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No. 23 Maryland baseball pulls away late to beat Delaware, 19-7

The Terps scored 11 runs in the final two innings.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 23 Maryland baseball was seeking its eighth straight win in Wednesday’s game at Delaware, and got off to a blazing-hot start.

The Terps scored seven runs in the first inning, continuing their trend of early offensive eruptions. But Delaware wouldn’t go away, despite trailing by six in the seventh inning. The Blue Hens stormed back, scoring five runs, punctuated by back-to-back home runs by redshirt senior infielder JJ Freeman and redshirt junior catcher Josearmando Diaz.

With their pitching floundering, Maryland found its identity again with a seven-run eighth inning. It strung together hit after hit, including a home run by sophomore outfielder Ian Petrutz that plated three more Terps in a 19-7 win over the Blue Hens.

Maryland canceled its originally scheduled midweek game against Mount St. Mary’s (No. 226 in RPI) on Tuesday to play Delaware (No. 106 in RPI) for a third time this season, and was able to complete a season sweep of the Blue Hens to improve to 31-15 on the year.

The Terps waved goodbye to Delaware’s starting pitcher after just five batters, working three walks and a hit. Sophomore Jacob Orr hit a two-RBI single before junior catcher Luke Shliger came to the plate and capped off the first inning with a three-RBI double that put Delaware in a 7-0 hole before it could record three outs.

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Van Buren got the start for the Terps and had the luxury of inheriting a massive lead. After a brief first inning, the Blue Hens got on the board in the second with a triple and an RBI single. The Blue Hens scored another run when Maryland sophomore outfielder Elijah Lambros made an error.

Both Van Buren and redshirt senior left-handed pitcher Chris Grome, who entered in the second inning for Delaware, pitched well for most of the game. Grome did allow a solo shot in the fourth inning to Terps senior third baseman Nick Lorusso, though.

In the middle innings, it was a duel between the two pitching staffs. Sophomore left-handed pitcher Carter Welch and redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Christian Colmery combined for three scoreless innings for Delaware. Van Buren and junior left-handed pitcher Logan Ott were also impressive for Maryland, as Van Buren finished with five innings pitched and one earned run allowed and Ott posted a scoreless sixth.

But the ice was broken in the bottom of the seventh when Ott was pulled after a leadoff walk. Fifth-year right-handed pitcher Kenny Lippman came in for the Terps, and things began to fall apart, as the Blue Hens strung together three straight RBI hits, including back-to-back home runs.

With the pressure back on, Maryland’s bats woke up with a frenzy in the eighth. After generating traffic on the base paths, an RBI double from Lorusso gave the Terps a 9-7 lead. Following Petrutz’s home run, the Terps kept it rolling to give themselves a 15-7 lead.

Maryland added insult to injury, batting around in the ninth inning and scoring an additional four runs.

The Terps’ late outburst proved too much for Delaware to handle, as it went scoreless against redshirt sophomore Nigel Belgrave and junior Nate Haberthier to end the game.

Three things to know

1. The Terps’ bats woke up in the final two innings. After a monster first inning, the Terps’ bats fell asleep, allowing Delaware to pull in within a run. The offense woke back up in the eighth, however, scoring 11 runs from then on.

The Terps have scored double-digit runs in seven straight games.

2. Van Buren had another solid outing. Van Buren was the designated midweek pitcher to start the season but struggled immensely. But over the last two weeks, Van Buren has rediscovered his form. In 10 innings of work, he’s allowed just four runs. Coming into Wednesday’s game, his ERA was almost eight, but he lowered it to 6.45 with another strong performance.

3. Kenny Lippman struggled. Lippman looked outstanding in his past two appearances, securing a win in Sunday’s game against Purdue and pitching a scoreless frame against Indiana. But Lippman didn’t have his stuff on Wednesday, as he allowed four runs on four hits in just two-thirds of an inning.