Maryland baseball finished its opening weekend with a perfect 3-0 record — the team’s best start since the 2015 season — in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Terps’ offense made themselves known in the first two contests, and the pitching was stellar. They made a statement with their performance in their opening weekend with contributions from star players and freshmen alike.
Friday night: Maryland 11, Charleston Southern University 2
After junior outfielder Randy Bednar drove in the first run of the season in the first inning of the 2020 season, Maryland’s outlook looked quite promising. Then, the Terps went on a scoreless drought of over five innings.
Maryland found itself struggling to get anything going against Charleston Southern. But a lucky defensive error and an infield blooper gifted Maryland the turning point it needed and a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth.
With two outs, freshman outfielder Tucker Flint scored when the Buccaneers’ third baseman sailed a throw over first base. Then sophomore infielder Benjamin Cowles scored on fellow junior infielder Tommy Gardiner’s short pop fly, which found the dirt.
The Terps exploded in the seventh and ninth innings, totaling five and three runs, respectively, to close out Charleston Southern 11-2 in the 2020 season opener.
Maryland outhit the Buccaneers 10-4, while junior left-handed pitcher Sean Fisher earned his first win of the season in his first career start as a Terp. He didn’t allow an earned run, had two unearned runs and mustered five strikeouts over five innings.
Freshman pitcher Sam Bello picked up the pieces for the Terps in the late innings in his first career appearance as a Terp. He came in to relieve Fisher and stranded two Buccaneers on-base in the bottom of the sixth. The freshman then struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth on 13 pitches.
Junior outfielder Chris Alleyne cracked the first hit of the season for the Terps, which was a double on the first pitch of the evening. Alleyne ended with two hits and two RBIs, while Flint went 3-4 with one RBI and two runs scored.
Saturday afternoon: Maryland 8, Iona College 2
Despite trailing early, the Terps remained resilient to eventually outlast the Iona Gaels Saturday afternoon.
Maryland faced an early deficit in the first inning and trailed in the third inning as well to the Gaels. However, the Terps were able to draw even with Iona, twice, to eventually break the game open with consistent scoring from the offense.
After going down 2-1, Maryland managed to outscore the Gaels 7-0 to finish the game. The Terps got RBIs from their star players to help buoy them to a 8-2 victory and a 2-0 start to the 2020 season.
Bednar, Alleyne and sophomore Maxwell Costes combined for four hits and four RBIs to help bring down the Gaels.
Freshman pitcher Nick Dean held his own on the mound in his first appearance for the Terps, totaling 4.2 innings pitched to go with just two earned runs and six strikeouts.
Pitcher Ryan Ramsey completed his collegiate debut and got his first strikeout in the fifth with two runners on and two outs recorded.
After a strong 3-4 performance from Flint in the 2020 opener against Charleston Southern, head coach Rob Vaughn moved him up in the lineup. Flint responded positively to the change by reaching base four times in five plate appearances.
Bednar was the only Terp to manage multiple RBIs, finishing the game with two in the Maryland win.
Sunday afternoon: Maryland 4, College of Charleston 2
After coming back from two runs down in the top of the ninth, Maryland needed a little bit of luck to advance past the College of Charleston to improve to 3-0 on the season.
To start extra innings for the Terps, Gardiner ripped a single past the infield. Then, pinch-hitter Tavan Shahidi drew a walk.
With two men on, no one out and a chance to complete the miraculous comeback, the unthinkable happened to give Maryland its first lead of the afternoon.
A wild pitch past Charleston sophomore catcher Landon Choboy sparked Gardiner to sprint around third and eventually to home plate, where the Terps went up 3-2 in extra innings.
Maryland scored on yet another wild pitch to eventually lead 4-2. The Terps then retired the Cougars in the bottom of the tenth to remain undefeated in 2020.
The Cougars managed to go up 2-0 after scoring once in the sixth inning and another in the eighth inning, but were unable to preserve the two-run lead in the top of the ninth.
Bednar brought in Alleyne on a sacrifice fly and then redshirt sophomore Michael Pineiro bunted to allow Flint to score the tying run.
Redshirt freshman pitcher Sean Burke led the way for the Terps with eight strikeouts recorded through just 5.0 innings pitched. Burke let up just three hits, three walks and one earned run in his Maryland collegiate debut.
Gardiner and Flint had two hits each, leading the way offensively for Maryland. Bednar and Pineiro had both of the RBIs for the Terps.
Junior pitcher Mark DiLuia was awarded the win for his performance after finishing with 1.2 innings pitched, allowing one hit and recording two strikeouts.
Three things to know
1. Maryland had a hot hitting offense. Maryland’s offense exploded in the first two games and scampered off a little against the College of Charleston, but head coach Rob Vaughn should be pleased with the Terp’s offensive output.
The Terps managed to put up a total of 23 runs in three games, good enough for about eight runs per game. Four Maryland players are hitting above a .300 batting average. The offense is clicking right now for Vaughn’s squad and is a main reason why the Terps are currently undefeated.
2. Flint was on fire. Flint’s collegiate weekend debut couldn’t have gone more to plan for the 6’2 freshman. In three games, Flint has recorded a .545 batting average with six total hits. The East Greenwich, Rhode Island native hit two doubles, had one RBI and also notched three hit-by-pitches. Just three games into 2020, Flint leads the Terps in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
3. Pitching is at a premium. With the offense running hot, the pitching staff also made its presence felt with just six total runs let up in the three contests.
Fisher started off the weekend with a win, tossing 5.1 innings and only surrendering three hits. Freshman pitcher Ryan Ramsey was awarded the win against Iona. Ramsey threw for 2.1 innings and managed to allow just one hit, while also totaling four strikeouts in the process. In game three, Burke dominated the College of Charleston, accumulating a 1.80 ERA over 5.0 innings pitched in the win.
Overall, Maryland’s pitching performed exceptionally and should be something to look out for in the Terp’s next series against the University of Rhode Island.