ARLINGTON, Va. — In another midweek game in which Maryland baseball struggled early, the Terps found themselves down 3-2 in the third, having only two hits to George Washington’s six.
But in the top of the fourth inning, Maryland set up junior shortstop Matt Shaw perfectly to flip the script. Junior catcher Luke Shliger roped a single and senior third baseman Nick Lorusso walked to put two on with one out. Right on cue, Shaw hit a three-run shot to left field to take a two-run lead.
The Terps never looked back, as sophomore infielder Eddie Hacopian broke the game open with a three-run homer that hit the scoreboard in the sixth, and senior outfielder Bobby Zmarzlak sealed the deal with a grand slam in the seventh. Maryland ultimately won, 15-8, to snap a two-game midweek losing streak.
Despite the win, what has been Maryland’s weakness all season — its pitching — continued to show itself, as junior right-handed pitcher Nate Haberthier couldn’t keep the Colonials quiet in his 3 1⁄3 innings pitched. The Terps went down early in the first after an RBI single from Sam Gates, giving George Washington an early lead.
Regardless, the Terps continued to work George Washington’s pitchers, managing four walks in the second inning. They eventually capitalized as Lorusso hit an RBI single to give the Terps their first lead.
The tide of the game really turned in the fourth inning when a single by Shliger, a walk by Loursso, and Shaw’s three-run home run gave the Terps a two-run lead.
“He’s a really professional hitter, and someone’s gonna pay him a whole lot of money in a couple of months,” head Coach Rob Vaughn said on Shaw.
Shaw’s 42nd home run of his career leaves him one shy of the Maryland baseball career home run record.
“I had no idea he was that close to [the record], but it doesn’t shock me,” Vaughn said. “We’re gonna need him to get hot and go down the stretch... we’re gonna need him to blow that record out of the water for us to keep playing baseball for a while.”
The Colonials wouldn’t back down, scoring again in the fourth, but the Terps began to pull away when Haberthier came out later in the inning. Fifth-year reliever Kenny Lippman and juniors Logan Ott and Matt Orlando each had scoreless outings Tuesday, which was crucial for a Maryland team that has no time to rest before its next game just a day later.
Vaughn was complimentary when asked about his midweek pitching crew.
“Kenny [Lipman] came in and was himself...Ott, really proud of him. He’s kind of reinvented himself a little bit on the mound and has been really effective his last two outings,” Vaughn said. “And then Orlando, still working back from an injury and he hangs zero...”
Shaw’s home run was the first in a slew of hits that put George Washington away. Shliger hit an RBI single in the fifth to take the lead back to two, and in the sixth, two walks were taken advantage of by a long homer by Hacopian. The seventh inning sealed the deal, as an array of hits, hit by pitches, walks, and sacrifice flies were capped by a grand slam by Zmarzlak that ballooned the Terps’ lead to 11.
Vaughn initially turned to freshmen right-hander Wagner Morrissette to close out the game, but he surrendered three hits, including a three-run homer by Belo. Two walks by left-handed pitcher Travis Garnett forced him out of the game, so right-handed pitcher Joey Colucci eventually came in to seal the win.
Maryland will face James Madison Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Three things to know
1. The Terps continue to get on base. Maryland is one of the best teams in the country in getting on base via free passes, and it showcased that ability Tuesday. The Terps worked 14 walks and were hit by three pitches.
“We did a good job controlling the strike zone,” Vaughn said. “We had around 15 walks, which is huge. Something we take a lot of pride in is doing that and getting hits in big spots...”
2. Home runs led Maryland to a win. In the eighth inning, the Terps led by 11 but were only out-hitting the Colonials by one. 10 of Maryland’s 15 runs in the game were brought in by home runs, a testament to both the power and plate discipline of Maryland’s offense.
3. A monster game from Luke Shliger. Shliger reached base in all six of his plate appearances Tuesday — an impressive feat. Shliger went 3-for-3 with three walks, an RBI, and two stolen bases all. His on-base percentage, currently at .492, could eclipse .500 by the end of the season if he keeps his current form up.