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Maryland baseball blows late lead, falls to Purdue 4-3 in 11 innings

The Terps took a one-run advantage into the ninth, but came up short.

Maryland baseball entered the top of the ninth inning Saturday in great position, but Jacson McGowan took the Terps’ bullpen deep twice late in the game, giving Purdue the 4-3 victory in College Park.

Normally Maryland’s most trustworthy relievers, both John Murphy and Kevin Biondic fell victim to McGowan’s heroics, surrendering a homer each. For McGowan, the two home runs marked his 10th and 11th of the year.

The bullpen’s rough afternoon spoiled Hunter Parsons’ great outing. In his first Saturday start of the year, Parsons proved once again that he is Maryland’s best starter this year. Already leading the rotation in ERA, Parsons threw eight innings, allowing just two runs on five hits with a walk and three strikeouts on 113 pitches. With Taylor Bloom both struggling and injured, and Tyler Blohm injured himself, Parsons continued to step up and lead the pitching staff.

Maryland got off to a quick start to take the lead in the first. After AJ Lee reached on a throwing error by the shortstop and Kevin Biondic singled, Will Watson singled himself to score Lee. Then, Zach Jancarski doubled down the line to left field, scoring Biondic for a 2-0 lead. However, Maryland couldn’t do further damage, stranding runners on second and third with one out.

Purdue got a run back in the third when Harry Shipley took Parsons to deep right field for his first home run of the year, making the score 2-1.

Two innings later, the Boilermakers tied the game. Parsons allowed two singles, putting men on the corners with one out, and he forced a ground ball, but Lee overthrew Biondic at first allowing Purdue to score the tying run.

In the bottom of the inning, Maryland chased Purdue’s starter. After Lee singled, Gareth Stroh threw two balls to Nick Dunn and was pulled from the game. Stroh wasn’t great, but Maryland couldn’t tag him for more offense after its strong first inning. In four innings of work, he allowed two runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

In the seventh inning, Maryland re-took the lead. Tommy Gardiner lead the inning off with a walk, with Justin Vought sacrificing him over to second. With two outs, Dunn hit a slow roller to second but beat the throw to first to reach. As that all unfolded, Gardiner, understanding that there were two outs and Purdue would focus solely on the out at first, rounded third and scored to give Maryland a 3-2 lead.

After Parsons’ strong eight innings of work, Murphy entered to finish the job. However, McGowan, Purdue’s best power hitter, tied the game with a no-doubter to left field. Then, after getting an out, Murphy allowed a double, ending his day. The righty picked a bad day to be off, wasting Parsons’ strong start.

With the man on second and one out, Biondic relieved Murphy and successfully cleaned up the inning, keeping the game tied. After Maryland’s offense went quietly in the bottom of the ninth, Biondic came back out for the tenth, setting the Boilermakers down in order.

Maryland had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 10th, getting a man on first and second with one out. However, Randy Bednar popped out and Tommy Gardiner struck out, ending the threat. After Biondic allowed McGowan’s second home run in the 11th, Purdue closer Ross Learnard set Maryland down easily to earn the save.

Maryland looks for to avoid the sweep Sunday afternoon, with first pitch set for 1 p.m. ET.