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Maryland baseball falls to Michigan, 6-3, in weather-shortened series finale

Instead of a doubleheader, the Terps played just eight innings, and they couldn’t make the most of them.

Maryland baseball Kevin Biondic vs Illinois Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Michigan extended its 17-game winning streak over Maryland baseball on Sunday after a long weather delay, defeating the Terps, 6-3, and sweeping the shortened weekend series in Ann Arbor.

After dropping their first game of their weekend series against Michigan, the Terps looked to get back on the winning path on Saturday, but the scheduled game was postponed to Sunday, where a planned double-header was to take place. Mother Nature had her own ideas, delaying Game 1 of the double-header for over four hours due to rain and cold temperatures, causing only one game to be played on Sunday.

Maryland fell victim to the big inning, giving up four runs in the second to the Wolverines. The Terps also gave up eight free bases via seven walks and one hit-by-pitch.

The unusual game atmosphere with the weather delay didn’t help out Maryland pitching, but it did benefit Michigan. Wolverine starter Ben Dragani dazzled on the mound, striking out six over six innings, surrendering two earned runs and only one walk.

Tyler Blohm, the scheduled Saturday starter, eventually started Sunday’s game for the Terps, but lasted just an inning, experiencing shoulder problems after the first. He had warmed up throughout the long weather delay, and head coach Rob Vaughn equated the early exit to just that, along with the unusual cold weather.

John Murphy replaced Blohm in the second inning, but before then, Maryland took the early 1-0 lead in the top of the second on a solo home run from Taylor Wright.

However, in the bottom half of the second, the floodgates opened for the Michigan offense, and the Wolverines took advantage of Murphy missing his spots. He allowed a single to Miles Lewis to lead off the inning. Then, he walked the next three batters in a row, allowing a run to score. Christian Bullock followed with an RBI groundout, putting Michigan in front 2-1. Johnathan Engelmann doubled the lead with a two-RBI double down the right field line, putting Maryland in a 4-1 hole.

The usual Sunday starter for Maryland, Hunter Parsons, took over for Murphy in the third, and pitched well in relief while not having his best stuff on the mound. Parsons threw five innings of two-run baseball, striking out seven but walking three.

Neither team scored again until the fifth inning, when Michigan tacked on another run. Blake Nelson started off the inning with a double, and Jesse Franklin doubled him home, extending the Wolverines’ lead to 5-1, but Parsons limited the damage to just one run in the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Maryland brought the lead back to three as Kevin Biondic took Dragani deep for a solo home run, but that was the only scoring in the inning for the Terps.

Michigan added back onto the lead with a solo home run of their own in the seventh, as Franklin drove home his second run of the day, himself, extending the Michigan lead to 6-2.

Due to previous travel plans, the travel curfew for Maryland was set at 7:45 p.m. ET, which didn’t seem like a problem coming into the day, but became a problem once Sunday’s game started.

The game would last only eight innings, as Maryland threatened to tie the game in the top-half of the inning. The Terps loaded the bases with one out as Biondic, who had already homered in the game, stepped up to the plate, looking to extend Maryland’s inning or tie the game with one swing. He ended up hitting a fly ball into short center field that second baseman Ako Thomas made an amazing diving catch on to prevent any runs from scoring. However, when Michigan (21-11, 8-0 Big Ten) brought in closer William Tribucher, he balked, allowing AJ Lee at third to score, closing the deficit to three. But Wright grounded out to Tribucher, ending the game for the Terps (16-19, 3-5 Big Ten).

The Terps return home for a six-game home stand, beginning with VCU on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.