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Maryland baseball shut down by Minnesota, 2-1, to drop weekend series

The Terps had four hits and cracked the scoreboard just once in the rubber match.

Maryland baseball Randy Bednar vs Illinois Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Maryland baseball lost arguably its most important game of the season Sunday, falling 2-1 at Minnesota to drop the weekend series.

Minnesota starting pitcher Joshua Culliver gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out four over 5.2 innings pitched. Ryan Duffy tossed 2.1 hitless innings out of the bullpen, and the Golden Gophers gave the ball to Brett Schulze looking to finish a shutout. The Terps rallied with a homer and had two men on, but Minnesota held on.

Maryland starting pitcher Tyler Blohm made his fourth start of the season. He gave up two runs on four hits, walked two and struck out four over 3.1 innings pitched. Trevor LaBonte entered with one out in the fourth and had one of his best outings of the season out of the bullpen. The freshman gave up one hit, struck out four and retired the last 13 batters in order that he faced.

Both teams’ offenses started off ice cold and neither were able to get anything going early on. The first six Maryland hitters were retired in order, and Josh Maguire’s leadoff walk in the third was nullified as he was caught attempting to steal third base. Minnesota showed its first signs of life offensively in the bottom of the third, as a pair of two-out singles put runners on first and third, but the Gophers couldn’t get on the board. Maryland couldn’t capitalize on Taylor Wright’s single in the fourth, the team’s first of the game.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jack Wassel hit a ground-rule double down the right field line and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Blohm walked Jordan Kozicky and was relieved by LaBonte. Easton Bertrand drove in Wassel for the first run with a sacrifice fly to right field. Kozicky then advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Drew Hmielewski singled through the right side to stretch the lead to 2-0.

In the top of the sixth, Maryland’s offense threatened again. Chris Alleyne doubled to lead off the inning and Ben Cowles followed with a hit-by-pitch. Alleyne tried to take third base on a wild pitch but was thrown out by catcher Eli Wilson, essentially running the Terps out of the inning. AJ Lee’s struggles continued as he struck out and Randy Bednar grounded out to end the inning.

The pitchers duel continued up until the ninth inning. In the top of the ninth, Bednar led off with his a solo home run over the right center-field wall, trimming the deficit to 2-1. Taylor Wright then drilled his 19th double of the season, tying the Big Ten lead. Maxwell Costes was hit by a pitch, but the next three batters were retired via two strikeouts and a groundout.

With the loss, the Terps drop the series and fall below eighth place in the Big Ten standings. Maryland will take on James Madison in its last midweek game of the season Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET.