For the second day in a row, the Terps put up a multi-run third inning, this time highlighted by a triple from senior Justin Morris that drove in three runs. By the end of the third, Maryland (24-27, 9-11) led Rutgers (24-23, 7-14) 6-1, and went on to win 8-6.
“I think, right now, our bats are just really hot,” said Morris. “All weeknd we just jumped on them right from the beginning. Right now everybody, one through nine, everybody is taking good at-bats and we’re scoring runs, and it’s making it easier for our pitching staff.”
The Scarlet Knights took the lead early, with a one-out solo home run from Jawuan Harris in the second inning. But, the Terps responded quickly, with an RBI single from Taylor Wright driving in a run in the bottom of the inning to tied the game at one.
Maryland added a run in the fourth off an RBI single from Zach Jancarski, taking the 7-1 lead. Starting pitcher Mark DiLuia started to falter in the sixth inning, giving up a run on two singles and a walk to start the inning. However, a pair of fielder’s choices and a fly-out got DiLuia out of the inning with the lead intact.
“[DiLuia] is somebody that has come in here with a whole bunch of talent,” said Jancarski. “Since the Fall you knew he was a really good pitcher, and he’s going to be really good in the future. He’s somebody that goes out there and we like our chances.”
The Scarlet Knights threatened again in the eighth, and with two on and two outs a double from Milo Freeman plated both runners. But the Terps worked out of the inning maintaining a 7-4 lead
An RBI double from Nick Dunn in the eighth tacked on a insurance run for Maryland, putting the Terps up 8-4.
A dropped third strike with two runners on ended with a run scoring for Rutgers in the ninth, and an overthrow at first moved the runners to second and third with two outs. Then Wright bobbled a grounder at third, allowing another run to score and putting runners on the corners. Enter: closer John Murphy.
Murphy loaded the bases, hitting the first batter he faced, but forced Milo Freeman to fly out for the final out, securing the Terps’ first sweep of the season.
“It’s one of those things you kind of look at in two-fold,” said head coach Rob Vaughn. “It’s something where, there’s a level of ‘why did it take so long to sweep somebody? Why did it take us so long to play this clean at baseball?’ But there’s another side of it to where, you know what, this is the time of the year we need to be playing well.”
Right-hander DiLuia pitched six complete innings, giving up two runs on six hits, and striking out four. Freshman Grant Burleson and senior Ryan Hill joined Murphy to finish the game for the Terps.
It was reliever Brito Serafino who pulled through the middle innings for the Scarlet Knights, taking over after starter Karl Blum struggled through the first 2 ⅔ innings. Blum gave up six runs on six hits, striking out two. Serafino recorded six strikeouts, allowing one fun on four hits. Eric Reardon entered for the eighth, but was pulled after walking the first batter he faced. Tommy Genuario finished the game out.
Maryland rounds out the season with a three-game series against the Indiana Hoosiers (32-15, 10-9) in Bloomington, Indiana. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. Thursday. If the Terps want to make it to the Big Ten Tournament, they need a big series win against the Hoosiers.
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