The pairing of Nick Lorusso and Matt Shaw at the top of the Maryland order has been a lethal one this season. They top the team in home runs and many Terps rallies have been started — or capped off — by them.
Lorusso came to the plate in the fourth inning as the go-ahead run. He liked the first offering and sent it sailing over the centerfield wall, taking Maryland from down two runs to up one. Shaw also liked the first pitch he received and put a swing on it that added to his team’s advantage.
The Terps took a lead in the span of two pitches Saturday afternoon before rain engulfed College Park. Once the game resumed Sunday morning, Maryland’s bullpen overcame unique circumstances to maintain the advantage.
Shaw’s 43rd home run of his career moved the shortstop into a tie for most in Terps history and helped push Maryland to a 6-5 win in the second game of its weekend set with Purdue, a contest that ended 23 hours after it began.
“Matty deserves every ounce of that,” coach Rob Vaughn said. “I’m happy that record was at least tied and hopefully he takes that here pretty soon.”
[Pitching falters again as Maryland baseball loses to Purdue, 10-8]
Nigel Belgrave, who hadn’t pitched since Wednesday, tossed a perfect eighth inning on nine pitches. He returned for the ninth, where two singles put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.
The right hander collected his first strikeout for the second out of the inning, going to his sweeping slider to force a swing and miss. He went back to the pitch five times against the next hitter, who whiffed at three of them.
It was a change from Belgrave’s recent outings, where he dominated left handers but struggled with righties while his slider too often hung in the middle of the zone. Sunday, the breaking pitch was effective and both punchouts came against right handers.
“He was back to that swing-and-miss slider,” Vaughn said. “That’s why he’s in there in that spot.”
Belgrave’s two punchouts, both with a pair of runners in scoring position, completed a six-out save. And after Kenny Lippman’s scoreless seventh inning Saturday, it gave the Terps their first game since March 19 in a win over Albany in which relievers didn’t allow a run.
Kyle McCoy began the game on the mound in his first ever Saturday start as Nick Dean was sidelined with soreness. It was also the first time the freshman completed six innings since he tossed eight scoreless frames against UCF in March.
[Maryland baseball made moves to improve pitching depth. So far, they haven’t worked.]
The left hander collected five strikeouts, tied for second most in an outing this season, but mostly pitched to contact.
That approach cost McCoy at times. Only two of his five runs were earned as Maryland’s infield defensive struggles persisted. Shaw made three errors in the first two games of the series after entering the weekend with only four on the season.
His two mishaps Saturday both led to Purdue scores, which kept it ahead in the early innings. Luke Shliger and Elijah Lambros bumped the error total to four.
Saturday also marked the return of Matt Woods. The outfielder missed 10 games with a concussion.
He trimmed Maryland’s deficit with a RBI double in the third inning in his second plate appearance after missing more than two weeks, and Lorusso and Shaw’s ensuing homers gave the Terps a lead that allowed them to even the weekend series with Purdue.