COLLEGE PARK – The Michigan baseball team (33-11) beat Maryland, 10-4, Saturday to clinch another weekend win in their three-game road series in College Park. Every member of the Wolverines’ lineup reached base at least once in a comfortable victory over the Terrapins.
“We were just able to hit the ball well, we battled with two strikes, we played good defense, and we had a quality start from Tommy (Henry), and we ran the bases well,” Michigan coach Erik Bakich said. “It was just a very complete effort.”
The two teams spent much of the beginning of the contest locked in a pitchers’ duel between junior left-hander Tommy Henry, who surrendered six hits over 6.1 innings of work while allowing 3 runs, and Maryland righty Zach Thompson.
But in the top of the fifth inning, Michigan broke the game open. After Thompson issued consecutive walks with two outs to junior right fielder Jordan Brewer, senior third baseman Jimmy Kerr and senior third baseman Blake Nelson to load the bases, he hit senior left fielder Miles Lewis and walked sophomore shortstop Jack Blomgren to bring home Brewer and Kerr, giving the Wolverines a 3-1 lead.
That was all Maryland coach Rob Vaughn needed to sit his starter, replacing Thompson with left hander Sean Fisher. He wasn’t much help, though, giving up a single to sophomore catcher Joe Donovan that scored Lewis and Nelson, bringing the score to 5-1. Fisher then walking senior second baseman Ako Thomas to load the bases again before getting Nwogu to line out to end the inning.
“With less than two strikes, we’re just trying to smash the ball and hit it as hard as we can, and we’re just hunting pitches to hit hard: we’re just trying to make hard contact,” Bakich said. “With two strikes, an at-bat is more about fighting for the next pitch, being gritty, spoiling pitchers’ pitches, and just fighting to get to the next pitch.
“We’re just trying in any way, shape or form, no matter what it looks like, to put the barrel on the ball, and our guys have been doing a really good job of that these last few weeks.”
Michigan held onto its momentum in the top of the sixth. Sophomore center fielder Jesse Franklin walked to lead off the inning. After Brewer doubled, Nelson took an intentional walk to load the bases, and an RBI single from Lewis plated Franklin to bring the game to 6-1. Brewer then scored on a sacrifice fly from Blomgren and another RBI single from Donovan scored Nelson, bringing the score to 8-1 for Michigan before Thomas struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Terrapins responded with a home run, this time from first baseman Maxwell Costes, but Henry got out of the inning without further damage as he struck out the next two batters he saw. They tacked on another run with some small ball in the bottom of the seventh, bringing the score to 8-3.
Michigan added on two more runs to its total with two outs in the top of the ninth inning as Franklin wrapped a two-run home run around the foul pole in right field. Once again, Maryland responded with a home run, this time from second baseman Ben Cowles, but it wasn't enough for the Terrapins to make any sort of run.
The Wolverines will go for the weekend sweep Sunday, with sophomore right-hander Jeff Criswell expected to make the start.
“We’re not satisfied yet,” Bakich said. “We’re going to come out tomorrow with that same intensity and just look to finish this off playing well in all facets. The preparation is there. Now it’s just going to be about execution.”