Maryland baseball entered Sunday looking to sweep a weekend series for the first time this season.
Its offense continued to produce with eight hits, two home runs and thirteen walks in a 9-1 win over Maine, the Terps’ fourth win in a row.
Freshman southpaw Kyle McCoy and junior right-hander Nate Haberthier were phenomenal on the bump, combining to allow one earned run and three hits with 11 strikeouts. McCoy looked comfortable from the start, sending Maine’s top of the order back to the dugout.
“I think you’ll see both of those guys in some form or fashion whether its you know, longer Kyle, shorter Nate. Shorter Kyle, longer Nate. I think those two, they pair up so well together,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.
Junior third baseman Nick Lorusso continued to produce, as he got Maryland an early baserunner with one out. Junior shortstop Matt Shaw then drew a five-pitch walk to set up runners on first and second. The Terps then got unlucky, as sophomore designated hitter Ian Petrutz hit a soft line drive to junior second baseman Quinn McDaniel, causing Shaw to get doubled up at first to end the first inning.
McCoy continued to deal in the second, forcing another 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts.
In the bottom half of the inning, sophomore first baseman Eddie Hacopian laid down a successful two-out bunt single, but Maryland couldn’t muster anything else.
In the third, Maine pounced on McCoy’s first mistake of the day, as senior catcher Colby Emmertz sent a ball over the left-center field wall for a solo home run to give Maine a 1-0 lead. But McCoy stayed cool and completed the inning without allowing any more damage.
Sophomore center fielder Elijah Lambros and junior catcher Luke Shliger led off the third with back-to-back walks for Maryland. Lorusso weakly grounded into a fielder’s choice to third, but Shliger and Lorusso then stole second and third, respectively, to set up Shaw, who was intentionally walked.
“The games we were losing we really weren’t agrssive. So you know, we had to change something up and it really helped us win these past three games for sure,” Keister said.
Maryland had the bases loaded for Petrutz, who was looking to do some damage with some hardy swings. But Petrutz was drilled in the the leg, bringing in the first run for Maryland. Fifth-year right fielder Matt Woods and Hacopian were also hit by pitches, giving Maryland a 3-1 lead. The free bases kept coming, as senior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak drew the fourth walk of the inning to score Maryland’s fourth run.
McCoy’s outing lasted only three innings despite having only one major mistake. Haberthier entered in the fourth, continuing to keep the Black Bears’ offense at bay by retiring them in order.
Maine’s starting pitcher, junior right-hander Noah Lewis, struggled to find the strike zone in the third and fourth innings. He walked Shliger to begin the third for his sixth walk of the game. Lorusso then reached base once again on a fielder’s choice, and Shaw hit an infield single, advancing Lorusso to third.
Shaw stole second and Petrutz drew a walk to load the bases for the second straight inning. Junior second baseman Kevin Keister took advantage, launching a ball into the left-center field gap for a two-run double, advancing the score to 6-1.
The fifth and sixth innings were all Haberthier, as he retried 10 straight batters, striking out six.
In the bottom half of the sixth, the Terps loaded the bases yet again with Shaw reaching on a fielder’s choice and two straight walks by Petrutz and Keister. But this time, Woods hit a soft grounder back to the pitcher, which ended the inning.
In the seventh, the Maine offense began to figure out Haberthier, as sophomore first baseman Jeremiah Jenkins ripped a double down the left field line and senior designated hitter Connor Goodman singled to left. Maine had runners on first and third with one out, but Haberthier struck out two in a row to get out of the jam.
In the bottom of the seventh, senior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak kept his hands back and launched a ball over the right field fence for an opposite-field solo home run, advancing Maryland’s lead to six.
In the eighth inning, Woods made up for his prior groundout, working a full count and winning the battle, as he sent a ball off the top of the wall in right field for another solo home run for the Terps, making it 8-1. Zmarzlak almost went back-to-back with Woods, but his drive bounced off the center field wall for a double. Lambros cashed in on the RBI opportunity with a double to make it 9-1, providing even more insurance in a dominant Maryland win.
“It feels great. We’re back above .500 and you know, we’re gonna build off of it,” Keister said.
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s pitching was outstanding. Kyle McCoy got his first weekend start of his collegiate career and took advantage of the three innings that head coach Rob Vaughn gave him. His only mistake was the solo home run that he gave up, which was the only hit he allowed Sunday. Haberthier was also a force on the mound, as he retired 10 straight batters and had eight strike outs.
2. The Terps are demons on the base path. Maryland stole a total of six bags Sunday, which was a welcome sight for it. The stolen bases allowed it to add some extra pressure on Maine as well as set up runners in scoring position. If the Terps continue to stay this aggressive on the bases, they will keep making opponents uncomfortable.
3. Maryland picked up its first weekend series sweep of the year. Though rigorous competition played a role, the Terps have struggled to stack together wins early in the 2023 season. That changed this past weekend against an inferior Maine club, as Maryland picked up its first sweep of the year. Maryland has won four straight games to get back above .500, and it hopes it can continue its winning ways as the schedule opens up.