In the third inning, trailing 4-1 and two runners on base, first baseman Maxwell Costes stepped into the batter's box.
On a 1-0 count, Costes swung for the fences, making perfect contact with the ball for an absolute bomb that landed way beyond the fence. Everyone in Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium knew the ball was gone the second it hit Costes’ bat, including Costes himself, who stared it down and flipped his bat before rounding the bases.
Runs came all over for the Terps in a 9-4 beatdown of Ohio State to pick up the series sweep, the first of the season, and improve to a winning record for the first time this season.
“I thought that was, obviously, just a really good weekend for our guys,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “They’ve been working really, really hard.”
While contributions came throughout the lineup, center fielder Chris Alleyne led the way as the leadoff hitter in the Terps lineup. Alleyne was 3-4, which included a two-run RBI double.
The first two innings were pitching duels, with neither team able to drive in runs. However, runs started piling on in the top of the third for Ohio State as they took a 4-0 lead in the inning.
It started with one of the strongest hitters in the Buckeyes lineup center fielder Kade Kern when he singled through the right side with just one out to drive in the first run of the game. What followed was an influx of hits from the Buckeyes that led to four runners crossing home plate.
As has been the story all season, Maryland didn’t falter after giving up runs. This time, the response came in the bottom half of the third as designated hitter Bobby Zmarzlak took the first pitch he saw and launched it over the fence to cut Maryland’s deficit to three.
Later in the inning, Costes hit his homer to tie the game at four runs apiece.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work,” Costes said. “Just making sure everything is right in my swing, making sure I’m on time.”
The hot hitting continued into the fourth inning for the Terps as Alleyne hit a grounder down the first baseline for a two-run RBI double to give the Terps a two-run lead, its first of the game.
In the sixth inning, Alleyne singled to center field. Anytime Alleyne is running the bases, he is always looking to steal with his incredible speed. That’s exactly what he did as he picked up two stolen bases to advance to third. Alleyne eventually made it home on a wild pitch to increase the Terps lead to three.
Later in the same inning, with third baseman Matt Shaw already on base, shortstop Benjamin Cowles stepped up to the plate. The Big Ten leader in home runs only advanced that standing as he hit a two-run shot out of the ballpark to give the Terps a comfortable 9-4 lead. Cowles has hit a home run in every series this season.
After giving up four runs in the third, Savacool settled down and started delivering an array of pitches that the Buckeyes struggled to hit. He finished the day with six strikeouts in 6.1 innings pitched.
Elliot Zoellner came in for relief and delivered a gem. Zoellner allowed just one hit in 2.2 innings pitched and struck out six batters. While the Buckeyes put out six pitchers on the mound throughout the afternoon, Maryland only had two pitchers take the mound.
“He was incredible today,” Vaughn said about Zoellner. “His last three outings have been really good and just really happy for him personally, but man that changes our bullpen when you get a confident Elliot Zoellner in there.”
Three things to know
1. Maryland picked up its first sweep of the season. While the Terps have multiple series wins throughout the season, they had yet to sweep an opponent. That changed on Sunday as Maryland went 3-0 on the weekend against a quality Ohio State opponent.
“What I loved offensively this weekend is I felt like we were able to kind of create runs and we were also able to slug the baseball,” Vaughn said.
2. Savacool delivered after a rough outing last week. Last Sunday against Nebraska, Savacool struggled to find his footing in a 14-3 loss to drop the series. However, Savacool’s approach was different a week later, finding his groove in the later innings to give the Terps some comfort room as their bats were clicking.
“I was really glad to bounce back, and I think it’s a huge maturing point for me just to learn that,” Savacool said.
3. Maryland did a good job of advancing runners. Coming into the weekend, one of the things Coach Vaughn wanted his team to improve on was getting guys home who get on base with the “pack mentality” approach he preaches to his team. The Terps certainly improved on that this weekend as they were 7-16 in advancement opportunities and only left five runners on base in Sunday's matchup.