Maryland baseball put itself in prime position to sweep the 25th-ranked Iowa with a win in game two of a huge series.
Senior right-handed pitcher Nick Dean came through for the Terps, leading the way with a gem — he threw five shutout innings and allowed only one hit. The Maryland offense also provided Dean with sustainable run support throughout his performance.
Dean’s outing, combined with another strong performance at the plate from junior shortstop Matt Shaw, helped secure the 7-4 victory for Maryland.
Junior catcher Luke Shliger started the game off with a wall-scraping leadoff home run over the right-field fence. The Terps then loaded the bases with junior middle infielders Shaw and Kevin Keister getting hit by pitches, and senior designated hitter Bobby Zmarzlak was able to drive in another run with a swinging bunt to give Maryland an early 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, the Hawkeyes pulled their starting pitcher, right-hander Keaton Anthony, for Zach Voelker. The Terps continued to apply pressure, as sophomore center fielder Elijah Lambros singled to start the inning, which was followed up by a double from senior third baseman Nick Lorusso. Shaw then hit a fly ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to score Lambros.
Dean shut down the Iowa offense through the first three innings, not allowing a single hit with four strikeouts. The bottom of the third was highlighted by a strike-them-out, throw-them-out double play; Dean struck out the batter and Shliger gunned the runner attempting to steal second.
Dean continued to shut down the Iowa offense in the fourth with a 1-2-3 inning, forcing weak contact.
In the fifth, sophomore first baseman Eddie Hacopian crushed a two-out double to left-center field to give the Terps a runner in scoring position. The next at-bat, though, a shift employed by the Iowa defense robbed sophomore left fielder Jacob Orr of an RBI single.
Dean’s no-hit bid was killed in the bottom of the fifth, as Iowa catcher Cade Moss ripped a two-out double down the left-field line. Still, Dean was able to keep his composure, forcing a flyout to end the the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, junior right-handed pitcher Nate Haberthier relieved Dean. The Hawkeyes began the bottom half with a leadoff single, which was followed up by an RBI double from Anthony for their first run of the game. The Hawkeyes then loaded the bases for second baseman Sam Hojnar.
Hojnar rocketed a ball right back at Haberthier which hit him in the back, and even though he was able to quickly pop up and throw out the runner at the plate, he had to exit the game. Fifth-year righty Kenny Lippman entered and was able to escape the bases-loaded jam.
Redshirt junior David Falco Jr. relieved a struggling Lippman in the bottom of the seventh and couldn’t limit the damage. The first batter he faced, first baseman Brenna Dorighi, launched a three-run home run over the right field fence to give Iowa its first lead of the day at 4-3.
But the Terps’ offense was not going to let this game get away from them that easily, as they loaded the bases for Lorusso, who walked to tie the game. Shaw continued to stay on fire, as he smoked a two-RBI single to give Maryland its two-run lead back.
Maryland added a seventh insurance run in the top of the ninth when, with the bases loaded, Lorusso hit a ball to the shortstop, who could not cleanly field it. That run secured the Terps a 7-4 victory.
Three things to know
1. Nick Dean had a strong outing. After struggling his past few starts, Dean had a much-needed strong performance Saturday. Dean threw five shutout innings, allowing only one hit and striking out four. The dominant Dean looks like he is back
2. Matt Shaw stays scorching hot. The baseball has looked like a beachball for Shaw over the first two games of this series. Maryland’s star shortstop went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, continuing his momentum.
3. Maryland’s bullpen had a rough day. The Maryland relievers almost spoiled Dean’s stellar performance, collectively allowing four runs on five hits. Iowa took a 4-3 lead after Maryland held a 3-0 lead after five innings. The bullpen will have to improve if Maryland wants to go far this season.