Maryland fell 12-7 on the road to the Delaware Blue Hens in what has become almost an annual home-and-home series. Last year the Terps took both games from Delaware, and looked to repeat that success this year. In today's game Maryland sent freshman RHP John Murphy to the hill for his first collegiate start.
Home runs jump start each team
The Terps wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard. As in previous games, they used the long ball. Leading off the game, Kevin Smith cracked a single to right, and then Madison Nickens hit his third home run of the year. Just like that the Terps were up 2-0. But the Blue Hens responded in their half of the inning. Jordan Glover hit a two-out single. Diaz Nardo tied the score with a blast over the left field wall. So things were squared up at 2-2 after just one inning.
In the very next inning the Terps regained the lead. Kevin Biondic singled through the left side and swiped second. Marty Costes drilled a double that scored Biondic to put the Terps up 3-2.
More offense from both teams
The Terps scored again in their half of the third. Nick Dunn lofted a single to left. An errant pick-off throw allowed Dunn to motor to third base. Andrew Bechtold hit a double down the left field line to once more give the Terps a two-run lead. Maryland could have had put runs more on the board. However, they were hurt by having two runners caught stealing third and another runner picked off first.
Delaware kept pounding away and took the lead. Kevin Mohollen hit a solo home run to pull the Blue Hens to within one run. In the bottom of the fourth Nardo led off with a double, then went to third on a wild pitch. He came home on a ground out to even the score.
Delaware continues clubbing extra base hits
In the next inning Mohollen hit a two-out triple and came home on a double by Nick Tierno: Delaware led 5-4. After a hit batter, Murphy was relieved by senior RHP Jared Price. Price walked Nardo to load the bases, and that brought in freshman LHP Zach Guth. He induced a pop up to get Maryland out of a huge jam.
In the Blue Hen sixth, Nick Patten and Brian Mayer hit back-to-back doubles to give Delaware a 6-4 lead. Sophomore RHP Andrew Green relieved Guth. James Meeker hit an infield single to put runners on the corner. Kyle Baker grounded to Bechtold, who nailed Mayer at the plate. But Delaware extended its lead via a single by Mohollen, and then Glover doubled to make it 9-4 Delaware. Glover scored on a throwing error, and the Terps trailed by six runs.
Now it was Maryland's turn to put up a big inning. In the Terrapin seventh, Biondic doubled and Costes walked. A. J. Lee hit a high chopper over the third baseman for an RBI double. Nickens singled in a run, as did Dunn, to cut the deficit to 10-7. Maryland later loaded the bases with two outs, but Anthony Papio grounded out to second.
Freshman RHP Hunter Parsons was on the bump for Maryland in the bottom of the seventh and held Delaware scoreless. Another freshman, LHP Andrew Miller, pitched the eighth. Delaware scored on two infield singles, and a suicide squeeze that dribbled past Miller. Mike Rescigno came in to pitch. Another run came home on a ground ball single up the middle. After eight innings it was 12-7 Delaware, which is how the game ended.
Maryland fell to 3-4 on the year, with John Murphy taking the loss to go to 0-1.
Three things to know:
1. Maryland seems to be out of their early season hitting slump. After batting .200 through their first five games, Maryland has put together back-to-back games with double digit hits. It's especially nice to see the newcomers contribute in a big way.
2. When the Terps score seven runs against Delaware, there's no way they should lose. A number of base running blunders early in the game didn't seem significant at the time, but ended up being quite important. Passed balls and errors helped the Blue Hens gain a six-run lead in a crooked sixth inning. In all, not the crisp kind of play we've come to expect from Maryland.
3. This could be a bad loss. Or not. Delaware entered the game 3-3, having already defeated Virginia Tech. As the season continues it remains to be seen if the loss to Delaware is an RPI deflator. Losing two out of three to Alabama doesn't seem so bad now that the Tide is on the perimeter of the top 25.