Nick Lorusso came to the plate in the sixth inning with the bases loaded. A grand slam would give him the Maryland baseball record for RBIs in a season. With two strikes, he achieved exactly what he needed, walloping a ball beyond the Bob Smith Stadium scoreboard in left field.
Kevin Keister, Luke Shliger and Matt Shaw touched home. Then it was Lorusso’s turn to cross the plate representing 84th run batted in of his season — the most this year in college baseball.
The blast capped an eight-run sixth inning as the Terps overpowered Nebraska in a 20-5 win in Sunday’s series finale as another Maryland star claimed a top spot in the program records.
“We were a part of breaking a lot of records last year,” coach Rob Vaughn said. “… When you have special years, you do things like that.”
Maryland (33-16, 13-6 Big Ten) crushed four home runs in the win including Lorusso’s 19th and 20th of the season. The home runs kept him even with Shaw for the team lead.
Lorusso’s sixth inning grand slam was the team’s 11th of the season, three shy of tying the NCAA record. His eight RBIs tied a program single-game record.
Ian Petrutz slugged his third homer in his last six games and Jacob Orr notched his third blast of the year. Every Maryland starter logged a hit and all but two had at least one RBI.
“Everyone’s doing their job,” Shaw said. “Everyone’s getting on. Everyone’s getting that big hit.”
Sunday’s win is a continuation of Maryland’s offense’s torrid stretch, one led by Lorusso and Shaw’s record-setting seasons. The Terps have scored 198 runs in their last 14 games and entered the weekend second in Division I in homers.
They tout a 12-2 record over that stretch, a turnaround that’s pushed them into first place in the conference standings, back into the national polls and comfortably into postseason projections. Maryland started 4-7 amid a tough non-conference slate. Since then, it’s gone 29-9.
“The big thing you try to do as a coach is make sure that you soak this up,” Vaughn said. “Because you don’t get to coach a lot of Nick Lorussos, you don’t get to coach a lot of Matt Shaws or Luke Shilgers, those guys don’t come around very often.”
The barrage of runs masked another subpar Jason Savacool start that quickly became insignificant with 20 runs of support. The right-hander allowed five runs in six innings after allowing 13 combined earned runs in his last two appearances before Sunday.
Savacool touts a 7.15 ERA in six conference starts. He’ll have two more chances in the regular season to get right before the postseason while Maryland also grapples with Nick Dean’s lingering forearm injury and Kyle McCoy’s recent struggles.
It didn’t matter as the Terps tied their highest offensive output in a Big Ten game to easily win another conference series. It’s a formula that’s worked — Maryland has won 20 straight Big Ten series in a streak that dates back to 2021 as it eyes a postseason run.
“[Lorusso] is a very well deserving kid,” Vaughn said. “But I guarantee he will trade it all if … we can make a run to Omaha. That’s what you’re gonna remember.”