After a 9-2 win yesterday in Oxford, Mississippi, No. 13 Maryland baseball came into Saturday seeking a weekend series win against No. 4 Ole Miss. But a late inning bullpen meltdown led to Ole Miss scoring eight runs in the seventh and eighth inning as Maryland fell, 12-6.
Maryland and Ole Miss went back and forth all game, loading the bases four times and five times, respectively, giving both pitching staffs a hard time. Maryland took the lead in the fifth inning after a six walk inning by the rebels, and an error in left field that gave Maryland a two run lead, it was 6-4 going into the bottom of the seventh.
Ole Miss responded by getting three runs in a disasterous inning from the Maryland bullpen, giving them the lead 7-6 heading into the eigth inning. David Falco Jr. was sent out to prevent any further damage in the bottom of the eighth, trying to give Maryland to come back down one. But the Rebels ran away with the lead in the eighth off a two run shot from senior outfielder Anthony Calarco, and a five run bottom of the eighth to take game two.
Freshman Grayson Saunier — a top-150 prospect and the best right-handed pitcher coming out of Tennessee according to Perfect Game USA — got the start today for the Rebels. He started his outing with putting two runners on base but was able to get out of the inning after a dropped-third-strike double play, with Shliger getting caught stealing home.
Nick Dean walked Ethan Groff, and Kemp Alderman hit an RBI double top put the Rebels up one, quickly.
After an error and a walk, Kevin Keister laid down a bunt to load the bases with no outs. Then Elijah Lambros tied the game with a deep sac fly to center that brought Hacopian in from third. Shliger was hit for the second time to load the bases, but Matt Shaw struckout to end the inning with the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the second, the Rebels loaded the bases themselves with a hit and two walks. Jacob Gonzalez gets a hit with the bases loaded to bring in Lege from third. No further damage but the Rebels retake the lead.
After a first pitch out, Ian Petrutz took Saunier deep for his fourth homer of the year, tying up the game at two. After that, Hacopian was hit and Kevin Keister walked to get Saunier out of the game. The Terps worked Saunier to 72 pitches in 2 2⁄3 innings, which brought in freshman righty Sam Tookoian to come in relief and end the inning.
Tookoian’s relief appearance for the Rebels started off impressive, with five straight strikeouts, touching 98 miles per hour on the payoff pitch against Shliger in the top of the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth, Nick Dean loaded the bases on a hit and two walks. With two outs and the bases loaded, Ethan Groff brought in two runs to take back the lead again on a single.
Tookoian struck out Lorusso to start the fifth inning, getting his fifth straight strikeout. After a four-pitch walk to Petrutz and a Hacopian flyout, he had two outs with a runner on. The Terps battled at the plate, forcing three straight full-count walks, bringing home a runner and cutting the deficit to one. Tookoian looked extremely sharp in his first 1 2⁄3 innings but fell apart after walking Petrutz.
Righty senior Matt Parenteau came in to relief, and Maryland walked home two more batters to take the lead. Matt Shaw was unable to bring any more runners home with the bases loaded, but the Terps kept a one-run lead.
Nick Dean ended his outing in the fifth with a hit and two strikeouts, holding Maryland’s one-run lead. While not as electric as last Saturday in Tampa, Dean had a solid start against the No. 4 team in the country, giving up four runs in five innings, allowing six hits, striking out five and walking three.
Freshman southpaw Kyle McCoy came in for Dean in the sixth, giving up two two-out hits but leaving both runners stranded.
In the seventh, Ole Miss Freshman righty JT Quinn recorded two outs and a walk to put a runner on first with two outs. On a flyball by Luke Shliger to right field, junior outfielder Reagan Burford slipped on a play on the ball, bringing Zmarzlak from first to home on a RBI double by Shliger. Maryland extended the lead to 6-4.
In the bottom of the seventh McCoy struggled, loading the bases on two hits and a walk. Maryland righty reliever Nigel Belgrave came in in a huge position with bases loaded, no outs and a two-run lead. Belgrave retired John Kramer in a putout by Shaw, and struckout Peyton Chatagnier to make it two outs with the bases loaded. Belgrave walked Garrett Wood, and was taken out right after for David Falco Jr. In the next at-bat, Jacob Gonzalez hit a two run single to give Ole Miss a 7-6 lead.
Maryland tried to strike back in the eighth inning, loading the bases again on walks and a hit, and Bobby Zmarzlak sent a ball far into right field that looked like it was going to be Maryland’s fifth grand slam of the year. But a mid-air adjustment by Ole Miss senior outfielder Kemp Alderman kept the score 7-6 Ole Miss.
The game fell apart in the bottom of the eighth for Maryland. David Falco Jr. stayed in the game, walking a batter and giving up a homerun to Anthony Calarco to extend Ole Miss’s lead to three. Swayze field’s crowd exploded, with showers from the right field bleachers greeting the homerun as it went out. After an error and walk Gavin Wood knocked in another run, and after another walk, Vaughn finally pulled Falco Jr. giving Ryan Van Buren a chance to stop the bleeding with the bases loaded. He surrendered a single to Ethan Groff that brought in two more runners, and blew the game open for Ole Miss, with a six run lead.
After a rough seventh and eigth inning for the Terps, they couldn’t get the job done, dropping game two to the Rebels 12-6, and evening the series at one.
Three things to know
- The Terps showcased elite plate discipline. One of the most impressive feats of the game was the Terps ability to draw walks. In the game they had eleven walks and four hit by pitches, including six walks in the fifth inning to score three runs. In the fifth, they had three straight walks after a full count, showing the Terps battle in the box to put runners on base.
- The Maryland bullpen struggled. Maryland had a 6-4 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, but freshman lefty Kyle McCoy loaded the bases with no outs, and Nigel Belgrave and David Falco Jr. surrendered three runs on a hit and a walk. Falco Jr. continued to struggle in the eighth, totaling three hits, three walks and five runs (two of those runs were earned). Van Buren was able to close the game, but not after giving up a two run single to give the Rebels a six run lead.
- Lots of batters were left on base for Maryland. Maryland standed 14 men on base throughout the game, including three times with the bases loaded. Matt Shaw struck out and lined out with the bases loaded to end two rallies by the Terps, and despite generating walks to get guys on base, they were 0-for-4 with the bases loaded, and 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position.