At the top of the fifth inning, with Maryland trailing by two, designated hitter Bobby Zmarzlak stepped up to the plate with a man on first. Zmarzlak hit a missile with the first pitch he saw deep to left field for a two-run shot. Zmarzlak was 0-7 on the weekend entering the at-bat but launched this ball for his third homer of the year to tie the game at three.
Zmarzlak’s homer started a spring of runs in the fifth that allowed Maryland to take the lead, one which it would continue to build on in the later innings.
Behind strong hitting from the entire lineup, Maryland picked up its only win of the weekend against Ohio State, 9-3, avoiding a pod series sweep.
“Obviously not the weekend we rolled in here wanting, but at the end of the day, the guys accomplished the mission today,” head coach Rob Vaughn said.
The Terps struggled to get anything going at the plate early while the freshman righty Jason Savacool needed some time to settle in, which allowed Ohio State to build an early lead.
While it took a while for Maryland’s bats to get going in Columbus, Ohio, the Terps started to get hot as the game went on, forcing the Buckeyes to go to six different pitchers throughout the afternoon.
Ohio State got on board first in the opening inning with a leadoff double over the left field line for the Buckeye’s right fielder Mitchell Okuley. Second baseman Colton Bauer then grounded out to advance Okuley to third. Later in the inning, Connor Pohl grounded out down the middle but advanced Okuley home, giving the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead.
Savacool then walked infielder Marcus Ernst to load the bases for Ohio State with two outs. Savacool threw a wild pitch the ensuing at-bat that got behind home plate, advancing the third base runner home. Ohio State ended the inning with a 2-0 lead
With two outs in the third inning, second baseman Tommy Gardiner, at the nine spot in the lineup, hit a solo home run for his second of the year to get the Terps on the board.
However, Ohio State responded with a home run of its own. On a 2-2 count, first baseman Conner Pohl smacked the ball over the right field fence for a solo shot to extend the Buckeyes lead to 3-1.
“I thought we swung the bat awesome early without a lot to show for it,” Vaughn said. “And they didn’t get disheartened, they just kept coming, kept coming and Bob supplies us with the big two-run homer and then kind of leads into things falling into place.”
While the Terps struggled to get much going at the plate in the first four innings, fireworks went off in the fifth as Maryland totaled four runs in the inning to take a two-run lead.
Following the Zmarzlak missile, the bases were cleared and Gardiner advanced to first on a walk. The following at bad, centerfielder Chris Alleyne hit a ball deep down the right field line for a double that saw Gardiner take third.
With two runners in scoring positions, right fielder Randy Bednar hit a line drive for a two-run RBI single to take a 5-3 lead, his first hit of the afternoon. Bednar stole both second and third base to set up catcher Luke Shliger at the plate with a run in scoring position. Shliger was hit by a pitch, which brought up Matthew Shaw as Maryland’s entire order took the plate in the fifth inning. Shaw struck out swinging to end a productive fifth inning for the Terps
Runs continued to pile on for the Terps in the sixth inning as they extended their lead and gave the bullpen some insurance.
Outfielder Logan Ott hit a pop-up to the left side of the field to open up the inning. What should have been an easy out for Ohio State was bobbled and dropped, allowing Ott to take second base on a fielding error from the Buckeyes.
The following play, shortstop Benjamin Cowles hit a hard grounder between second and third. The Buckeye shortstop threw the ball way over the first baseman’s head, allowing Cowles to take first and advancing Ott to third.
Gardiner then hit a hard grounder that hit off the Buckeye second baseman’s glove and rolled into the outfield for a two-run RBI single for Gardiner that gave Maryland a 7-3 advantage. It was Gardiner’s second hit of the day.
In the seventh, Costes was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Matthew Shaw came up and singled through the left side, advancing Costes to third. Shaw then stole second base for the Terps fifth stolen base of the day. Maryland would finish with nine stolen bases in the contest, the most in a game for the Terps since 2013.
Cowles then hit the batter's box with runners in scoring position. Cowles singled to right field for another two-run RBI single, pushing Maryland’s lead to half a dozen in the seventh.
On the defensive end, Savacool was replaced after five innings pitched. Savacool started off slow but settled down after giving up two runs in the first. The two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week recorded five strikeouts and moved to 4-0 on the season. Ramsey replaced Savacool, pitching four scoreless innings, allowing the Terps to head back to College Park with a win.
“[Savacool] didn’t have great command today,” Vaughn said. “And the sign of an elite level arm is when they don’t... and still gives us a chance to win. He doesn’t implode, he doesn't let it get too big. He just keeps coming and gives us a chance.”
Three things to know
1. The bottom of Maryland’s lineup got things going at the plate for Maryland. While the top of the lineup is typically the strongest part, Maryland’s hitting depth was on full display against Ohio State on Monday. Gardiner, the ninth batter for Vaughn’s squad, got things going early with a solo homer to put the Terps on the board. Later in the game, it was Zmarzlak, the eighth hitter in the rotation, who saw one go yard in the fifth that tied the game.
“We were getting into really good counts,” Gardiner said. “Getting base runners on, like leadoff guy on and we're playing really good situational baseball.”
2. Ryan Ramsey impressed out of the bullpen. While bullpen woes have derailed the Terps in recent outings, that wasn’t the case on Monday afternoon as Ramsey stepped up after replacing Savacool. Ramsey recorded four scoreless innings while facing 14 batters and recording three strikeouts.
“Ryan Ramsey was absolutely phenomenal out of the bullpen,” Vaughn said. “It was big time, big time stuff out of him.”
3. Maxwell Costes struggled throughout the weekend, but still managed to get on base on Monday. Making his return to the lineup this weekend after missing several outings due to injury, Costes failed to get much going in the batter's box. Costes did not record a hit the entire weekend. Despite not getting a hit, Costes managed to get on base four times in Monday’s win, giving other Maryland batters opportunities with runners in scoring positions.