortstop Riley Bertram ripped a double to center field.
In the bottom half of the inning, Petrutz tried to ignite the Terps with a single to right field, but Maryland stranded a runner in scoring position for the fourth time in the game as it struggled to break through.
Michigan added on one more in the top of the fifth. Junior designated hitter Clark Elliot walked to get on base and then scored on a sacrifice fly from graduate student third baseman Matt Frey, pushing Michigan’s lead to three.
It took four innings, but Maryland’s offense erupted in the bottom of the fifth as junior third baseman Nick Lorusso’s and sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw’s barrage of homers in the series continued. Fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne led off the inning with a standup double and Lorusso brought him home with a moon shot to deep center field.
With the bases cleared, Shaw drilled his fifth home run of the weekend over the right field wall. Then, back-to-back singles put runners on first and second as Petrutz stepped up to the plate. The freshman knew the ball was gone the second he hit it, crushing the Terps third home run of the inning.
Junior right-handed pitcher Noah Rennard relieved Allen one-third of the way through the inning, but this didn’t change much. Alleyne got his second opportunity of the inning and took advantage, smacking another home run over the right field wall. The influx of home runs gave Maryland a commanding 8-3 lead.
Michigan junior right fielder Joey Velazquez got in on the home run action as he led off the top of the sixth with a solo homer. Dean was able to force two outs before he was replaced by redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Will Glock, who only needed one pitch to get the final out.
The Terps continued to lay down the hammer in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore second baseman Kevin Keister was able to push the lead back to five with an RBI infield single.
Michigan elected to make another pitching change with runners on first and third. However, sophomore left-handed pitcher Logan Wood only lasted one pitch, which was crushed by sophomore catcher Luke Shliger for a three-run homer, the fifth Maryland homer of the game.
After a scoreless inning from the Wolverines, Shaw hit his second home run of the day and Petrutz recorded his fourth RBI of the day. Maryland had expanded its lead to double-digits in the bottom of the seventh, all but securing the win and series sweep, despite a six-run ninth inning from the Wolverines.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s bullpen got the job done before the ninth inning. Outside of a few relief pitchers, the Terps’ bullpen has been fairly inconsistent this year. Sunday’s game was a different story, however, as the first four relief pitchers shut the door once Dean exited the game. The quartet allowed just one hit and zero runs before the ninth inning, never giving Michigan a chance to build a real late-game comeback despite scoring six runs in the final inning.
2. The Terps often score in chunks. Maryland’s offense was held scoreless through the first four innings, but made up for it all in the fifth inning, scoring eight runs on four home runs. The Terps tallied 13 home runs and 43 runs against Michigan this series, the most all season, and many of them came in only a few innings. Maryland scored three or more runs in seven innings this weekend. Even when the Terps offense looks like it’s struggling, they can never be counted out.
3. Maryland captured its second Big Ten series sweep. Sunday’s 15-10 win over Michigan marked the Terps’ second Big Ten series sweep of the season. After falling to the Wolverines, 7-4, earlier this season, it seemed as though this series could’ve gone either way, but the Terps dominated throughout. This impressive outing truly shows how far Maryland has come this season, especially on the offensive end. With the win, Maryland moves into a tie for first place in the Big Ten with Rutgers and just three Big Ten games to go.