Maryland baseball started the final week of the regular season on a positive note, defeating James Madison in comeback fashion, 6-5, on the road Tuesday evening.
The Terps trailed 4-2 through six innings, but scored three runs in the top of the seventh and held onto the lead from there. With the win, Maryland (25-27, 9-12 Big Ten) eclipsed last year’s win total of 24. The Terps lost to the Dukes (30-21, 10-11 CAA) in a 14-1 blowout on April 16, so this was a redemption game as well.
On the mound, it was another bullpen day, as has become the norm for Maryland during midweeks. Drew Wilden was first on the mound for the Terps, giving up two unearned runs in two innings. Elliot Zoellner and Mark DiLuia both followed with scoreless outings, and Sean Fisher allowed two earned runs in an inning. Maryland ended up using seven pitchers on the day. Sean Heine might have been the biggest x-factor as he induced a crucial double play in the seventh inning to get out of a first-and-second jam with one out.
Both James Madison runs came around thanks to passed balls in the first and second innings as the Dukes took an early 2-0 lead. That score held into the sixth inning, when Maryland, which had just four hits to that point, loaded the bases with no outs. Maxwell Costes grounded into a double play, but Michael Pineiro tied the game with a two-run double to right field, making it 2-2.
JMU retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth off RBI singles from Brady Harju and Matt Dipasupil to go up 4-2. But things turned around in the seventh, as the Terps took a 5-4 lead with a three-spot in the inning. AJ Lee began the run-scoring party with an RBI single, and Randy Bednar dealt the biggest blow to the Dukes with a go-ahead two-run home run to left-center, becoming the second Terp to hit double-digit home runs this season.
The Terps added an insurance run in the ninth as Lee drove in his second run of the day, himself, with a solo home run as they took a 6-4 lead.
John Murphy came in to shut the door in the ninth, but the Dukes made it dramatic, as three straight runners reached base after the Terps’ closer recorded the first two outs of the inning, including an RBI single by Trevon Dabney to cut the score to 6-5. However, Murphy forced a groundout to end the game and record his 10th save of the season, now the fourth-highest mark in team history.
The Terps will return home for their final conference series of the season, a crucial weekend set with Iowa that will determine their Big Ten Tournament fate.