With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning and Maryland baseball tied with George Mason at three, junior Austin Chavis earned a walk, then stole second as junior Randy Bednar cracked a single up the middle to put runners on the corners for the Terps.
Sophomore Maxwell Costes drew a walk after a full count, bringing bases loaded for the Terps and junior catcher Justin Vought. Vought was able to draw another walk, letting Chavis find home plate to give the Terps a one-run lead.
Next up, freshman designated hitter Troy Schreffler fought off multiple pitches with a full count of his own to draw another walk, helping Bednar score to extend the advantage to two.
Maryland took control of George Mason’s pitching mistakes all afternoon to run away with game and take a 13-3 on Tuesday. The Terps earned 14 walks and also outhit the Patriots, 9-7, to improve to 6-1 on the season.
With the game still scoreless in the bottom of the second inning, Costes got things started offensively once again for Maryland. After hitting two solo shots in the previous game against Rhode Island, the sophomore rocketed a ball towards left field.
The ball sailed over the wall to give Costes his third home run in his last two games and Maryland its first lead of the afternoon at 1-0.
“I am seeing the ball really well and swinging at the pitches I should swing at,” Costes said.
And while Maryland’s offense started off efficient, starting pitching Zach Thompson followed suit with a solid effort of his own. In his season debut, he threw three-straight hitless innings for the Terps and allowed just one run and four hits over 5.0 innings total.
“People want to talk about Friday night guys and this and that, but midweek starting pitching is huge, and we really haven’t had that last couple of years,” Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn said.
“It’s been a lot of bullpen days, a lot of that stuff and you know I don’t know where everybody’s going to shake out as the year goes on but him (Thompson) coming out today was really good to see. He was tremendous, he was mature and I was really proud of him.”
To begin the third inning, junior outfielder Chris Alleyne drew a walk and stole second off a dropped pitch at home plate.
Fellow freshman outfielder Tucker Flint then followed suit with a walk of his own. Bednar cracked one to left field for a single to bring in Alleyne for the Terp’s second run of the game.
Thompson gave up his first hit to the Patriots in the top of the fourth inning as first baseman Lyle Miller-Green smacked a double to left field, and then a single to left from outfielder Bailey Klein brought in the Patriots’ first run of the game in the fourth inning to make it 2-1 Maryland.
Thompson then got infielder Corey Leadenham to strike out swinging to escape the top of the fourth inning with a 2-1 lead for Maryland.
And in the bottom of the fourth, the Terps went back on offense and capitalized on sloppy pitching from George Mason.
Sophomore shortstop Ben Cowles ripped a single to left field to get the his team started. Chavis then drew a walk with two outs and Alleyne got hit by the pitch to force bases loaded.
With Flint up at the plate, the Terps had something familiar happen to them. The freshman was clipped by a Nate Young pitch to allow Cowles to extend the Terps lead to 3-1.
Miller-Green walked to start of the top of the sixth and then the dangerous first baseman Scott Morgan ripped a two run home run to left center field on pitcher Trevor LaBonte to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth.
The Terps matched the Patriots in the bottom of the sixth, scoring two runs of their own with some help from the George Mason inconsistent pitching. Maryland got walked three times in the inning, with two of those walks coming with bases loaded to bring the Terps back in front with a score of 5-3.
But, the sloppy pitching from the Patriots continued later on as well.
After a Tommy Gardiner walk and a pick-off attempt that went over the head of second baseman Daniel Brooks, Gardiner then scored off a wild pitch to give the Terps a 6-3 lead.
Bednar followed with a moonshot to left field, giving the Terps his first home run of the season and an insurmountable 8-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh.
“I feel a lot of confidence at the plate right now,” Bednar said. “I’m not trying to do too much with runners on base, you know, I have a lot of trust in myself and I have a lot of trust in my teammates so I am just going out there having fun with a lot of confidence.”
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Terps’ lead stretched to six after another wild pitch gifted them a run scored by Cowles from third base to make it 9-3.
An Alleyne single right up the mound helped Gardiner reach home, giving the Terps a 10-3 lead. Then, with bases loaded Costes was hit by the pitch in the shoulder and Alleyne came in to score to push the Terp’s total to 11.
Another wild pitch from the George Mason pitching staff with bases loaded allowed Flint to score to push the Maryland lead to 12-3. Bednar then reached home off of a Michael Bouma fly out to make it 13-3.
Senior pitcher Elliot Zoellner came in relief for LaBonte in the sixth inning to help close out the Patriots. The right-handed pitcher tossed an impressive 2.1 innings, allowing zero hits and accumulating four strikeouts.
“He (Zoellner) was tremendous, you know he stayed very poised and he didn’t let the game speed up on him,” Vaughn said. “He really showed me a lot there today because his composure was awesome.”
Junior pitcher Mark DiLuia finished off the Patriots, retiring the final three batters in the top of the ninth inning to end the game.
“We’re far from the finished product, but I like the way this group works so we’ll go back to work tomorrow and try to get some of this kinks worked out for a good weekend,” Vaughn said.
Three things to know
1. Costes keeps producing offensively. Costes rocketed one towards left field and out of the park in the bottom of the second inning for his third home run of the season. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year has been on a tear recently, cracking three solo home runs in his last two contests. Costes now has five total RBIs on the year and fans will have to keep an eye on the budding sophomore as the Terps head to South Carolina for the weekend.
2. The Terps scored early and often. Maryland has scored a run within the first two innings in six of seven games to start the season. These quick starts have given the Terps the motivation they need to close out big games and it is a big reason why Maryland baseball is 6-1 to start 2020.
3. Strong pitching from Thompson was big. The redshirt junior went 5.0 innings against the Patriots and ended the afternoon with a solid outing for the Terps. Thompson surrendered just four hits and one earned run to go along with two strikeouts. For a pitcher that went just 3-6 in 2019, this was an excellent season-debut for Thompson.