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Maryland baseball splits doubleheader, wins series at Penn State

The Terps clinched a series win in the first game, but lost a slugfest in the nightcap.

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Maryland baseball split a doubleheader with Penn State Saturday, winning the opener 6-4 before falling in the nightcap 10-7. With the split, Maryland won the series, the third straight road series victory for the Terps. Maryland now holds a 22-22 overall record and sits at 8-7 in the Big Ten.

Game 1 — Maryland 6, Penn State 4

Zach Thompson threw three-hit ball over seven innings, and the Terps pounded out 10 hits, seven for extra bases. Justin Vought and Taylor Wright went yard, and Randy Bednar and Maxwell Costes each smacked two doubles.

The Terps picked up an unearned run in the second inning. Costes led off by scorching a double down the left-field line. Caleb Walls laid down a bunt, which pitcher Eric Mock slipped trying to field, and his throw went wide of the first baseman. As a result, Walls reached and Costes came around to score.

Penn State got the run back in the third inning, when light-hitting Shea Sbranti hit a towering fly ball just inside the right field foul pole for a solo homer.

The Terps scored twice after two were down in the fifth inning. Chis Alleyne lined a double to right, AJ Lee was hit by a pitch, and Bednar hit a double off the wall in right center, making it 3-1 Terps.

After pitching so well through the first six innings, Thompson got himself into trouble in the seventh by hitting the first two batters. A sac bunt put both runners in scoring position. Max Hippenhammer then hit an RBI groundout, bringing Penn State to within a run at 3-2.

Maryland grabbed two runs in its half of the eighth. Costes led off with a double off the wall in left, just beyond the reach of the diving Gavin Homer. After crashing into the wall, Homer had to leave the game. One batter later, Vought hit a two-run homer, his seventh of the year, to give the Terps a 5-2 lead.

But the Nittany Lions refused to fold. Thompson walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the eighth and was relieved by Mark DiLuia. After a pitch, Vought tried to pick off the runner at first, but his throw sailed into right field, allowing the runner to get all the way to third. A sac fly brought a run home, and a homer by Justin Williams made it a one-run game once again.

Maryland grabbed an insurance run in the top of the ninth. With two down, Wright blasted a home run into the grandstand seats beyond the wall in right.

“The Sherriff,” John Murphy came on in the ninth to try for his second save in 24 hours. He walked the leadoff batter to bring the tying run to the plate, but set down the next three hitters to claim his ninth save of the year.

Thompson got the victory to move to 2-4 on the year.

Game 2 — Penn State 10, Maryland 7

Penn State’s bats came alive in this game, garnering 13 hits and scoring 10 runs. After getting down by five runs early, the Terps made multiple attempts to come back but couldn’t pull off the sweep.

Maryland scored in the top of the first on singles by Lee, Bednar, and Walls. But Penn State answered right back with a run of its own via a double by Kris Kremer.

The Nittany Lions drove Trevor LaBonte from the game in the third inning, putting up a crooked number on him and reliever Drew Wilden. A walk and a single put two runners on. Ryan Ford singled home a run, and another walk loaded the bases. Wilden came on to pitch for Maryland. After a pop-up, Ryan Sloninger hit a hard grounder off Costes’ glove and into right field for a two-run single. Hipplehaymer singled and the Nittany Lions led 5-1. A bloop single drove in the fifth run of the inning, making the score 6-1.

Maryland got three of the runs back in its next at-bat, thanks to some Penn State miscues. Vought led off and was plunked on the thigh. Pineiro lined a single to center. Cowles bunted, and was safe when the first baseman dropped the throw. Alleyne was hit by a pitch to force in a run. AJ Lee grounded into a possible double play, but the throw to first was wild and two Terps scored, cutting the deficit to 6-4.

A single and two walks loaded the bases with no outs for the second straight inning for Penn State. That finished Wilden, and DiLuia came in to pitch. A run scored on a 6-4-3 double play, but DiLuia was able to stop the bleeding at a single run.

Maryland scored twice in the top of the fifth to make it a one-run game. Costes and Walls got aboard thanks to errors by Penn State. Vought advanced the runners, and Pineiro singled through the middle to bring home two Terps.

The Nittany Lions answered back in the bottom of the inning. A single and a walk put two men aboard. When DiLuia went to 2-0 on the next batter, he was taken out in favor of Sean Fisher. The southpaw ended up striking out the batter, but then surrendered a two-run double to put Penn State back up by three, 9-6.

The Terps scored a run in the sixth on an RBI single from Wright to make it 9-7. But Penn State went back on top by three in the seventh on a triple by Hippenhammer and a sac fly.

Maryland brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning after a Vought single and a two-out walk to pinch hitter Josh Maguire. Lee was hit to load the bases. However, Bednar lined out to short and the Terps lost 10-7.

Maryland’s next game is Wednesday at Villanova.