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Late offense pushes Creighton past Maryland baseball, 5-3

The Terps came back from an early deficit, but the Bluejays made the late move.

Maryland baseball Zach Thompson vs. East Carolina Maryland Baseball (@TerpsBaseball)

Maryland baseball was locked in a chess match with Creighton on Saturday, but the Bluejays made a late move to secure a 5-3 victory in the second game of the weekend series.

Terps starting pitcher Zach Thompson had another solid performance on the mound, giving up three runs on four hits in five innings with five strikeouts. Creighton’s Denson Hull only threw 4.1 innings, but he allowed no runs on three hits and fanned two batters.

Parker Upton and Jake Holton led the way for Creighton on offense. Upton went 1-for-5 at the plate with an RBI double and a run scored, while Holton went 3-for-4 with an RBI single and was also hit by a pitch. Justin Vought was the leader for the Terps, as he bombed a game-tying three-run home run over the left-center field wall in the bottom of the sixth inning. This snapped Maryland’s nine-inning scoreless streak.

Creighton scored first for the second straight game. In the top of the third inning, Isaac Collins started the rally with a four-pitch walk. Collins stole second base and Upton drove him in with a double down the right-field line, giving the Bluejays a 1-0 lead. Will Robertson grounded out which allowed Upton to advance to third base and he later scored as Holton singled to right field driving in the run to take a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the fifth, Robertson worked a one-out walk and Holton singled to right field, moving Robertson to third. Jack Strunc executed a safety squeeze perfectly, laying down a bunt that drove in Robertson and moved Holton to second, making the lead 3-0.

The Terps flashed their first signs of offense in the bottom of the fifth, as Caleb Walls worked a one-out walk and AJ Lee followed up with a double off the top of the wall, good for his second double of the day. But after Creighton intentionally walked Taylor Wright to load the bases for Max Costes with two outs, the freshman was unable to get the job done, as he grounded out to first base leaving the bases loaded.

Vought came through in the clutch in the bottom of the sixth. Ben Dotzler came in to relieve for Creighton and walked Michael Pineiro and hit Ben Cowles in the arm with a pitch. Jonah Smith then came in for Dotzler, and on the first pitch he threw, Vought smashed a game-tying home run. Lee singled and stole second later in the inning for his third hit of the day but the Terps stranded the lead runner in scoring position.

The Bluejays regained the lead in the top of the eighth. Mark DiLuia came in for Maryland and walked Strunc and Jason Allbery, forcing head coach Rob Vaughn to make a pitching change and bring in Daniel O’Connor. Evan Spry pinch-hit for David Vilches and singled up the middle for his first hit of the season, driving in Strunc taking a 4-3 lead. Hanafan then executed a suicide squeeze, laying down the bunt as Vought lost the ball trying to tag Allbery, who scored to give the Bluejays a 5-3 lead.

Maryland rallied in the bottom of the ninth, but came up short. Lee was hit by a pitch with one out, and Wright and Costes singled to load the bases with two down. But Creighton’s Jonah Smith struck out Tommy Gardiner looking to end the game, as the Terps dropped their third series of the year and fifth straight weekend contest.

The Terps look to avoid the sweep in the final game of the series on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET.