The Michigan Wolverines baseball team returned from College Park empty handed after their weekend series, losing all three games on the road to the Maryland Terrapins. Michigan’s record dropped to 25-24 (10-11) and dipped to sixth in the Big Ten rankings. Maryland’s record improved to 41-10 (16-5) as they hopped Rutgers in the Big Ten rankings and move into first place.
The first game of the series seemed as though a blowout was imminent. The Terrapins tagged Michigan’s starter, Noah Rennard, for two solo home runs in the first inning to start the scoring. After a few zeros, the Terrapins extended their lead in the fifth. A two-run shot off the bat of Kevin Keister served as the exclamation point of the inning and likely the nail in the coffin for the Wolverines.
That is, until the switch-hitting junior Jake Marti belted his first career home run in the sixth. The Wolverines then roared back for a six-run inning to tie the game, by means of a Marti sacrifice fly to deep center field, a Joe Stewart two-RBI single and a three-run bomb from Matt Frey.
Unfortunately, tying the game was not enough, as Connor O’Halloran lost control momentarily, walking two straight batters on eight straight balls and then plating a run after two wild pitches.
Michigan mounted together a small rally in the ninth off Terrapin closer Nigel Belgrave. Unfortunately, with a runner in scoring position, a Tito Flores line-out to left field and then a strikeout ended the ballgame. Final score: 8-7.
Realistically, the 20-6 final score of game two makes it seem like this game was out of reach for Michigan. In reality, it was a four-run game in the fifth inning.
Michigan went up three runs in the second inning after a few big hits, including a home run off the bat of Ted Burton. But Maryland responded quickly with a seven spot in the bottom of the second inning. RBI hits came from Bobby Zmarzlak, Chris Alleyne and Luke Shliger. The big hit of the inning was a three-run blast from Matt Shaw.
Momentum continued to switch frequently, as Michigan responded immediately in the top of the third. Matt Frey hit his second home run of the series — a two-run shot over the center field wall scoring Joe Stewart — which brought Michigan back within two runs. Matt Shaw also continued to do damage to the Wolverines as he hit his second home run of the day in the fourth inning, for his fourth RBI in as many innings.
The Wolverines continued clawing back, but none of their comebacks could gain enough momentum for the Wolverine pitching staff to slow down the Maryland offense. The Terrapins scored five runs in both the seventh and the eight innings, including a grand slam from Matt Shaw for his third home run and eighth RBI of the day.
Over half of the Maryland lineup had a multi-hit game, while four Maryland hitters racked up three or more RBI. Regardless of Michigan’s persistent offense, it is nearly impossible to beat a team who scores 20 runs.
The Terrapins take game two, 20-6, sealing a series win.
Michigan, for the third time in this series, took an early lead against the Terrapins. In the top of the first, Joe Stewart singled, stole second base and crossed the plate on a Jimmy Obertop single. After a slow offensive start for both sides, Michigan expanded its lead after a Riley Bertram double in the fourth inning, then scored another unanswered run in the fifth on a Matt Frey sacrifice fly, scoring Clark Elliot.
The bottom of the fifth saw another crooked number for the Terrapins. Their offense launched four home runs in the inning off the bats of Nick Lorusso, Ian Petruz, Chris Alleyne and yes, you guessed it, Matt Shaw for his fifth home run of the series. The Alleyne home run came on a defensive blunder, as a routine fly ball to right field bounced off the glove of Joey Velasquez and over the right field fence.
Maryland continued to expand its lead, scoring four in the sixth and three more in the seventh, with the help of a sixth home run on the weekend from Matt Shaw.
Michigan showed late fight in the ninth, scoring six runs, but still lost game three, 15-10.
The weekend sweep was Michigan’s first time being on the losing end of a Big Ten sweep since 2018.
The Wolverines are back in action this Tuesday in a single home game against Michigan State. Following that, Rutgers heads to Ann Arbor for the end of the regular season, and a decisive series for the Wolverines’ postseason hopes.