On a vibrant day in College Park, Maryland baseball’s dominance continued.
While vital matchups remain for the Terps, they continued the dominance they’ve shown all season. Maryland’s offense, one of the best in the country, took its time to warm up against James Madison.
But as their gears cranked faster and faster, the Terps went bombs-away at the plate.
“When you have a complete offense like we do [where] one through nine is dangerous, it makes hitting easier for everybody,” Max Costes said.
The Terps bashed five homers and overwhelmed the Dukes, 12-2, tying the all-time wins record for Maryland with its 42nd victory of the season.
“I’ve been a part of the  team that set the [single-season wins] record but it took us into a Super Regional to do it,” Coach Rob Vaughn said. “This group has been breaking records and doing stuff all year long. It’s just another step for them.”
Outside of the fact that Tuesday’s midweek fell on Maryland’s final home regular season game of the season, its midweek matchup was overshadowed by the importance of the Terps’ final weekend of regular-season conference play.
This weekend’s upcoming series against Purdue will decide if Maryland can beat out Rutgers to the Big Ten regular season title. The Terps currently hold the tiebreaker against Scarlet Knights and are tied with them at the top of the conference.
Other teams in the hunt for a postseason bid have been more conservative in their scheduling, opting to focus on their final series of the regular season as they approach postseason play.
Texas A&M canceled its recent midweek game against Incarnate Word due to a “mutual agreement,” between the teams. Even a win could’ve potentially lowered the Aggies’ RPI — an important measure for postseason seeding, due to the lackluster RPI of their opponent.
Maryland came into the matchup against the Dukes ranked 10th in RPI while the Dukes stood ranked 107th in the metric. A win wouldn’t have too much bearing on their standing, a similar situation to Texas A&M.
Still, the Terps came out firing. Luke Shliger banged the opening pitch to right and Nick Lorusso circled him home with an RBI-single on the third at-bat of the game.
Then back-to-back booming shots in the third from Chris Alleyne and Lorusso darted Maryland out to a 3-0 lead. A solid start from Andrew Johnson blanked the Dukes early.
“We got a good start from Andrew Johnson. He threw the ball great for us,” Vaughn said. “And then [Ott] came in and was awesome. Then Gavin [Stellpflug] came in and closed it out.”
Coach Rob Vaughn pulled Johnson for the fourth inning and inserted Matt Cunningham, giving the freshman a rare stint at the mound. He had only pitched two innings this season before the game.
James Madison hammered a single to center and then capitalized with a monstrous two-run home run to right. Cunningham left swiftly, and Logan Ott took his place to right the ship in the next few innings.
As it turned out, Maryland scarcely needed it. Costes launched a two-run shot over the right wall in the next frame, and Lorusso added his second homer of the day in the following inning.
“I was talking to [hitting coach] Matt Swope before the game [about] staying on my back-side and not getting too long, not over-swinging, pulling my shoulder out,” Lorusso said.
“Overall I think our team did a good job of looking for what we wanted, getting that pitch, and swinging away at it.”
A five-run sixth inning helped the Terps close out another non-conference win. Ian Petrutz started it off with a solo homer that bounced off the top of the left-field wall before Maryland loaded the bases three batters later.
The Dukes made a pitching change, but it was too late. The Terps piled on four runs with a lack of pressure felt as no outs graced the scoreboard. By the time James Madison finally got out of the inning, it was 11-2.
No sparks flew for Maryland’s opposition. The Terps rode their heavy lead to the finish and will have two days to prepare for a crucial conference series opener against Purdue on Thursday.
“Just a really business-like win,” Vaughn said. “It’s not easy. These guys are in a position to come and win the league this weekend. It’s hard to look through that, but to me that’s the best attribute of this team — that they show up everyday.”