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Maryland baseball steamrolls Albany, 18-3, for sixth straight win

The Terps rode a 10-run eighth inning and a gem from Jason Savacool to a blowout win.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland baseball entered the weekend with an opportunity to extend its win streak, and an offensive barrage allowed the Terps to do just that.

Maryland exploded for 18 runs, highlighted by redshirt junior third baseman Nick Lorusso, who went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, and fifth-year right fielder Matt Woods, who went 3-for-6 with four RBIs of his own.

The offense provided phenomenal run support for junior ace Jason Savacool, who tossed a gem with seven scoreless innings to help secure Maryland a 18-3 victory over Albany on Friday in College Park.

Albany’s ace, redshirt junior southpaw Cregg Scherrer, mowed down junior Luke Shliger and Lorusso to start the bottom half of the first. He then surrendered three straight two-out walks to load the bases for fifth-year Matt Woods, but Scherrer escaped the early jam.

After a scoreless first, Savacool sent the Great Danes down in order in the second inning.

The Terps built upon Savacool’s early success in the bottom half of the inning. Senior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak ate a hit-by-pitch to start the inning and ended up at third after a wild pitch and stolen base. Sophomore center fielder Elijah Lambros drew a walk to give Maryland runners on the corners with no outs.

Lorusso came up clutch with runners in scoring position, driving a ball to the right-center field gap for a two-run double to give Maryland an early 2-0 lead.

With a lead in hand, Savacool continued to shut Albany down. He sent it down in order for the second straight time in the third inning and avoided damage in the fourth after allowing two base runners. The Great Danes could not touch Savacool in the fifth as he retired them in order for the third time in five innings.

In the bottom half of the third, Woods cranked a hanging breaking ball over the right-center field wall for a solo home run to extend the Maryland lead to three.

After allowing two runners to reach base in the fifth, Albany yanked Scherrer. He finished having thrown 4 23 innings, allowing three runs — all earned — three hits and six walks. He struck out four.

Savacool stayed strong in the sixth, only allowing one base runner and striking out his sixth batter of the game.

The Terps capitalized on another strong Savacool frame with a two-run inning. A Lambros hustle double and a Shliger walk set up junior shortstop Matt Shaw with runners in scoring position, and Shaw ripped the ball down the left-field line for a bases-clearing two-RBI double. Woods attempted to bunt in a sixth run with two outs but was unsuccessful, ending the sixth inning.

The seventh inning was Savacool’s last of the gem that he pitched Friday. He exited the game after throwing seven shutout innings with seven strikeouts and just four hits and one walk allowed.

The Maryland offense kept cooking in the bottom half of the seventh, as sophomore first baseman Eddie Hacopian and Zmarzlak crushed back-to-back opposite-field solo jacks to give Maryland a 7-0 lead. Lorusso tacked on another run with his third RBI of the game, pushing the score to 8-0.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Maryland offense exploded for a 10-run inning, providing closer freshman Wagner Morrissette with an abundance of insurance.

In the top of the ninth, Albany avoided getting shut out, as sophomore catcher Tyler Pugliese took advantage of the freshman and launched a two-run home run to dead center. Redshirt senior infielder Devan Kruzinski was able to score a third run for the Great Danes with an RBI single, but that was all they could muster.

Three things to know

1. Jason Savacool pitched a gem. The Great Danes could not touch Savacool all day, as the right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings. Savacool allowed only four hits and one walk and had seven strikeouts on the day. This is the second straight stellar performance from Savacool, and Maryland is hoping it will be a consistent occurrence on Fridays from here on out.

2. Nick Lorusso and Matt Woods led the offensive explosion. Lorusso stayed scorching hot, as he went 2-for-4 with four RBIs. His two hits extend his hitting streak to 16 games and the four RBIs extended his season total to 30, which leads the team. Woods has also been another pivotal bat in Maryland’s lineup, and he was able to provide four RBIs of his own. It was his third straight game with a run batted in.

3. Maryland extended its win streak to six games. Since head coach Rob Vaughn made some tweaks to Maryland’s batting order, it has been scorching hot. The offense and defense have finally been clicking at the same time, and Maryland has been able to stack wins.