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No. 18 Maryland baseball vs. Georgetown preview (part three)

The Terps look to keep it going in the midweek with a season series sweep over the local Hoyas.

Photo Courtesy of Joe Noyes/Maryland Terrapins
UMTerps

After a much needed series win in College Park against Northwestern this past weekend, No. 18 Maryland baseball will take on Georgetown on Tuesday in its second to last midweek matchup of the season.

They started the weekend in near impossible fashion on Friday, when junior left-handed pitcher Ryan Ramsey threw the second perfect game in Maryland history. It was just the 34th perfect game in college baseball history as the Terps secured the 13-0 win.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jason Savacool kept the Wildcats scoreless through seven innings on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough. The relievers gave up seven runs in the final two innings to help Northwestern tie up the series, 7-4.

The bats were quiet on Saturday, but they stepped up in a big way on Sunday. Maryland scored seven runs in the seventh and eighth inning to respond to Northwestern’s three runs in the seventh.

Sophomore catcher Luke Shliger and fifth-year center fielder Chris Alleyne led the way with a combined four RBIs to help Maryland win the series on Sunday, 10-5.

Georgetown has had recent success, coming off a 2-1 series win of its own against Seton Hall this past weekend.

Tuesday’s game will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. on Big Ten Plus.

What happened last time

Earlier this season, Maryland hosted Georgetown in College Park for a game on March 11 and March 14, the latter of which was pushed back due to a rain delay. The Terps won both games against the Hoyas.

In the first meeting, the Hoyas managed to strike first with sophomore outfielder Jake Hyde hitting a solo homer. Maryland responded quickly, though, with Alleyne smacking a solo shot and senior first baseman Maxwell Costes hitting a two-run homer to put it up 3-1 after the first.

The lead would quickly swing back to Georgetown as junior infielder Andrew Ciufo clobbered a grand slam out of the park in the top of the third inning to put the away team up by two runs.

Maryland got a run back in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly from sophomore shortstop Matt Shaw, but the Hoya bats were still mashing. Graduate student infielder Ethan Stern hit a three-run home run as Georgetown took an 8-4 lead after the fourth inning.

Despite Georgetown hitting another home run in the sixth inning, Maryland refused to give in. Junior third baseman Nick Lorusso picked up two RBIs from a sacrifice fly in the fifth and a fielder’s choice in the seventh. Junior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak also added a two-run RBI single to cut the lead to one after the seventh.

After Lorusso shut out the Hoyas pitching in the top of the ninth, Shaw completed the miraculous comeback with a two-run walk off home run down the right field line to win the game, 10-9.

The second game wasn’t as high scoring, but still featured some great performances from the Terps.

The scoring started in the top of the second inning with graduate student first baseman Ubaldo Lopez taking Savacool yard for a solo home run. This was quickly matched in the bottom of the inning as a sacrifice fly from freshman second baseman Jacob Orr tied the game.

That was Georgetown’s only score of the day, as Savacool pitched eight innings and only allowed three hits while striking out nine batters on the day to give him the win.

Maryland ballooned its lead in the third with an RBI single from Lorusso, a two-run homer from Costes and a solo shot from Lorusso for his second RBI. This gave Maryland the 5-1 advantage and securde its second win over the Hoyas in four days.

What happened since

Since playing Georgetown seven weeks ago, the Terps have been playing like one of the best teams in the country.

They’ve gone 22-7 since facing the Hoyas, with the bats performing at a high level.

They’ve also begun Big Ten conference play since then, and Maryland has won all five of its conference series its played. .

Many of Maryland’s midweek games have been close, but the only one that it has lost since the Georgetown game was on March 15 against Delaware; the Terps lost, 6-3, in Newark.

Georgetown hasn’t found the same type of success, but they’ve managed to stay above .500, going 17-12 since last playing Maryland. They are currently fourth in the Big East conference standings with a 7-8 conference record. The Hoyas have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Three things to watch

1. Who will be on the mound for the Terps? Despite having a good record in their recent midweek performances, Maryland has still not been able to find a consistent midweek pitcher all season. Last week, freshman left-handed pitcher Andrew Johnson started against Navy, but he only lasted one inning before the regular midweek starter, sophomore left-handed pitcher Logan Ott, came into the game. They ended up trying seven different arms on the mound in nine innings, but the bats would help them get an 18-10 win. After not starting Ott last week and Johnson only lasting one inning, it’ll be interesting to see who coach Rob Vaughn trusts with the ball against Georgetown.

2. Can Maryland have two home run leaders in the Big Ten? No one has separated themselves from the pack in terms of home run leaders in the Big Ten, but Maryland has two of the top three. Chris Alleyne is tied for the lead with 14 homers, and currently has as many home runs as he did in the 2019, 2020 and 2021 season combined. The fifth-year center fielder is showing why coming back to Maryland was the right choice. Maxwell Costes currently ranks third in the conference with 13 home runs, which is two shy of the 15 he hit in his freshman season. This is the only other season in which Costes has had double digit home runs for the school, including the shortened 2020 season. If its hot hitting continues, Maryland could have the number one and two hitters on the Big Ten home run leaderboard at the end of this season.

3. Can the bats be consistent for nine innings? The main reason why Maryland didn’t complete the series sweep over the Wildcats this weekend was a drop-off in hitting on Saturday. The lack of production allowed Northwestern to easily come back in a big way as soon as Savacool left the game. Even though this is a high scoring offense normally, it’s clear that with some of Maryland’s relief pitching woes, the offense will have to bail this team out of games just like it did against Navy last week. Hopefully for Maryland, it can take command of the strike zone to neutralize the team’s midweek bullpen on Tuesday.