Kenny Lippman entered the season as Maryland’s most experienced pitcher.

He appeared in the most games of any Terps hurler last year, primarily out the bullpen but also recording three starts. He’s seen action in 69 games across his career, tied for most among Maryland pitchers.

But the right-hander hadn’t started a Friday night game for Maryland entering 2024 — a role he’s shined in through three weeks of the season.

Lippman displayed his excellence on the mound Friday night. The fifth-year senior tossed six innings and allowed no earned runs against Bryant, guiding the Terps to a 8-3 victory. Lippman struck out nine batters, the most in his Maryland career.

“That’s a Friday night starter,” coach Matt Swope said. “That’s what we expect out of him. Just pounding the zone and attacking.”

The right-hander began his outing with a perfect opening frame. Lippman closed the second inning with a three-pitch strikeout against Brandyn Durand, who swung and missed on all three offerings.

Lippman surrendered just three hits and three walks in his first win of the season.

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Bryant threatened to break into its deficit in the fourth inning with runners on second and third with one out. The right-hander found himself down 3-1 in the count against Lewis Barnum. Lippman didn’t falter and delivered the next two strikes to retire Barnum, then sat down the next batter on one pitch with a fly out.

“I felt like the stuff was a lot sharper today, a lot cleaner,” Lippman said. “A lot more settled in than I have been in the last few starts, so just getting more comfortable.”

The Bulldogs scored an unearned run the following inning with an RBI groundout by Gavin Greger, added another unearned score in the seventh and found their third run on a ninth inning solo homer off Trystan Sarcone.

Maryland had no solidified top starter on the roster heading into the season after the departures of Jason Savacool and Nick Dean, who anchored the rotation for three seasons, and Kyle McCoy’s likely season-ending surgery.

Lippman emerged in the offseason after working with pitching coach Jimmy Jackson to increase spin on his pitches. The right-hander also added a splitter to his arsenal. He began the season by leading his team to a pair of Friday night victories. Lippman gave up no earned runs over four innings on opening night at Georgia Southern with five strikeouts.

He followed it with a five inning outing against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The Islanders tagged Lippman for a pair of runs as he struck out four.

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Lippman’s early ascension into the No. 1 starter role bodes well for the Terps, whose pitching depth mushroomed over the offseason but entered 2024 with uncertainty in the rotation. Maryland’s ERA entering Friday is a full run lower than last season.

“Anytime you feel really good and confident about what we got going on Friday, I think it gives that little extra boost to the rest of the team as well,” Swope said.

The Terps’ offense backed Lippman’s efforts, scoring in each of the first five innings.

Kevin Keister led off the second inning with a home run over Bob Smith’s Stadium’s towering center field wall, his second blast of the season after knocking one out in Tuesday’s win over Georgetown.

Maryland broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning. Seven different Terps reached base in the frame, highlighted by Eddie Hacopian’s two-run single and Chris Hacopian’s RBI double.

The freshman also drove in his older brother in the first inning on an RBI single, the third time the duo have teamed up for a run this season.

“You know we’re gonna put up runs. That’s just the identity here they’ve built,” Lippman said. “You trust that they’re gonna score every time.”

Lippman marched back to the dugout when his outing ended with a flurry of teammates surrounding him. They tapped his glove, offered high fives and congratulated him on his efforts.

The right-hander’s Friday start was an occasion worth celebrating. Maryland may have found its ace.