In the bottom of the fifth inning, Maryland baseball needed runs. Matt Shaw delivered. The shortstop slammed a three-run game-tying home run to center field for his 23rd blast of the season and 52nd of his career.
The junior was coming off of a relatively quiet game but exploded Sunday, going 3-for-6 with four RBIs.
His performance came as part of a Maryland baseball offensive explosion that allowed it to beat Minnesota at home, 15-9, in the series finale.
After Shaw’s home run, Nick Lorusso doubled and was brought home by an Eddie Hacopian single to give Maryland a 6-5 lead.
Minnesota responded with a two-run home run to lurch back in front in the sixth. But the bottom of the inning saw Maryland explode for seven runs. Shaw and Lorusso started the barrage with two RBI singles as the Terps racked up three walks and five hits.
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“We still have a lot to improve on … better at-bats in certain situations like the middle innings,” said Lorusso. “I’m really proud of our offense and how we’ve never let up any time.”
The slugging started early. On his senior day, Matt Woods blasted a second-inning two-run home run to the right field. Woods, coming off a two-home run performance Saturday, now has 10 on the season.
The Terps needed that offense due to a makeshift pitching staff.
Ryan Van Buren began the game on the pitching mound for Maryland (35-18, 15-6 Big Ten). He entered with a 7.09 ERA and allowed two hits in 2 ⅔ innings before being replaced by Kenny Lippman.
Van Buren’s start came after Kyle McCoy, who last played on May 6, was ruled out for the weekend by coach Rob Vaughn. Maryland started Nick Dean Friday and Jason Savacool Saturday.
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The Sunday staff showed promise, limiting Minnesota to just one run in the first four innings. But a pair of singles and an error by Lorusso in the fifth inning allowed the Golden Gophers to put runners first and third base with only one out.
Minnesota (15-33, 8-13 Big Ten) took advantage of the Maryland miscues with a fielder’s choice that scored one. The Golden Gophers then capitalized on three straight walks, scoring two more to increase their lead to 5-2.
But after the fifth and sixth innings where Maryland scored 11 combined runs, it began the seventh up 13-7.
The Terps scored again in the seventh as Lorusso brought Shaw home with a single. In the bottom of the eighth, Shliger grounded out to bring Bobby Zmarzlak home as Maryland scored in each of its last four innings at bat.
“That’s what we can do, when we can string at-bats one after another,” Lorusso said. “… Once everyone strings it together, we’re a very tough lineup to beat.”