Maryland baseball split its series-opening doubleheader with Ohio State on Saturday in College Park. The Terps (19-20, 6-5 Big Ten) won the first game, but dropped the nightcap in extra innings, setting up an Easter Sunday rubber match.
Game 1: Terps’ bats explode for 14-8 victory
This game was expected to be a pitchers’ duel between Maryland senior Hunter Parsons and Ohio State freshman Garrett Burhenn, but was anything but that. The Terps banged out a season-high 20 hits. Randy Bednar had four hits, knocked in three runs and was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. AJ Lee and Taylor Wright also had four hits, and Maxwell Costes hit his seventh home run of the year.
It was the second straight game that Parsons yielded seven runs, but the Terrapin bats more than made up for it to provide him with his seventh win of the season.
Shortstop Zach Dezenzo starred for the Buckeyes, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs.
The Terps took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Lee jumped on the first pitch he saw and lined it into left field. He went to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Taylor Wright, who subsequently stole second. Two wild pitches allowed Lee and Wright to score.
The Buckeyes got one back in the top of the second on a solo home run by Dezenzo. But Maryland answered in the bottom of the inning, with Bednar doubling home Michael Pineiro to give the Terps a 3-1 lead.
Ohio State put up a crooked number in the third inning, scoring five runs off Parsons. The first four batters singled, scoring two runs. One out later, Dillon Dingler doubled to bring home two more runs, and Dezenzo singled to make it 6-3 Buckeyes.
But Maryland battled back, scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game. Caleb Walls singled, as did Lee for the third time in four innings. Bednar smashed a triple to plate two Terrapins, and came home on a bunt single by Wright.
In the next inning, Josh Maguire hit a shot off the wall in center for a double. Justin Vought lined the first pitch he saw to center, scoring Maguire. Walls followed with a single, and Tommy Gardiner advanced both runners with a sac bunt. Pineiro laid down a bunt that gave the Terrapins an 8-6 lead.
Dezenzo went yard again in the sixth inning to bring the Buckeyes within a run. But in the bottom of the inning, Maryland put runners on the corners with no outs to chase Burhenn from the game. Right-hander Will Pfenning came in to pitch for Ohio State, and he hit Costes to load the sacks. Maguire singled in Bednar, but Pfenning struck out the next three batters to limit the Terps to one run.
Maryland broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh with its own five-run inning. Pineiro tripled and came home on another single by Lee, his fourth. Bednar singled for his fourth hit of the game, and Wright looped an opposite-field double. Costes then unloaded a three-run home run to center that put Maryland in front 14-7.
Sean Fisher pitched three innings for his first save of the year, allowing a meaningless ninth-inning run.
Game 2: Buckeyes rally for 10-9 win in extra innings
Maryland let an 8-4 lead evaporate in the eighth inning, as well as a 9-8 lead in the ninth, as Ohio State won 10-9 in 11 innings to split the doubleheader. Brent Todys cracked two home runs for the Buckeyes, the last one a backbreaker in extra innings.
The Terrapins banged out 16 hits, but also struck out 21 times. Pineiro had four hits, Wright drove in three, and Costes had his second home run of the doubleheader.
Ohio State touched Maryland starter Zach Thompson for two solo home runs in the top of the first, one by Dominic Canzone and another by Brady Cherry. In the bottom of the inning, the Terps loaded the bases on three walks, but the next three hitters struck out.
The second inning would prove much better for the Terps. Tommy Gardiner and Pineiro singled with one out. Unfortunately, Pineiro got picked off at first, as Lee then delivered an RBI double. Bednar walked, and Wright split the gap for a two-run double, putting the Terps in front 3-2. Costes then hit a no-doubter to give the Terps a 5-2 lead.
The Terps grabbed two more runs in the next inning. Vought doubled off the wall in center and Walls got on via a bunt single. Gardiner popped up a bunt attempt that no Buckeye could seem to field, and the bases were loaded. Lee hit a soft single to center that scored Vought. A wild pitch brought home Walls, and Maryland led 7-2.
The two teams traded runs. Ohio State scored a run in the top of the fourth via a hit batsman and an RBI double by Dezenzo. Maryland put the lead back at five runs after Walls crushed a pitch for a solo home run in the fifth inning, his fourth of the year.
Ohio State scored another run courtesy of Dezenzo in the sixth. A walk and a lazy single to center field put two men aboard, and Dezenzo singled through the middle to cut the Terps’ lead to 8-4.
Thompson went seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, one hit batsman, one walk, and striking out six Buckeyes. The Terrapin bullpen fell apart in the eighth, as Ohio State scored four runs to tie the game. Elliot Zoellner took over for Thompson in the eighth inning, his first game back after suffering a hand injury over two weeks ago. After recording the first out, Zoellner walked a batter and gave up a two-run homer to Brent Todys. When Dezenzo walked, Andrew Vail came in to pitch for the Terps. Dezenzo scored on a sac fly, cutting the Terps’ lead to one run. Then Canzone doubled and suddenly the game was tied. John Murphy relieved Vail and got the final out.
The Terps pushed across a run in the bottom of the eighth. Pineiro hit an opposite-field single, his third hit of the game. Lee followed with a single. After Bednar fanned, a wild pitch to Wright moved both runners up. Wright hit a soft chopper that turned out to be a swinging bunt, scoring Pineiro. Costes and Maguire struck out, leaving the score at 9-8.
The Buckeyes tied it up in the top of the ninth. With one out, Connor Pohl laid down a bunt that Wright fielded but threw wildly to first. A flyout to Pineiro sent Pohl to third, and Todys tied the game with a single just past Lee’s reach. Maryland failed to score in its half of the ninth and the game went into extra innings.
With two outs in the top of the 11th inning, Todys hit an 0-2 pitch over the let field wall to give Ohio State a 10-9 lead. Maryland didn’t score in the bottom of the inning and dropped the game. Murphy took the loss to fall to 0-1 on the season.
The rubber game of the series will be played on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET