Terrapins baseball right-hander Mike Rescigno hates watching other teams celebrate. But he caused his own agony Tuesday.
Rescigno allowed a walk-off RBI double to first baseman Andrew Yacyk in a 5-4 loss at Liberty. So all the junior could do was watch as the Flames’ dugout emptied and chased Yacyk around the outfield in celebration.
When Rescigno got a chance to redeem himself the next day, though, he rejoiced with his own team.
Rescigno earned the save in the Terps’ 5-2 win over James Madison after throwing a scoreless ninth inning. When the Terps (15-15, 1-2 Big Ten) host a three-game series against Ohio State (19-8-1, 2-1) at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium this weekend, Rescigno will look to build on Wednesday’s performance.
“After [Tuesday], I was pretty upset with myself,” Rescigno said. “It was really big for myself to go out, have a good outing and give my team a good chance to win. It was definitely big for my confidence.”
When the Terps lost five relievers to the MLB draft and graduation this offseason — including the Terps’ all-time saves leader, Kevin Mooney — Rescigno, who threw just four innings last year, was one of the players coach John Szefc used as the Terps’ closer early this year.
Left-hander Tayler Stiles assumed the closer role entering this season, but Szefc moved him to midweek starter after the fourth-year coach struggled to find reliable starters outside the weekend rotation. Szefc said Rescigno’s skill set makes him the best option to close compared with other relievers in the Terps bullpen.
Left-hander Robert Galligan and right-hander Ryan Selmer, who are experienced relievers, are best when they enter in the middle of innings because they’re good at minimizing damage, Szefc said, while Rescigno, who has a 6.10 ERA in 11 appearances, is best when starting an inning.
But Rescigno’s new role has come with its ups and downs.
He earned his first save of the season March 13 after pitching a scoreless ninth in the Terps’ 8-6 win over Bryant. But in his next appearance, March 22 against Liberty, Rescigno entered the final inning with a 10-5 lead and almost blew the game when he gave up four runs.
Tuesday, Rescigno relieved Galligan after he walked a runner in the ninth. The 6-foot-1, 218-pound hurler couldn’t seal the win, though, as he didn’t record an out. But Wednesday, after allowing a single to begin the frame, Rescigno forced a double play before a groundout to clinch the victory.
Szefc said he wasn’t worried about inserting the Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, native, despite Tuesday’s walk-off.
“You got to get guys back out there to make them feel good about themselves,” Szefc said.
When Rescigno emerged from the bullpen Wednesday less than 24 hours after blowing the save, he said, he’d forgot about his blunder. It’s that ability to have a short memory, Rescigno said, that makes him a good closer.
Plus, he mixes his off-speed pitches with a fastball in the low 90s. Right-hander Hunter Parsons, who earned the win Wednesday, said Rescigno can throw four different pitches for strikes.
If the Terps want to make a deep postseason run for the third straight season, Szefc said, the bullpen needs to show improvement. Rescigno hopes to continue polishing his game and cement himself as a reliable closer down the stretch.
“When he’s good, he’s untouchable,” Parsons said. “For him to come in and shut it down like that is awesome for him and awesome for the team.”