by John Vittas
For the second time in four days, Maryland mounted a comeback but stranded the tying run in scoring position in the ninth, losing to Liberty 7-6 Tuesday at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium in College Park, MD. The Terps were down 7-4 entering the final inning and got the first three men aboard before Liberty got back-to-back strong defensive plays from right fielder Will Shepherd and second baseman Nick Salisbury.
Flames closer Ashton Perritt held on for the save by striking out Jose Cuas to end the game.
Junior lefty Matt Pennington pitched well for Liberty, going six and two-third innings to get the win. Pennington was able to slow down a Maryland offense that put up 39 runs in three games over the weekend at Ohio State.
“I think we were trying to pull him too much,” Maryland shortstop Kevin Smith said. “We have to back him up and hit him more to right field and we didn’t get to do that until later in the game.”
The Terps finally got to Pennington in the seventh, when they scored on an RBI double from Smith and an RBI triple from Brandon Lowe.
But despite the two-ran rallies in the seventh and ninth innings, the Terps were disappointed in their two run output over the first six innings.
“It’s good that we have the ability to come back, but to rely on that all the time is going to be tough, especially in the postseason,” said Smith.
“Our bats at the beginning of the game weren’t as good as they should’ve been,” junior LaMonte Wade added. “We have to start of the game with urgency.”
Freshman righty Taylor Bloom (1-2) took the loss after giving up three runs in three innings as the starter. The usually stingy Maryland bullpen gave up four runs as well.
Following Tuesday’s final home game, the Terps will hit the road for at least the next ten days. They’ll open up a three-game series with Northwestern on Thursday before heading to Minneapolis for the Big Ten Tournament, which gets underway next Wednesday.