Going into the seventh inning of Maryland baseball’s weekend series finale against Purdue on Sunday, it looked like the Terps were poised to salvage a win in the three-game set. They were up 6-2, and starter Tyler Blohm was dealing on the mound. Maryland was hitting the ball well, having hit two home runs in the game to that point. Purdue couldn’t find an answer for the Terps.
However, a few costly walks and a massive throwing error from Will Watson were all the Boilermakers needed to change the complexity of the game. Purdue scored five in the inning to take a 7-6 lead, and tacked on another run in the ninth to win the game 8-6 and sweep the weekend series from the Terps in College Park.
That loss extended Maryland’s current losing streak—and its losing streak in conference play—to six games.
“Coach Vaughn said it best. He’s never really seen anything like that before, and to be honest, I haven’t in a while either,“ Zach Jancarski said.
Maryland has been outscored 49-20 during its current losing streak. Terps pitching has given up over eight runs per game, and the staff is giving up an average of six walks per outing during the losing streak.
“Sometimes, you run out there and you’re scoring 10 runs a game, and it kind of overshadows if you get a little sloppy,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t just worn it out and put a whole lot of runs out there, so stuff like that gets amplified.”
This is coupled with the loss of starter Taylor Bloom, who suffered a concussion prior to the April 13 game against Michigan, which began the losing streak. His current status is uncertain, and he hasn’t been cleared to throw yet.
This season has been one of ups and downs for Maryland. The Terps have compiled three losing streaks of four games or more and countered with one five-game winning streak. Consistency is something that the team is still striving to achieve.
“I think the biggest thing is we just have to play a complete game. ... It seems like the last couple of games it was either one side of the ball or the other,” Vaughn said. “When you get in a skid, it’s easy to start almost seeing bad things happen. It’s almost like the ‘here we go again’ thing.”
The defense hasn’t been able to make key plays in big situations, eiher. Watson’s errant throw against Purdue is one example, and shortstop A.J. Lee has committed six errors in his last five games played. However, his teammates still have plenty of confidence in him.
“Sometimes, the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. Sometimes, that can have that similar negative domino effect on a person, whether its mentally or physically,” Jancarski said. “Regardless, every time A.J. is out there and there’s a ball hit to him, I guarantee you every guy on this team thinks he’s gonna field it and throw it because he’s done that his entire career here.”
Despite the series sweep, the team is trying to look forward to the rest of the season, starting with this week’s games.
“What we can’t control is where we are in the standings, what we can’t control is the last two months of baseball,” Vaughn said. “All we can control is our effort today...that’s what I’m looking for out of these guys is to come back and bounce back. If we play a clean game of baseball and get beat, and we compete our tails off, I can live with that.”
Maryland was scheduled to play two midweek games this week, but Tuesday’s game against George Mason was cancelled due to inclement weather. The Terps will look to stop the streak on Wednesday against James Madison—the last team Maryland beat, doing so on April 10—at 4 p.m. ET in College Park.