After a rough week, No. 18 Maryland baseball returned home for the first out of two games this season against Delaware.
Maryland’s clicked early and often, putting Delaware in a 6-0 hole in the early innings with homers from Ian Petrutz and Elijah Lambros. Delaware struck back in the sixth by scoring two runs, but was unable to overcome the Maryland bullpen, which stalled Delaware’s offensive opportunities.
Maryland ultimately secured an 8-3 win, its first at home this season, to improve to 4-4.
Freshman southpaw Kyle McCoy got his first collegiate start for the Terps, getting two strikeouts and giving up a hit in a scoreless first inning. Head coach Rob Vaughn has made it clear that he wants to ease McCoy into collegiate baseball, and junior southpaw Logan Ott relieved him after the first inning.
In the bottom of the first, Luke Shliger started the Maryland offense off with a walk. Matt Shaw then recorded a base hit and a throwing error moved Shliger to third. Nick Lorusso then brought in Shliger on a groundout, and Ian Petrutz hit his fifth home run of the season to extend the Terps’ lead to 2-0.
The offense kept moving in the bottom of the second as well. Kevin Keister and Lambros walked, which was followed by a Shliger double to bring them both home.
The Blue Hens finally showed some life in the third by getting two hits off Ott, but they amounted to no runs. They also smacked two hard-hit balls in the fourth that threatened to clear the wall, but Ott bent and refused to break, keeping the score 4-0 headed to the bottom of the fourth.
There, Maryland struck again after a Keister walk was followed by a Lambros home run, his third of the season.
A notable trend during the game was lots of hard contact by the Blue Hens that didn’t amount to many positive results. That changed in the sixth, as Joey Loynd hit a double and JJ Freeman hit a flyout to the warning track that moved Loynd to third. Jake Dunion then hit a single to bring in Loynd, ending the shutout and cutting Delaware’s deficit to five. Owen Petrich kept it rolling with an RBI single of his own to end Ott’s outing, bringing the Blue Hens within striking distance.
Overall, Ott put together a good performance in relief, going 4 2⁄3 innings with seven strikeouts, allowing seven hits and two earned runs.
The Terps scored another pair of runs in the bottom of sixth via a Lorusso RBI single that brought in both Lambros and Shliger.
Maryland turned to Andrew Johnson for the seventh, but he walked two batters and surrendered a RBI single to JJ Freeman before being relieved by David Falco Jr., who retired the side.
Falco Jr. and Nigel Belgrave combined to close out the game, combining for 2 1⁄3 innings pitched, four strikeouts and just one hit allowed. The Blue Hens were unable to overcome their early-game deficit, ultimately falling 8-3.
The Terps had a great midweek performance to prepare them for their next challenge at the Cambria College Classic in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they will face No. 4 Ole Miss Friday, No. 7 Vanderbilt Saturday and Hawaii Sunday.
Three things to know
1. Lambros has shown huge improvement. The South Carolina transfer came into this season never having hit a collegiate home run, and had a sub-.500 OPS at South Carolina in his limited plate appearances. But Lambros has been excellent since getting to Maryland, hitting his third homer of the season against the Blue Hens as a part of a multi-hit showing.
2. The Maryland bullpen bounced back. After two disastrous performances in Oxford, Mississippi, the bullpen held Maryland’s lead Tuesday. Ott gave up seven hits but only surrendered two runs with seven strikeouts; he also earned the win. Belgrave and Falco Jr. closed out the game almost perfectly, something that was a rarity last weekend.
3. Maryland’s first home win of 2023. Maryland cued its brand-new flashing light display after Tuesday’s game concluded, marking its first home win of 2023. After traveling to Minneapolis, the Terps will play UMBC next Tuesday at home and then will host their first weekend series against Maine, starting on March 10.