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Maryland baseball drops 10-inning roller coaster of season opener to Campbell, 10-6

The Fighting Camels mounted a comeback to beat the Terps in their season opener.

Maryland baseball Randy Bednar vs Illinois

Maryland baseball dropped a back-and-forth season opener on Friday, blowing an early 4-0 lead and ultimately falling to Campbell 10-6 in 10 innings in Conway, South Carolina.

The Terps appeared in control for the first half of the game, with five hits and four runs scored, but Campbell kept chipping away and took a 6-5 lead with a three-run seventh. Maryland rallied in the ninth to tie the game on a wild pitch, only for the Fighting Camels to pull ahead for good in the 10th.

Hunter Parsons took the mound for Maryland as this season’s Friday starter, and the senior had a solid first outing on the mound despite some trouble in the fourth inning, throwing five innings of two-run ball, striking out two and giving up four hits. But the bullpen couldn’t secure the win, as Sean Heine and Sean Fisher combined to allow four runs in two innings. Elliot Zoellner pitched well in the eighth and ninth, but gave up the go-ahead hit in the 10th. Combined, Maryland gave up nine free passes on four walks and five hit batters.

Maryland’s offense struck early and often, getting to Campbell starter Michael Horrell. In the first, the Terps loaded the bases and Randy Bednar scored on a Justin Vought fielder’s choice. JuCo transfer Caleb Walls joined the party, going 2-for-2 in his first Maryland at-bats, including a solo home run in the second to put Maryland up 2-0. The Terps doubled the lead in the third as Vought hit a two-run home run, putting Maryland up 4-0.

Campbell cut back into Maryland’s lead in the fourth, as Spencer Packard hit a solo home run after Parsons recorded two quick outs in the inning. He then walked the bases loaded before striking out Grant Harris to end the threat. Campbell No. 9 hitter Collin Wolf led off the fifth inning with a solo shot to left-center field, but Maryland would re-extend its lead back to three in the bottom half as Wright singled home Randy Bednar after he led off the inning with a double. Wright was tagged out at second trying to stretch his hit to a double.

The Fighting Camels further trimmed the lead in the sixth, but clutch pitching got Maryland out of a big jam. Heine, a true freshman, got his first action on the mound for Maryland, but got into trouble, loading the bases and hitting Matthew Barefoot to make the score 5-3. Fisher came in relief for Heine and stranded the bases loaded with a fielder’s choice.

However, the same didn’t happen in the seventh, as the Fighting Camels put up a three-spot thanks to the long ball, their third of the day. Tyler Anshaw drove in a run on an RBI groundout with two Campbell runners in scoring position. Matthew Christian then came up to clear the bases with a go-ahead two-run home run to give Campbell a 6-5 lead.

Zoellner kept the game close for Maryland, coming in relief to pitch two scoreless innings, but some costly base running mistakes in the seventh and eighth innings gave the Fighting Camels three outs and the Terps finite opportunities to even the score.

However, Maryland benefitted from some wild pitching from Campbell closer Tyson Messer in the ninth as the Terps were able to tie the score down to their last strike. Messer walked two batters, then threw a wild pitch to put the tying run at third and winning run at second with Taylor Wright up. He struck out, bringing up Vought, who didn’t need to take the bat off his shoulder as Messer threw his second wild pitch of the inning, allowing Bednar to score to tie the game at 6-6 before Vought struck out to end the inning.

In the 10th, Zoellner fell apart, allowing a pop-up double and a walk before Collin Wolf drove both home with a go-ahead two-run double into left-center field to put Campbell ahead 8-6. He departed as Tuck Tucket came in, allowing another two runs. AJ Hrica increased Campbell’s lead to 9-6 with an RBI sacrifice fly, and Luis Gimenez reached on a wild throw to first, allowing Barefoot to score. Maryland went down quietly in the bottom of the 10th.

The Terps are back on the diamond Saturday at 3 p.m. ET against No. 21 Coastal Carolina, the hosts of this weekend’s tournament. Right-hander Zach Thompson will make his Maryland debut against Chanticleers lefty Anthony Veneziano.