By Ben Harris
Maryland seems to have solved their lefty problem. Last week’s Rhode Island series saw the Terps completely shut down in Games 1 and 2 by left-handers Steve Moyers and Tyler Wilson.
In their 15 innings of work, Maryland couldn’t scratch across an earned run, managing just eight hits and striking out 16 times. Wednesday’s game against Delaware was a turning point, as the offense bounced Kevin Milley after four innings to the tune of eight hits and three earned runs.
Friday featured more of the new-look offense as the Terps right-handed bats exploded going 11-20 (.550) with six runs and six RBI, outhitting the entire Tennessee lineup 11 to nine. Four of eight Terps with hits on the afternoon recorded multi-hit games. All were right-handed.
Maryland posted seven runs on Tennessee’s lefty starter Andy Cox, chasing him from the game after 3.1 innings. In his first time hitting cleanup, freshman Marty Costes – one of five right-handed Terps in the lineup – roped the first pitch he saw down the left field line for a two-run double. Maryland took a 3-0 lead after batting around in the first inning.
Andrew Bechtold played superb defense at the hot corner, while posting team-highs with three hits (along with Kevin Smith) and four RBIs. His bases loaded fourth inning double put Maryland up 8-3, adding an RBI single in the sixth inning.
The rest of the right-handed contingent: Kevin Smith (3-5) two runs, Kevin Biondic (2-4) one run, Zach Jancarski (1-3) one run.
A trio of bullpen arms closed out Mike Shawaryn’s toughest start of the season. The junior struck out four in 4.1 innings, but allowed six runs (five earned) and four hits. He uncharacteristically walked two and hit a batter in his short outing. Tayler Stiles threw two perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, but allowed a run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning. He rung up the first two batters of the final frame but ran into trouble allowing consecutive hits which put the tying run on base.
Sophomore Ryan Selmer entered to get the final out, but a wild pitch resulted in Tennessee’s ninth run coming home, and Brodie Leftridge – the tying run – going first to third. Standing just off the bag he began taunting Bechtold. The third baseman applied a tag, forcing the runner to return to the bag. Leftridge, however, took exception to the tag and was thrown out after shoving Bechtold.
Selmer gathered himself against the Volunteers top hitter Nick Senzel, pumping a fastball by him to end the game.
Maryland, moving to 4-4 on the year, handed Tennessee just their second loss on the season. The Terps are a perfect 4-0 with the opportunity to secure an even .500 record.