On Saturday, Maryland baseball’s offense fell silent in a disappointing 6-3 loss to Albany. On Sunday, though, the Terps could bounce back and clinch their second straight series with a win.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Kyle McCoy got the start Sunday, with head coach Rob Vaughn stating he wanted to stretch his innings against Albany and get him to about 70 pitches. McCoy had no issue dealing, keeping a fast rhythm and leaving Albany with a single hit and a walk in his first five innings of work. With McCoy hitting his pitch limit, junior right-handed pitcher Nate Haberthier came in to finish the job. In four innings in relief, Haberthier retired 11 straight batters and did not allow a hit, closing out the game and solidifying a 4-0 Maryland win.
The weather in College Park was not ideal. Maryland softball canceled its game against Rider due to cold temperatures, with temperatures feeling like 28 degrees and plenty of wind, but the show went on for Maryland baseball.
Redshirt sophomore left-handed pitcher Thomas Quinn got the start for Albany in a bullpen game, trying to replicate its staff’s performance from Saturday. The Terps couldn’t get things going in the first and threatened with runners on the corners in the second, but couldn’t score in either frame.
In the third, the Terps finally put runs on the board. Sophomore center fielder Elijah Lambros was hit by the first pitch of the inning, and junior catcher Luke Shliger brought him in the ensuing at-bat with an RBI double. Senior third baseman Nick Lorusso kept his bat hot with an RBI single that drove home Shliger from second, giving the Terps an early two-run lead early.
The Terps had a chance to blow it open in the third with two runners on and no outs but could not extend the lead.
But McCoy kept shoving, retiring his eighth straight batter in the fourth. While Vaughn had McCoy on a pitch count, his stellar performance gave him an extra inning, where he sent the Great Danes in order yet again in the fifth.
Despite McCoy’s gutsy outing, Maryland couldn’t give him any run support. Albany freshman righty Ryan Pittz avoided damage by keeping runners on the corners in the fourth, and sophomore southpaw Nicholas Jessen kept the game within reach by sending Maryland down in order in the fifth.
Haberthier came in for McCoy in the sixth and picked up right where he left off, sending Albany down in order.
Sophomore designated hitter Ian Petrutz broke his cold streak with a double to lead off the sixth, threatening to score yet again. But the Terps proceeded to go down in order, stranding Petrutz at third.
However, Maryland finally woke up in the seventh. Lorusso walked, and junior shortstop Matt Shaw brought him in on a two-run shot to center field. Junior second baseman Kevin Keister then hit a single to extend his on-base streak to 18 games, but that would be all for Maryland’s bats.
Haberthier retired four more batters, racking up his fifth strikeout and extending the streak to 22 batters that were unable to reach base. In the ninth, Shaw broke the streak with an error at shortstop, but Haberthier induced a groundout to put an end to the game.
With that, Maryland clinched their second straight series win. Winners of seven of their past eight games, it will face George Washington at home Tuesday.
Three things to know
1. McCoy and Haberthier combined for a gem. Last week against Maine, Vaughn noted that McCoy is great at inducing weak contact and has high upside as a freshman. He showed both Sunday, pitching five shutout innings and surrendering only a walk and a hit. Haberthier relieved him in the sixth and kept things going with his best appearance yet: four innings pitched, no hits, no walks and five strikeouts. It was a very promising start from both pitchers, who combined to retire more than 20 straight batters.
2. Maryland’s offense sputtered yet again. Depending on a performance from a freshman pitcher is never a good sign. Maryland got two runs in the third inning, falling silent until Shaw’s seventh-inning homer. Maryland scored 18 runs on Friday and only scored three on Saturday in a loss. Despite Albany having one of the worst pitching staffs in the America East, Maryland couldn’t get going at the plate.
3. An incredibly quick game. Great pitching performances by both teams translated to an incredibly quick game. An average collegiate baseball game is about three hours, but the pace by all pitchers, along with both offenses unable to create long rallies, finished the game in about two hours and a couple minutes in change. With the winter cold clearly in play, the swift pace was a fortunate outcome for both teams.