By Duncan Irvine
Maryland baseball will hit the road this weekend to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Terps come into the series with a 23-6 record on the year and a 2-1 mark in conference play. Last weekend, they won two of three against Penn State to open conference play.
Coach Rob Vaughn’s squad doubled up the Nittany Lions 8-4 in the first game of the series behind stellar performances from catcher Luke Shliger and starting pitcher Nick Dean.
On Saturday, the Terps fell 6-4 in extra innings after leading 3-0 through five innings.
Starter Ryan Ramsey pitched well, giving up just three runs in eight innings, but Nick Robinson struggled mightily. In the tenth inning, he gave up four hits and three runs, which ultimately proved to be the difference.
Maryland rebounded on Sunday, with pitcher Jason Savacool taking the lead. He struck out 13 batters in seven innings, allowing just one run. The Terps won 7-2.
On Tuesday, Maryland took on George Mason at home. The Terps grabbed a quick 3-0 lead, but a four-run fifth from the Patriots put Maryland behind.
The game completely changed when a ball soared over the left field wall off of Maxwell Costes’ bat. It was his 11th homer on the season and 35th of his career, earning him sole possession of second place on the all-time Maryland home runs list.
His two-run homer gave the Terps the lead, one which they would not relinquish this time around.
Nick Lorusso continued to tear it up at the plate, going 2-2 on the day with two RBI and three walks. Maryland held on to win 8-5, good for their second victory over George Mason this season.
Minnesota has not had the same success this year. The Gophers are 8-18 on the year and 0-3 in Big Ten play. The only series they have won on the season was against Western Illinois, which they swept in three games.
In the Big Ten, Minnesota was swept by Rutgers and were outscored 26-8 across three games. Jack Kelly is the Gophers’ toughest out and is an offensive star. He boasts a .405 average through 84 at-bats.
He has hit six home runs and brought in 28 runs, the second-most and highest on the team respectively.
Sam Ireland is Minnesota’s top pitcher. He has a 2.79 ERA and 1.29 ERA and a 3-1 record in seven starts. He’s struck out 45 batters and hitters have just a .217 average against him.
Playing on the road is never easy, especially not when the forecast predicts temperatures will even reach 50 degrees.
Still, the Terps’ upcoming bout with a conference foe will be a good opportunity to continue building confidence as they head into the heart of conference play.