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No. 4 Ole Miss stymies No. 18 Maryland baseball’s bats, wins 5-1

Maryland had just five hits in its third loss in four games against Ole Miss.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
Twitter @TerpsBaseball

After a rough Friday start against Maryland baseball last weekend, Ole Miss junior right-handed pitcher Jack Dougherty shoved Friday, shutting down Maryland’s electric offense.

Dougherty threw six innings, allowed one run, three hits and tossed seven strikeouts. His performance was key for a 5-1 Ole Miss victory in Maryland’s first game of the Cambria College Classic in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The loss puts Maryland below .500 with a 4-5 record. The Terps will have a chance to rebound Saturday against No. 7 Vanderbilt.

To start the game, Savacool retired the side in order and was helped by a diving catch by senior left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak.

Despite facing Dougherty last weekend, Maryland’s top three hitters did not look comfortable in the box as they failed to time up his pitches sending them down in order striking out two.

Junior Kemp Alderman wasted no time to start the second inning and pounced on a fastball from Savacool, crushing a ball to right for an opposite field homer to give Ole Miss an early 1-0 lead. Savacool settled in after giving up the long ball, retiring the next three Ole Miss batters.

Maryland could not find an answer in the bottom half of the innings, as Dougherty continued to deal, racking up his third and fourth strikeouts after only facing six Maryland batters.

Freshman Will Furniss led off the third with a single to center field, which set up junior shortstop Jacob Gonzales, who worked a full count and slapped a pay-off pitch to right field for a double, giving the Rebels second and third with one out. Savacool battened down the hatches, getting out of the jam not allowing a run.

After a strikeout by junior Kevin Keister, Zmarzlak and sophomore Elijah Lambros were able to draw two straight walks to earn Maryland its first baserunners of the game. Maryland was unable to take advantage of the scoring opportunity as Shliger struck out for the second time and Shaw popped out in foul territory to end the inning.

Alderman continued to cause trouble for Maryland. He hit a ground ball to third, but an errant throw turned what should have been an out into two bases on an error. Savacool threw a wild pitch on the ensuing at-bat that advanced Alderman to third with no outs. But Maryland’s ace kept his cool, forcing two straight popouts and a strike out to end the inning, his second of the game.

Lorusso broke Dougherty’s no-hitter to start the bottom half of the fourth with a single to left field. Petrutz then hit a weak ground ball to second, allowing Lorusso to advance to second and putting a runner in scoring position with one out. Fifth-year right fielder Matt Woods hit a huge two-out rope up the middle to knot the game up at 1-1.

In the top of the fifth Savacool allowed a walk, then with two outs Ole Miss had an immediate response as senior center fielder Ethan Groff absolutely pimped a two-out, two-run homer to dead center to give Ole Miss the lead back at 3-1.

In the bottom half of the inning Zmarzlak drew his second walk to give Maryland an early baserunner. Shliger hit a screaming line drive to left, but Alderman made yet another play with a spectacular sliding catch to rob Shliger of a hit.

Junior southpaw Tommy Kane came in relief for Savacool and sent the Rebels down in order, forcing two ground balls and a strikeout.

With two outs in the bottom half of the inning, sophomore first baseman Eddie Hacopian smacked a one-hopper off the wall for a huge double to set up Woods for another RBI opportunity. Woods got jammed this time, popping out to short.

Senior right-hander Matt Parenteau came in relief for the Rebels, but Keister began the bottom half of the seventh with a lead-off single to center. Zmarzlak hit a hard ground ball to junior third baseman Ethan Lege, who made a spectacular diving stop to hose Keister at second for the force out. Zmarzlak stole second to give Lambros an opportunity to cut the Ole Miss lead. Lambros was able to flash his speed for an infield single, putting runners on the corners for Shliger with one out.

Parenteau was yanked for sophomore righty Mason Nichols after facing three batters.

Shliger worked a multi-pitch at-bat and then ate a pitch to the shoulder, setting Shaw up with the bases loaded. Shaw was unable to put the ball in play as he went down on strikes for the second out. Lorusso could not become the hero either as he popped out to center ending the inning.

In the ninth Groff picked up his third and fourth RBIs as he added some insurance for the Rebels, dropping a bloop two-run single to left field to extend the Ole Miss lead to 5-1, sealing the Terps’ fate.

Three things to know

1. Maryland’s offense struggled for the first time this season. Despite the record, Maryland averages six runs per game and has an extremely dangerous lineup from top to bottom. Every offense has tough days where they struggle to get anything going, and Friday was one of them for Maryland. Maryland will look to bounce back as they take on No. 7 Vanderbilt Saturday.

2. Home runs hurt Maryland’s pitching staff. Savacool had a solid outing Friday despite two at-bats that accounted for Ole Miss’ three runs, one of which was a solo shot in the second and the other a two-run homer in the fifth. The Maryland pitching staff has been extremely susceptible to giving up home runs to start the 2023 season. This is yet another kink that the pitching staff will have to figure out.

3. Ole Miss pitchers step up with the absence of No. 1 starter Hunter Elliott. After a rough outing filling in the shoes of Elliott last Friday, Jack Dougherty was dealing throughout his entire start this Friday, totaling seven strikeouts with four of them coming against his first six batters faced. The bullpen was also able to get themselves out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh that could have given Maryland the lead.