It was a big game for senior Will Watson, who tied the Maryland record for RBIs in a single game (8) by the end of the third inning, and tied for second-most single-game RBIs in NCAA history in the Terps’ 17-2 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday.
Watson started his day with a sac fly in the first inning, batting in one run. Then, Watson hit two multi-run home runs in the third inning. The first, a three-run homer that hit the light pole in left-center field. The second, a grand slam that gave the Terps a 13-1 lead.
“It’s a very humbling game,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “Will just comes out, keeps working every day, putting in the effort. He’s been grinding away and you’re kind of seeing the fruits of his labor right now.”
Throughout the season, Terps have had trouble hitting with runners in scoring position. But those troubles vanished in the third inning. Maryland entered the third with a 2-1 lead, after a two-run bottom of the first and a one-run top of the third for Rutgers.
Along with Watson’s two home runs, the Terps recorded a total of seven hits in the 11-run inning. Maryland ended the third leading 15-1.
“My kind of thought process was, don’t get in deep in the count” said Watson. “[My] main focus was just trying to hunt the fastballs, try to hit it back up the middle and see where it goes from there.”
The Terps added a run in the sixth, and the Scarlet Knights matched that run on a leadoff solo home run from Chris Folinusz to start the seventh. Maryland added another run after loading the bases on walks in the seventh, with two outs. Freshman Justin Vought was hit by a pitch, plating Zach Jancarski, giving the Terps’ a 17-2 lead.
But, the Terps’ stellar offensive performance wouldn’t have been possible without a strong outing from RHP Taylor Bloom. The senior lasted 7 innings, striking out six and giving up only the two runs on six hits. It was Bloom’s last career start in College Park.
“For most of us this is probably our last time playing baseball,” said Bloom. “So we’re just laying it all on the line right now.”
“[Bloom] did an unbelievable job of not letting the layoffs really phase him,” said Vaughn. “I think that’s a really underrated part of what he did today.
Elliot Zoellner finished the game for the Terps, keeping the Scarlet Knights to their two runs.
Rutgers went through five pitchers in total. Starter Harry Rutkowski lasted 2 ⅓ innings, giving up six of the 11 runs in the third. He was followed by Eric Reardon, who lasted only ⅓ of an inning. Kyle Gerace, Kevin Romero and Tevin Murray rounded out the Scarlet Knights’ staff for the game.
Maryland and Rutgers face off for the last game of the series tomorrow. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. It will also be senior night for the Terps.
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