Maryland lost on Sunday to to host team No. 16 East Carolina 4-3 to wind up taking two of three games in the Keith LeClair Classic in Greenville, N.C., this weekend. On Friday afternoon the Terps edged Tennessee 10-9, and Saturday they bested Southeastern Louisiana 8-1.
Today Maryland sent sophomore right-hander Brian Shaffer (0-1) to the mound. Shaffer had a rough go against Rhode Island last week in a game the Terps eventually won 13-10. This time Shaffer was much more effective, throwing five shutout innings before running into trouble in the sixth.
Pirates miss out on multiple scoring opportunities
The Terps had a scare in the first inning. Charlie Yorgen hit a one-out single to left. Travis Watkins then bounced a grounder to third, but Andrew Bechtold's throw was wide of Nick Dunn: Yorgen took third on the error. The next batter hit a soft fly out to right, however Madison Nickens gunned down Yorgen trying to score.
ECU had another opportunity to score in the fourth inning. Yorgen got his second hit off the day, a double just past the diving Kevin Biondic. Watkins was HBP, and then a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third. But Shaffer struck out the next hitter, then got the final out on a ground ball to Dunn.
Smith's homer jump-starts Maryland's offense
Meanwhile the Terps were having trouble figuring out RHP Jimmy Boyd. Through four innings Maryland had managed only two infield hits. It looked like the Terps' woes on the day would continue in the fifth inning, until Kevin Smith cracked a two-out solo home run over the left field wall. The Terps weren't done. Nickens walked, and then went to second on a wild pitch. Dunn lined an opposite field single that scored Nickens. The Terps led 2-0 mid way through the game.
In the bottom of the fifth the Pirates wasted yet another chance to score with a runner on third and one out. With one away, Garrett Smith doubled to right field, going to third on a wild pitch. Turner Brown struck out looking, and Parker Lamm grounded out to third.
Tyler's blast ties the score
The Terps missed a chance to break open the game. With one away, Biondic and Bechtold hit back-to-back singles in the Terrapin sixth. That brought in reliever RHP Joe Ingle. A walk to Morris loaded the bases. However Ingle was able to put out the fire by striking out both Smith and Nickens.
The Pirates finally got on the board in the sixth. Travis Watkins hit a one-out double off the wall. Eric Tyler then tied the game with a two-run blast to left. Senior LHP Rob Galligan came in to pitch for the Terps and kept the score 2-2.
Walks to Dunn and Cieri started the Maryland half of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Zach Jancarski tried to advance the runners, but ended up striking out. Papio grounded out to first, with both runners moving up. Biondic was hit on the arm to load the bases. Bechtold was rung up on a pitch that appeared to be wide of the plate. For the second straight inning the Terps left the bases full, making it 12 Terp runners stranded so far.
Ingle throwing bullets
The Pirates went ahead on an unearned run in the seventh. Two singles put runners in scoring position. Jorgen grounded to Biondic, who threw out the runner at second. But Smith's relay throw to first went past Galligan, and ECU had taken the lead, 3-2.
The Terps got the run back in the top of the eighth. After two were out, Nickens struck out but made it to first as the pitch got by the catcher. Nickens stole second, then scored on an opposite field double by Dunn.
Tyler led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center off of Ryan Selmer. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. A bloop double down the right field line put ECU back on top. Stiles came in to pitch and struck out the next two hitters.
Ingle struck out the side in the ninth, allowing only a two-out single to Biondic. He struck out nine Terps in 3.2 innings of work. The Terps fall to 5-5 overall in 2016.
Three things to know:
1. Nick Dunn is as good as advertised. The freshman is hitting a team-leading .417 and seems to thrive best in clutch situations.
2. Kevin Biondic has made a huge leap forward in 2016. After hitting below the Mendoza Line last year, Biondic is batting .406 with three doubles and a HR. He also is fielding his position quite well.
3. Maryland faced three good teams in Greenville, and almost swept. The team's RPI jumped from > 100 to 69. They have to feel good about themselves as they look forward to playing five games in the next week.