Up 2-0, No. 15 Maryland baseball was rolling through the top of the second inning.
With sophomore catcher Luke Shliger and sophomore second baseman Kevin Keister each taking five-step leads, fifth year center fielder Chris Alleyne loaded up on his backfoot and smashed a three-run homer over the left field wall.
Alleyne’s home run marked his 20th of the season, becoming the first player in NCAA Division I baseball to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season since 2018.
The Terps scored nine more runs in the final seven innings to cruise to a dominant series-opening win over Purdue, 14-7, on Thursday night in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Maryland’s hot hitters continued to dominate in the top of the first as fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne got the ball rolling with a double to right field. After stealing third, Alleyne jogged home as junior third baseman Nick Lorusso hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw and junior right fielder Troy Schreffler each got on base with two outs, but they were left stranded on first and second as the half inning ended.
For the second straight series, sophomore right-handed pitcher Jason Savacool was the first pitcher in Maryland’s rotation to see the mound, and he did not disappoint in the bottom of the first. Savacool struck out the side in order, securing a first-inning lead for the Terps.
The second inning saw similar results. With two men on, sophomore catcher Luke Shliger doubled to left-center field, scoring junior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak from second.
Alleyne got back to work in the top of the second with his homerun that entrenched him into college baseball history.
Savacool didn’t give the Boilermakers a chance to score in the bottom of the second, and he only needed seven pitches to retire the side.
Senior first baseman Maxwell Costes kickstarted the top of the third with a single up the middle, and he was immediately sent home as Zmarzlak drilled a two-run homer to dead-center field.
Purdue finally produced a base runner in the bottom of the third with a walk and successful bunt. Savacool was able to keep the Boilermakers at bay, however, as Maryland held a 7-0 lead heading into the fourth inning.
The Terps expanded their lead to double digits in the fourth inning as Shaw and Schreffler each hit RBI singles. Costes brought in the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly. Savacool kept the momentum on Maryland’s side, manufacturing an impressive four-pitch inning in the bottom of the fourth.
In the top of the fifth, freshman designated hitter Ian Petrutz hit Maryland’s third home run of the day as he absolutely destroyed a two-run bomb over the right field wall. Lorusso then stepped up to the plate with two runners in scoring position. The junior grounded out to third, scoring Shliger in the process.
The Boilermakers broke through in the bottom of the fifth as senior pinch hitter Ryan Howe hit an RBI groundout to shortstop, but one run was all they could steal before Savacool closed out the inning.
After both teams put up zeroes in the sixth, the Boilermakers got to Savacool in the bottom of the seventh as they made this game just a bit closer. Despite two outs on the board, redshirt sophomore pinch hitter Jack Firestone began the rally with an RBI single to right field.
Junior left fielder Mike Bolton Jr. brought in the other two runs as he roped a double down the left field line, bringing Maryland’s lead back to single-digits.
Savacool finished the seventh inning before he was relieved by freshman righty Ryan Van Vurne to start the eighth.
Purdue senior right-handed pitcher Ricky Castro allowed three runs in the top of the fifth but started to get a read on the Terps as he stayed on the mound, holding them scoreless for three straight innings.
Heading into the ninth inning, Maryland’s offense had to maintain a shrinking lead after Howe hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to six in the bottom of the eighth.
A Zmarzlak solo home run in the final inning all but did it as the Terps walked away with a convincing 14-7 win.
Three things to know
1. Jason Savacool is locked in. The sophomore righty was once again tasked as the series-opening pitcher, and he was nearly flawless. Last weekend, Savacool pitched six innings, striking out seven batters and only allowing four hits and one run. Savacool was unhittable for most of Thursday’s game, recording four strikeouts, three hits and one run in his first six innings pitched. No matter who begins the series – whether it be Savacool, junior lefty Ryan Ramsey or junior righty Nick Dean – they give the Terps a massive advantage on the mound every game.
2. The Terps are peaking at the perfect time. Maryland, especially its offense, has had its best four-game stretch of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Terps have scored more than 12 runs in each of the last four games, while beating their opponents by an average of nine runs per game. If Maryland can keep up this play, it shouldn’t have a problem winning the Big Ten Tournament and securing a host site for the NCAA Tournament regionals.
3. Maryland captures the all-time wins record. The 2022 Maryland baseball team has inked its spot in school record books, breaking the single-season win record with its win over Purdue. The 14-7 win marks the 43rd of the season for the Terps, surpassing the 2015 team’s 42 wins. With two more regular season games plus the postseason, the 2022 squad could make this record untouchable.