With two runners on base, first baseman Maxwell Costes had a great opportunity to extend No. 24 Maryland baseball’s lead in the fourth inning. Costes capitalized, dropping a double into right field to put even more pressure on Cornell.
The double scored both runners, giving the Terps a nine-run lead in the fourth inning and deflated any confidence the Big Red had in this game.
Maryland controlled the scoreboard for the rest of the game after their eight-run fourth inning, beating Cornell 12-5 Sunday afternoon at College Park.
“We talked a lot about faceless opponents, I didn’t think we did that today,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “Obviously it’s good when you don’t play well and you win, but we kind of measure ourselves against the best version of who we can be, not just what the scoreboard says.”
Southpaw Ryan Ramsey, who struggled early in the innings in his previous starts, was absolutely dialed in to start the game. He allowed one hit but struck out five of six in two innings.
The Terps offense was slow to start, forcing just nine pitches in a 1-2-3 first inning. Costes quickly changed that in the second, hitting a two-hit bomb on the center field wall after third baseman Nick Lorusso was hit by a pitch.
Ramsey continued to give the Big Reds trouble in the third, striking out two for a career-high seven strikeouts, a remarkable feat in just three innings.
Designated hitter Luke Shliger picked right field to lead the bottom of third, but the next three at bats were busts as a runner was blocked at second.
Two more strikeouts in the fourth gave Ramsey a total of nine as Cornell struggled to even foul the ball off the bat.
Maryland opened the door in the bottom of the fourth with an eight-run inning. It started with left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak and right fielder Troy Schreffler walking before freshman second baseman Jacob Orr hit second base to score the first run of the inning.
Two hits and two walks followed, loading the bases and scoring three runs with one out. After a pitching switch from Cornell, Lorusso retired first, scoring another run for the Terps. On their second at bat of the inning, Costes dropped a double to right field and Zmarzlak scored a single to score the last three runs of the inning for the Terps.
Ramsey’s pitching went untouchable in the fifth with another two strikeout inning, keeping Maryland’s lead at 10.
The Terps nailed one more in the fifth as shortstop Matt Shaw ripped a two-out single into left field, scoring wide receiver Riley Langerman from second who arrived on base with a single to the third base.
The start of the sixth saw another two strikeout inning for Ramsey, who had by far the best pitching day of the season for the Terps.
Freshman southpaw Michael Walsh replaced Ramsey in the top of the seventh for his first appearance of the season. Walsh struggled hard early on, allowing one hit and walking two as the bases were loaded with no outs. A sacrificial volley to center field scored Cornell’s first run of the game and gave Walsh his first out. After shaking nerves, Walsh rallied and struck out the last two batters of the inning.
After consecutive scoreless innings, the Terps’ point total remained at 11.
The double-digit lead was nearly halved after Walsh allowed a dead-end grand slam, forcing Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn to pull the rookie and replace him with junior Matt Orlando. Orlando retired the next three, holding the Big Red to a four-run inning.
The Terps got one of those runs in the bottom of the eighth as Zmarzlak picked center field and worked his way all the way around the bases, reaching home on an error by catcher John Quinlan.
Orlando closed out the game with a 1-2-3 inning, securing a 12-5 win for Maryland.
Three things to know
1. Ryan Ramsey overcame early inning issues he had in other games. Ramsey struggled early throughout the season, allowing five of his eight earned runs in the first three innings. That wasn’t the case today as he was stalled from the start, allowing just one hit and three base runners in the first three innings, while striking out seven batters. Ramsey finished the day with 13 strikeouts, one hit and no runs in six innings pitched.
“Just ordering the whole game,” Ramsey said. “They were swinging around and missing a lot of substitutions, so sticking with that the whole game was definitely a big game.”
2. The Terps capitalized on Cornell’s mistakes. The fourth inning decided this game as Maryland scored eight runs. Six of those runs came from walks and slap shots by Cornell pitcher Spencer Edwards. When the Big Red made a mistake, the Terps took advantage, clearing the bases and scoring runs.
“We found a lot of different ways to score points this round,” Costes said. “That kind of run was like an assortment of how our offense works.”
3. Maryland enjoyed an unexpected rest day. After Saturday’s game was rescheduled for Sunday due to bad weather, Ramsey and the Terps found themselves with an extra day of rest and preparation after battling Georgetown on Friday night. As this is Cornell’s second game of the day, there’s no denying he was gassed from his 10-inning game against the Hoyas and Maryland took advantage of the situation.
“We took yesterday, which I think is huge,” Vaughn said. “Sometimes the best thing to do is put the bat down, put the ball down and let your body recover a bit.”