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Maryland baseball builds off a Tavan Shahidi home run for 13-6 victory over Delaware

The redshirt junior sparked some much needed offense for the Terps.

Tavan Shahidi, Maryland baseball, 2020 Tyler DeSue / Testudo Times

Before Tavan Shahidi stepped up to the plate to start the third inning against Delaware, he hadn’t had much offensive success. The backup catcher had gotten just one hit in his eleven total at-bats and was coming off a rough defensive weekend against Coastal Carolina to make matters worse.

However none of that seemed to bother the redshirt junior, as he took a massive cut at the first pitch thrown his way, smacking a rocket high above the heads of Delaware’s outfielders and over the left center field wall to extend Maryland’s lead to three.

As the solo home run exited Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, Maryland’s bench erupted into a frenzy. After Shahidi re-entered the dugout with a smile across his face, the Terps started did something they struggled to accomplish all weekend — build with men on base — en route to a 13-6 victory.

“Tavan is such a spark plug,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “That dude is full of energy. He’s an unbelievable teammate, he works his tail off, and I think he’s gotten thrust into an opportunity and is making the most of it.”

Following Tucker Flint getting hit by a pitch, Vaughn decided to play small ball with no outs and called for a bunt to advance Flint to second. After another hit by pitch on Matt Orlando and wild pitch to move both men to second and third, Ben Cowles smacked a double over the left fielder’s head to extend Maryland’s lead to 5-0.

An ensuing Austin Chavis single knocked Delaware’s starting pitcher out of the game, both Randy Bednar and Maxwell Costes were hit by pitches to load the bases and ultimately walk in another run putting them up 6-0.

Following a rough weekend of offensive production against Coastal Carolina, Maryland came out of the gates firing against Delaware.

Chris Alleyne led the first inning off with his team-leading sixth double of the season, leading Costes to bring him home with a single up the middle and giving Maryland an early 1-0 lead.

The Terps’ offense didn’t take long to score again, as their next run came in the following inning. With Cowles drawing a one-out walk, Alleyne once again provided the spark to put runners in scoring position, with a perfectly placed bunt single. With men on the corners, Bednar was quick to lace a double into left center to score Cowles and give the a Terps 2-0 lead.

“Randy was tremendous,” Vaughn said. “Everything off of his bat was loud tonight and he was awesome.”

While Maryland’s bats came alive, pitcher Zach Thompson shut down Delaware on the defensive end to open the game. In his first three innings pitched, the redshirt junior didn’t allow a single Blue Hen to reach base.

But Thompson’s perfect game came to an ugly end in the fourth inning. After starting off the inning with a walk and then allowing the Delaware batter to reach third base, a fielders choice scored the first run for Delaware to make it a 6-1 game. The damage wouldn't end at one run however, as Delaware proceeded to score two additional runs on a single into center field before the inning was over, cutting Maryland’s lead to just three.

After being replaced by Sean Heine midway through the top of the fifth inning, Maryland’s bullpen struggled again facing the Blue Hens. Heine got out of the inning, but not before giving up two more runs off three hits and an error, keeping Maryland ahead by just a single run.

As the bottom of the fifth rolled around, Maryland didn’t let the two innings of Delaware scoring get to it. Cowles provided run support in loud way, blasting a solo shot and pumping life back into a Maryland offense that stalled in the fourth.

Maryland kept the offensive pressure going into the sixth inning as a leadoff Schreffler single followed by a double error against Matt Orlando put runners on second and third with no outs. A pair of back-to-back sacrifice flies courtesy of Cowles and Austin Chavis put the Terps lead at 9-5.

Delaware wasn’t backing down from the fight, as it tried its best to come back in the top of the seventh inning. After a leadoff home run from Blue Hen Kyle Baker cut the lead to 9-6, there was some buzz in the Delaware dugout. But Maryland got out of the inning without any additional thanks to a diving play from Austin Chavis.

After a leadoff double from Bednar and hit by pitch to Costes to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, Maryland’s bat were ready to strike again. After two passed balls, Bednar crossed the plate the plate to score the first run of the inning. Delaware proceeded to give up two additional walks to Schreffler and Flint to load the bases before walking another run. Shortly after, another passed ball gave the Terps their 12th run of the game.

Maryland got one last lick on Delaware in the eighth inning, as Alleyne took it upon himself to score the final run of the game.

Leading off the inning with a single up the middle, Alleyne promptly stole second and got to third on a passed ball. As the ball sailed over the head of Delaware’s catcher, the outfielder dashed down the baseline and across home plate to give Maryland a 13-6 lead.

Vaughn looked to Elliot Zoellner to close out the Blue Hens in the ninth. The relief pitcher made quick work of Delaware striking out his first batter and retiring the next two to give Maryland a bounce back 13-6 victory.

Three things to know

1. Maryland’s run support finally showed up. After scoring just a combined five runs in its previous series against Coastal Carolina, Maryland finally provided the offensive firepower against Delaware, topping its weekend run total in just three innings.

With the Terps scoring 12 runs on 15 hits, it seems that the lineup change shook off whatever plagued them against Coastal Carolina.

2. Ben Cowles brought in runs when the Terps needed them. Cowles was a major factor in the Terps’ offense, bringing in runners and keeping the pressure on Delaware. The shortstop was not only responsible for a game high five RBIs, but also scored three runs and drew two walks.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Cowles said. “It’s good to build off of games like this and go into the weekend hot.”

3. Chris Alleyne was a spark plug for the offense. Going 4-for-6 at the plate, Chris Alleyne was able to get on base and put the Terps in a position to do damage frequently against a stalling Delaware.

“I’m just trying to give us the best chance to win and I think I do that when I’m on base,” Alleyne said. “My role is to get on base and try and get runners in, so I’m just trying to do that.”