East Carolina outfielder Lane Hoover showed No. 21 Maryland baseball an immaculate display of talent all game long, punishing the Terps at the plate and in the field.
In the top of the second inning, Hoover beautifully tracked a Jacob Orr hit to the wall and rose up above the padded structure to grab a home run from the Terps. Later on in the fifth, he hit a double and then proceeded to round the bases after a pop fly and slid safely into home after an error. In a game where Maryland needed every run to inch back into the game, Hoover took one off the board and added another on all by himself.
Despite taking an early lead, early scoring barrages from East Carolina were too great to overcome as the Terps finished the LeClair Classic in Greenville with a 1-2 record, losing Sunday’s game to East Carolina 6-3.
The loss marked Maryland’s second defeat in the last three games after it jumped out to its best start in program history. Maryland is now 9-2 this season and will return home to face VCU on Tuesday.
It didn’t take long for Maryland to get on the board in the first inning. Shortstop Matt Shaw was called out at first, but with no outs catcher Luke Shliger was able to get home. This gave the away team a 1-0 lead with only one out on the board in East Carolina.
The early lead was followed up by some incredible plays in the field for Maryland. Pitcher Jason Savacool threw out East Carolina center fielder Bryson Worrell at first to help get him out of the inning clean.
Then it was East Carolina that made a few impressive plays in the field. In the top of the second inning, Hoover robbed Maryland’s Orr of a home run at the wall in left field as the Terps were forced to remain satisfied with their one-run lead.
The Pirates got a run in the second by exceptional bunts from Justin Wilcoxen and Zach Agnos, tying things up at one apiece.
In the third inning, it was the home team that took the lead thanks to a two-run rocket to right field to make it 3-1. They added onto the lead with two RBIs from Alec Makarewicz and Carter Cunningham off of some very well-placed bunts. By the end of the inning, East Carolina held a four-run advantage.
First baseman Maxwell Costes gave the Terps some energy from his bat to start the fourth with a solo shot to center field. The first baseman’s run gave the Terps some momentum as they shut out the Pirates in the bottom of the fourth inning to keep the score at 5-2 with some chances to get some runs.
The fifth inning featured little activity, except a nice hitting performance and running the bases by Hoover. He cracked a double into right field before running all the way from second to home on a sac fly, sliding into home plate before the tag to add on to East Carolina’s lead to make it a 6-2 advantage.
Orr got an RBI single in the top of the sixth to try and bring the Terps back despite them not being able to score again in the inning with the bases loaded. He has been a bright spot on the squad to start his collegiate career.
Though Savacool wasn’t throwing too many strikeouts, with four of them through six innings, the fielding got them out clean at 6-3 with three more offensive innings left to make up the difference.
The Maryland defense was able to hold up in the seventh, but their bats just didn’t have anything to show for it. Sophomore reliever Ryder Giles had two strikeouts in the bottom of the inning to stifle another attempt at a Terrapin comeback with just two innings left.
Pitcher Will Glock came into the game for Savacool in the eighth. The junior has been a steady hand for Maryland this year with a 2.45 ERA to start the season. Glock’s performance in the bottom of the eighth inning would give the Terps a chance at the top of the ninth to spur a one-inning comeback down by three runs.
But the work by the Maryland bullpen late would not be enough for the Terps to start hitting well, getting three straight outs to end the game 6-3. Maryland takes on VCU twice next, playing in College Park this Tuesday and Wednesday to try and get back on track.
Three things to know
- Savacool pitched seven innings, heating up later on. After a 10-strikeout game last weekend against Campbell, Savacool failed to live up to those lofty expectations in Greenville, North Carolina. He gave up five runs in the second and third, but didn’t let that affect the rest of his performance, allowing only one run in his last four innings pitched. Five strikeouts for Savacool is respectable, but it wasn’t enough to dig him out of the hole he put his squad in early.
- East Carolina has legit bats. The hitting display early for the Pirates was quite remarkable, with East Carolina jumping out to an early lead and never looking back. Worrell, Hoover, Makarewicz and Cunningham all had some impact at-bats to create scores against a good Maryland side. Despite only one more total hit by East Carolina, the Pirates made better decisions with runners on base to give the team a record above .500 11 games into the season.
- Maryland is coming down to earth after an incredible start to the season. Being the only ranked team in the Big Ten conference, Maryland had hopes of staying undefeated for longer. But after this weekend, the Terps moved from 8-0 to 9-2 on the season after three games in three days. Maryland fell to a conference rival in Michigan and the team that knocked them out of the tournament last year in East Carolina.