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Maryland baseball’s bullpen carousel struggles in 14-3 loss to VCU

The Rams scored in each of the game’s first five innings.

Maryland baseball Illinois Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Maryland baseball returned home on Tuesday after a tough weekend series at Michigan, looking to bounce back against VCU. Instead, the Terps dropped their third straight contest by a 14-3 final.

Alec Tuohy made his first start for the Terps on Tuesday, his first start since April 1, 2017 with Buffalo. He lasted just two innings, just the start of Maryland’s pitching struggles on what became a “bullpen day.” Maryland went through six pitchers on Tuesday; five of the six gave up at least one earned run and all six walked at least one batter. In total, the Terps walked 11 batters in the game.

The Rams scored in each of the first five innings, scoring early and often. The Terps had no response on either side of the ball.

VCU took the early lead in the top of the first inning. Hogan Brown singled with one out, advancing to third on a ground ball that skipped off A.J. Lee’s glove into center field. Brown scored on a Mitchel Lacey inside-out RBI single into short right field, giving the Rams an early 1-0 lead.

The Rams weren’t done in the second. Brett Willett led off with a walk, reaching second safely on a Zac Ching a ground ball up the middle that Lee caught on the dive, but couldn't get the ball out of his glove. A well-placed bunt advanced both runners into scoring position. Haiden Lamb and Brown followed with RBI singles. Daane Berezo extended the lead to 4-0 with an RBI groundout.

Maryland put runs on the board in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Zach Jancarski doubled into right-center field. Bednar came up next and hit a two-run home run off Sam Ryan to left-center field, cutting the VCU lead to 4-2.

Maryland’s two-run deficit was short-lived, as the Rams answered in the third. Sean Fisher entered for the Terps, loading the bases within the first four batters he faced, walking two and hitting one. After getting a big strikeout for the second out, Lamb drove in two with a RBI single to center field, giving VCU a 6-2 lead.

The Terps cut the lead in half again in the bottom half off a solo home run from Marty Costes over the center field batter’s eye. His third home run of the season made it 6-3.

But once again, when Maryland scored, VCU answered back. Mitchel Lacey walked with two outs and Steven Carpenter drove him home with a long RBI double about two-thirds up the batter’s eye in center field, re-extending the VCU lead to 7-3.

VCU added onto its lead again in the fifth. Maryland fell victim to the free pass as Mike Vasturia walked two men in the inning, including the lead-off batter Ching. Hogan Brown followed, singling home both runners with the infield in, putting the Rams up 9-3.

The Rams scored three more in the eighth. Billy Phillips, who entered the game in the fifth, gave up two singles to start the inning. He departed and fellow lefty Grant Burleson entered. Burleson walked Zac Ching to load the bases. Josh Simon, who pinch hit for catcher Vay Hunter, cleared the bases with a double into left-center field.

VCU wasn’t done in the ninth, scoring another two runs. The first three Rams batters in the inning walked to load the bases for Paul Witt, who recorded an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Pinch hitter Matt Stallings followed with an RBI fielder’s choice, as the Rams went up by double digits, 14-3.

The Terps (16-20, 3-5 Big Ten), despite looking to threaten early on, were stifled by the VCU (24-13, 8-4 Atlantic 10) pitching staff, and didn’t score in the last six innings of the game.

Maryland will continue its home stand this weekend as Purdue comes to College Park. The series begins on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET, streaming live on BTN Plus and broadcasted on the Maryland Baseball Network.