Maryland baseball struggled mightily with the bat Friday, dropping its series opener to Nebraska (18-10-1) by a 3-1 final.
Huskers ace Jake Hohensee had a night to remember, finishing with a career-high eight innings pitched and eight strikeouts. The senior right-hander only gave up three hits to a Terps offense that scored 12 runs just a few days ago.
Brian Shaffer also gave Maryland a quality performance, going eight innings himself; the junior has pitched seven or more frames in five straight starts. Shaffer did run into some trouble in the middle portion of the ballgame, but the Terps probably would have expected to win with the performance their ace gave on Friday.
The loss fell squarely on the offense, who didn’t record a hit between the first and the ninth inning.
Early on, it seemed like the Terps had a good read on Hohensee. Multiple Maryland hitters got good pieces of the ball, but just couldn’t find any room on the field for them to land.
On the other hand, Shaffer looked as dominant as he’s been all season during the first two frames, with both teams only mustering a single hit in their first two chances.
It took until the third inning for a run to be scored, and it was Nebraska that struck first. Shaffer had a poor start to the inning as he hit the leadoff hitter in squarely in the head and then allowed a single on a pitch over the heart of the plate. After some Nebraska small ball, the Cornhuskers took the 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly to deep left field.
The home team would do damage in the bottom of the fourth as well. After two straight singles with one out in the inning, Shaffer allowed Nebraska catcher Jesee Wilkening to lace one into right, and thanks to a slight misplay by Marty Costes, two runs would come in to score to extend Nebraska’s lead to three.
Hohensee didn’t give Maryland many chances to cut into that lead. He made it tough on John Szefc’s lineup all night, using a sharp breaking ball to keep the Maryland hitters off balance and chasing pitches out of the zone. The solid contact from earlier in the game disappeared, as the senior gained confidence every time he came out to the mound, frequently pumping his fists after every inning-ending strikeout.
Maryland’s best chance came when Hohensee ran out of gas and Nebraska needed to turn the game over to the bullpen in the ninth inning. Zach Jancarski would lead the top of the ninth off with a bloop single, which was followed by a Marty Costes double two batters later. This chased Hohensee out of the ballgame.
Unfortunately, this did not lead to another massive comeback like the one on Tuesday night against Richmond. The Terps did get on the board with one run in the ninth, but Nebraska reliver Luis Alvarado shut the door on the Terps’ chances to pull the contest even.
With the loss, Maryland’s four-game win streak comes to an end and the Terps’ record falls to 19-9. The Terps do have a chance to bounce back Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET when Taylor Bloom takes the mound for game two of the series.