Maryland baseball needed a record day to put away Penn State and behind 19 total runs scored, it took matters into its own bats. The Terps rode an offensive explosion to a 19-10 win over the Nittany Lions Saturday afternoon.
The 19 runs are the most Maryland has scored in a conference game since joining the Big Ten.
From the opening at bat, Vaughn’s squad was hot in Happy Valley.
“We were relentless offensively,” Vaughn said. “The most complete offensive game we’ve played.”
Its first four batters reached base with a little help from Penn State. It started with Chris Alleyne reaching first on an error and advancing to second on a passed ball. It continued with Matt Shaw batting Alleyne home, before Randy Bednar got hit by a pitch at the next at-bat.
Next, Bobby Zmarzlak sent Shaw home on a RBI single. And Ben Cowles capped off the solid first inning for the Terps with a two-run single to make it 4-0 early.
And the Terps’ scorching start continued on the mound, powered by Sean Burke. A three up, three down frame, including two strikeouts, capped off an explosive first inning for Maryland.
The teams then briefly settled into a pitchers duel. Bailey Dees retired three straight hitters for the Nittany Lions, while Burke held steady, taking a no-hitter into the fourth.
That’s when Maryland’s bats found life once again. Back-to-back hits, capped by a Tommy Gardiner single, extended the Terps’ lead. And by the time Alleyne cranked a run-scoring triple, Maryland held a 6-0 advantage.
But in the bottom of the frame, trouble brewed. And Burke’s strong start spiraled into a pitching change by the end of the fourth.
Three run-producing hits, including a two RBI double, and two walks cut the score 6-4, and Sean Heine replaced Burke to record the final out. Burke allowed four runs and three hits in 3.2 innings, striking out eight while walking three. Suddenly, a potential blowout became a tight game.
But Cowles changed that in the fifth. He stepped to the plate with two runners on, a chance to pull away. And he crushed the offering from Dees.
A three-run home run to center field propelled the Terps to a 9-4 lead in a roller coaster affair — it was Cowles’s seventh long ball of the season. And just as Burke was replaced after struggling in the last inning, Dees was relieved by Steven Miller. Like Heine, Miller gave Penn State a reprieve and ended Maryland’s threat.
The Nittany Lions looked to respond with two early base hits, including one that scored a runner to make it 9-5. With runners on second and third, Penn State was in the position to make it competitive.
Vaughn turned to southpaw Ryan Ramsey, who proceeded to strike out three straight batters to send the Terps back to the dugout with their four-run lead intact.
Ramsey continued to deal in the sixth, striking out another trio of Nittany Lions batters. But he faltered in the bottom of the seventh, giving up a pair of hits to open the inning.
“All of the guys towards the end of their outing started laboring a little bit,” Vaughn said. “The beauty of playing a three-game weekend versus a four-game weekend is that you have options, you have guys [available].”
David Falco took Ramsey’s place on the mound. But the damage was done: four runners crossed the plate in the inning as Penn State knotted the game at nine. Tyler Blohm would finish the inning for Falco and send the Terps into a pivotal eighth inning.
And Vaughn’s squad rallied at the plate. Maryland would force three pitching changes as it banged five runs to the plate in a rally that looked like it might close it out for the Terps.
“Today we got to display what the pack offense really looks like,” Alleyne said. “[We have to] take this mentality and keep moving forward.”
Despite a bottom eighth inning scare that saw Penn State bases load the bases, Sam Bello got Maryland out of the frame with a 14-10 advantage.
The Terps added five runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away, sealing their fourth win of the season in record-breaking fashion.
“That’s an interesting way to start a Friday night, holy cow,” Vaughn said.