Terps Baseball wins on Opening Day in a thrilling comeback!

The Maryland Terps (1-0) opened their 2024 season on the road with a 5-4 spirited comeback win against the Georgia Southern Eagles (0-1).

It was the first contest of a three-game series. The matchup between the two teams sparked unfamiliar territory for both squads, as this is their first meeting in nearly 44 years. The last time these two teams played was on March 13, 1980, when the Eagles beat the Terps 5-4. The win tonight marked the first victory for newly appointed head coach and Terp alum, Matt Swope.

It was a slow game to start, with both teams needing help to move runners on base. Alex Calarco earned the team’s first hit of the season in the bottom of the second. Calarco recorded another base hit at the top of the fourth inning, but the game remained scoreless at the time.

Maryland starting pitcher, Kenny Lippman, had an impressive debut, allowing one hit and zero earned runs. Lippman struck out five during his first appearance. After four innings, Maryland went to the bullpen, and Logan Berrier came out in relief. Berrier also had a strong performance, throwing four innings and was the pitcher of record and earned the W.

Georgia Southern broke the stalemate and scored first in the bottom of the fourth inning, with the Eagles drawing a walk with the bases loaded. The next batter scored on a passed ball (uneanred run), expanding the Eagle’s lead to 2-0. Then, the Eagles scored one more in the bottom of the fifth after a sacrifice fly.

However, Maryland got on the board in the sixth, with Sam Hojnar leading off the frame with a triple. Right after that, the newly minted captain, Kevin Keister, earned the RBI with a single.

Georgia Southern picked up another run in the bottom of the frame as Josh Tate registered an RBI double with two outs.

Jacob Orr came through with a massive two-run home run to deep left field at the top of the seventh. With the home run, Maryland was only down one.

With two outs in the eighth, Eddie Hacopian delivered a double to right-center field, starting the inning with a bang. Devin Russell knocked a single to left field, bringing Hacopian home to tie the game at four.

The fun came in the ninth when Orr recorded another base hit. A sacrifice bunt advanced Orr into a scoring position, and a passed ball put him in a prime position to score. Hojnar quickly connected on a ball, recording a sacrifice fly and bringing Orr home for the game winning run.

With the Terps up 5-4, Nate Haberthier had the smallest of margins to try to notch the save. It was a heart thumping bottom of the 9th as the Eagles had the game-tying run in scoring position when freshman outfielder, Brayden Martin, made an incredible running catch on the left field warning track for the final out to clinch the victory for Maryland and get Haberthier the save, and head coach Swope his first win.

“It was grimey, they grinded it out.  It was one of those things where they don’t make it easy for your first win. I got to give them credit. The energy was good the whole time. I thought we played well. We built up some innings, and we just couldn’t push through early. I thought the process was good on offense and defense, and I’m glad they stuck with it and came out in the end with a win.” 

— head coach Matt Swope said after the game

The offensive star of the game had several candidates, and in this case, Orr, a junior outfielder from Frederick, Maryland got our pick after he hit the team’s first homer of the season, and got the Terps back into this game.

“I felt pretty good after the first two at-bats, felt like I was on the ball. He was throwing me a lot of changeups, so two strikes I was kind of looking for it. That’s what I got, so just put a good swing on it. I was just glad I could help the team and bring it within one.” 

— right fielder Jacob Orr said regarding his home run

In this game, Chris Hacopian, Hojnar, Calarco, and Martin made their Terps debuts as starters. Meanwhile, Berrier made his debut as a relief pitcher.

Maryland will go for the series win on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. ET. It will mark the second contest of the three-game series. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.

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