Tuesday's game featured a rematch of the contest that the Blue hens won a week ago 12-7. While the last game was designated an "away" game, Tuesday's game was held at Harford Community College in Bel Air, MD, and thus is considered a "home" game. Both teams trotted out freshman making their first start - Delaware RHP Cole Benjamin vs. Maryland RHP Cameron Enck.
Terps hitting the ball, but mistakes allow the Blue Hens to take the lead
Enck, who is known for having good control, pitched himself into a bit of difficulty in the first inning. Nick Tierno doubled, Jordan Glover was HBP, and Nick Leggett walked. All runners advanced on a wild pitch, giving Delaware a 1-0 lead. Nick Patten walked to once more load the bases. However Enck pitched himself out of trouble, striking out the next hitter and then inducing a pop-up.
The Terps came right back, scoring two in the bottom of the first. Madison Nickens laid down a beautiful bunt to get aboard. On a hit and run, Nick Dunn singled to right field. Nickens came home when the right fielder misplaced the ball, with Dunn taking second. Cieri hit a long fly that enabled Dunn to take third; the freshman came home on a wild pitch.
Things started off well for Enck in the second inning. He got two quick outs, and seemed to be out of the inning when Mohollen hit a ground ball to third. But A J Lee had trouble fielding it, and Kevin Mohollen got aboard. The speedy Mohollen stole second, and Tierno walked. Glover then doubled to tie the score. Enck recorded his third punch out of the game to end the Delaware second.
In the bottom of the second, Anthony Papio was HBP. Unfortunately he was thrown out attempting to steal second. Lee subsequently walked. Peyton Sorrels hit a hard grounder that hit Lee, who was called out. Kevin Smith singled and Nickens walked to load the bases. Dunn walked, so Sorrels scored. Cieri grounded out, and after two innings the Terps led 3-2. However the unearned run in the top of the inning and the base running miscues in the bottom of the inning cost the Terps at least two runs.
Delaware goes yard five times to put away the game
In the Delaware third, Patten struck out but reached first as the pitch bounced to the backstop. After two ground ball outs, Calvin Scott walked. Brian Mayer then hit a three-run homer to put Delaware ahead, 5-3. Mike Rescigno finished off the inning for the Terps.
In the next inning Liggett and Doug Trimble hit solo shots to push the Blue Hens lead to 7-3. Andrew Green relieved Rescigno, and he surrendered solo home runs to Scott and Glover in consecutive innings to make it 9-3 Delaware.
The Terps mounted a rally in their half of the sixth, courtesy of Delaware pitchers being unable to find the strike zone. Papio and Smith walked. With two down, Nickens walked, as did Dunn. Cieri was HBP and the score was 9-5.
Delaware scored one more run in the eighth on a triple by Trimble. Freshman LHP Andrew Miller pitched the ninth for Maryland and struck out the side.
Maryland rally falls just short
In the bottom of the ninth Nick Browne had a memorable first at-bat as a terp, doubling to left field. With two outs Papio hit a high pop up that the shortstop dropped. Brown came around to score on the play. Andrew Bechtold walked, and both runners advanced on a balk. Dan Maynard, who earlier had come into the game as a pinch hitter, doubled to the wall in right center. Jamal Wade pinch hit, and he represented the tying run. Wade was HBP to put the tying run aboard. Nickens took a called strike three to end the game.
Maryland falls to 5-6 on the year, and Enck was saddled with the loss to go to 0-1.
Three things to know:
1. Pitching, particularly middle innings relief, is hurting the Terps. Is it time for Galligan and Selmer to pitch long relief? Should Stiles start? These are questions that the coaching staff will most likely ponder.
2. The freshman bats continue to impress. Whether it's Dunn, Costes, Maynard, and now Browne, Maryland's freshman have not seemed awed by the move to college ball.
3. It's the little things that Maryland needs to fix. Fundamentals. Base running mistakes, opposing runners stealing with abandon, wild pitches, and errors are not familiar territory for a Szefc-coached team. These can be addressed, as it's not a lack of talent that's responsible but the inability to put together nine solid innings.