Maryland baseball’s midweek games have had a consistent script to them this season. Runs, runs and even more runs. In their nine midweek games coming into Wednesday’s contest against James Madison, the Terps were 6-3, outscoring their opponents 85-62.
Already up six runs, the Terps put the game out of reach in the seventh, as sophomore center fielder Elijah Lambros hit his second home run of the game, this one a three-run blast to left field for his third, fourth and fifth RBIs of the game.
Maryland rode its high-powered offense to victory against James Madison, out-slugging the Dukes en route to a 19-12 win.
“You know, 19 runs, but we just gotta be better on the other side of the baseball and our guys know that,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.
In addition to Lambros’ impressive showing, senior third baseman Nick Lorusso continued his blazing-hot season at the plate, rattling off six RBIs Wednesday to bring his season total up to 62. With 19 regular-season games left, he’s 21 RBIs short of tying the single-season program record set by Derek Hacopian in 1992 Hacopian is the father of current Terp Eddie Hacopian, who himself went 4-for-5 from the plate, knocking in two runs of his own.
“It’s crazy man, I thought [Lorusso] was elite last year,” Vaughn said. “... I just think he’s a model of consistency.”
It wasn’t just Lorusso and Lambros who had great showings, as three other Terps — including Hacopian — knocked in runs. Sophomore Ian Petrutz, who played right field Wednesday, cranked a three-run homer in the first inning and junior Luke Shliger was walked with the bases loaded in the fourth.
From the get-go, it was clear that a high-scoring affair was in the cards, as the first inning lasted over 30 minutes and featured nine combined runs.
James Madison got off to an electric start, putting up a three-spot on sophomore southpaw Andrew Johnson in the top of the first. But like Maryland’s done all season long in midweek games, its bats fired back with an immediate response. Behind home runs from Lambros and Petrutz, the Terps found themselves up 6-3 after the first frame.
“James Madison didn’t stop scoring. They put together good at-bats for that whole game, but we did the same,” Vaughn said. “I thought we were really professional with our approach.”
But, with the teams exhausting a combined five pitchers in the opening three innings, the game remained a back-and-forth battle, with both teams continuing to light it up at the plate.
Just under an hour into the contest, it was 7-4 Maryland, but James Madison sophomore catcher Jason Schiavone drilled a three-run homer off junior left-hander Tommy Kane to even the contest.
Kane was one of eight pitchers head coach Rob Vaughn turned to Wednesday.
From then on, though, Maryland’s pitching staff began to settle in, while the Dukes’ continued to falter.
The Dukes used 11 pitchers of their own, desperately attempting to find a solution to the Terps’ hot bats.
James Madison’s lackluster pitching performance wasn’t all that surprising, as it had allowed an average of 9.7 runs per game in its previous three contests coming into tonight.
The Terps added another four runs in the fourth, highlighted by a three-run triple by Lorusso.
Up 13-7 headed into the fifth, Maryland’s bullpen, which has struggled all season long, allowed the Dukes to creep back into the contest.
James Madison scored a run in each of the fifth and six innings to bring the game within four, but Maryland relievers Logan Ott and Nigel Belgrave shut the door by recording four consecutive outs, allowing Maryland to extend its lead in the seventh.
The Terps added two runs, before Lambros’ second blast extended the lead to an seemingly insurmountable nine runs.
But James Madison made things interesting in the eighth. Freshman right-hander Eli Stowe entered the game for the Terps, and was immediately taken yard by redshirt sophomore Grant Painter. The three-run blast brought the score to within seven.
The Dukes had a chance to make things even closer, managing runners on the corners, but Stowe shut the door in the eight inning and redshirt junior David Falco Jr. pitched a scoreless ninth.
“You can’t show up to the yard and say hey, it’s just another game. Or it’s James Madison, or oh, it’s Purdue or oh, it’s Indiana,” Vaughn added. “We got to show up and ring the bell every single day.”
Three things to know
1. Maryland took both midweek games. The Terps took care of business in their midweek games this week, taking down both George Washington and James Madison by seven runs, respectively. They scored a staggering 34 combined runs, but let up 20.
2. Lorusso inched closer to the record books. The senior continued his likely All-American campaign with another dominant performance, recording six RBIs. He’s just 22 RBIs short of setting the single-season program record, set almost 30 years ago.
3. The Terps’ pitching depth continues to be a major problem. Most teams see a difference in pitching strength between midweek and weekend games, but Maryland’s disparity is staggering. It’s now allowed 97 runs in 10 midweek games this season, and used eight different pitchers Wednesday night.