NEWARK, Del. – No. 24 Maryland baseball’s third baseman turned pitcher Nick Lorusso stared down Delaware second baseman Joey Loynd at the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning. Lorusso, one of seven Maryland pitchers to grace the mound on Tuesday, had to deal with a runner on first with Loynd up to bat as the Terps held a one-run lead.
Loynd immediately erased Maryland’s 3-2 lead and took the junior pitcher all the way out of the park, which gave Delaware all the momentum it needed. The Blue Hens’ hit almost made contact with the scoreboard at Bob Hannah Stadium as Delaware took care of business the rest of the way after Loynd’s two-run homer.
No. 24 Maryland just couldn’t seem to get anything going after an early three-run scoring spree in the second inning. With Maryland struggling at the plate, Delaware eventually took the lead and the Terps went on to lose 6-3, snapping their four-game winning streak.
The Terps’ record dropped to 13-3 after the loss and they will play again this weekend against Siena.
The scoring started in the top of the second inning when Blue Hens’ pitcher Dan Frake found himself in a dangerous situation on the mound with Maryland up to bat. With the bases loaded and no outs, second baseman Kevin Keister stepped up and hit a sacrifice fly to center field to bring left fielder Bobby Zmarzlak home for the game’s first run.
Designated hitter Chris Alleyne came up to the plate and kept the Terps’ strong inning going with a single that made it through the right side of the infield to bring another run home. The two runs caused Delaware to dig into its bullpen to replace Frake early on. Frake only lasted 1.1 innings, allowing two hits, three walks and one earned run.
His replacement, right-handed pitcher Wyatt Nelson, only partially stopped the bleeding in the second inning. He walked Lorusso to bring another runner home for Maryland, putting it up 3-0 after two full innings.
Maryland center fielder Troy Schreffler Jr. captured his second highlight in the outfield in the last two days, as he collided with the wall in center field to make a grab off a hit from third baseman Joey Loynd in the third inning.
Despite early dominance by the Terps, Delaware was able to get on the board after starting pitcher Logan Ott was replaced by Andrew Johnson, who didn’t even last the whole bottom of the fourth inning after putting runners on first and third.
“I’m never gonna put guys in a precarious situation from a health perspective to try to win a game,” head coach Rob Vaughn said about the decision to rest the sophomore.
Johnson was then replaced by right-handed pitcher Sean Heine, who allowed a run from first to leak through after an error by Matt Shaw in the infield, making it 3-1 after four innings.
Delaware’s Nelson retired 10 straight Maryland batters in his 3.2 innings pitched. This brilliant performance cooled down the Maryland bats and allowed Delaware to get back into the game in the fifth inning when Delaware cut into the Terps lead with a solo home run from Jordan Hutchings, making it 3-2.
Losing momentum and clinging onto a one-run advantage, Maryland’s offense continued its dry spell in the sixth and seventh innings. Then when the time came for Delaware to pounce on its opportunity to tie the game, Loynd smashed a Nick Lorusso pitch all the way up and over the high left field wall with a runner on first.
Just like that, the Blue Hens had their first lead of the game at 4-3 after the seventh innings. That left Maryland with just two innings to try and climb back from its first deficit of the game.
Momentum didn’t stop shifting towards the home team’s dugout, as Maryland gave up even more points in the eighth inning. First, an RBI single by designated hitter Jake Dunion brought a run home. Then, relief pitcher Will Glock walked with the bases loaded, bringing the last run home in the eighth inning to make it a 6-3 ball game.
In a last-ditch effort in the ninth inning, Maryland loaded the bases with two outs and brought out pinch hitter Ian Petrutz. But the freshman struck out on three pitches, ruining any chance of a Maryland comeback.
“We coach a sport with a lot of young kids, and showing up every day and being your best every day is not easy… It’s hard, but that’s our job,” Vaughn said.
Three things to know
- Logan Ott was pulled early despite a nice start. It’s been a shaky season so far for the sophomore, who before Tuesday had an 8.44 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched as the midweek starter. However, Ott was rolling in the first three innings, recording two strikeouts and allowing no hits to start off the game. However, Ott was pulled after those three innings for freshman Andrew Johnson, who immediately put a runner on first and third base causing him to get pulled. It was an interesting decision by Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn to pull Ott, considering that the Terps eventually gave up their three-run lead.
- Maryland’s bats were inconsistent. The first two innings featured runners getting on base, runs scoring off of walks with the bases loaded and an RBI from outfielder Chris Alleyne. But after looking like it would be a good offensive day, the Terps managed to get stifled in the next six innings at the plate, not even getting a single hit. Without any offense, the reliance on Maryland’s pedestrian pitching from its bullpen only lasted so long as it gave up the lead after seven innings. Delaware retired 19 straight Terps between the third and ninth inning.
- The busy schedule for Maryland gets a bit lighter. The Terps have now played four games in the last five days. A rain delay to their weekend games caused a schedule that had them play Georgetown on Friday, Cornell on Sunday, Georgetown again on Monday, and finishing in Delaware on Tuesday. This hectic period of the season ends with a record of 3-1. The Terps have a break until their weekend series against Siena gets underway, starting off with a double-header on Saturday in College Park.