By Ben Harris
The Terrapins fell to George Washington Wednesday, allowing a season-high 20 hits and 19 runs.
Maryland posted 18 hits of their own in the 19-10 loss – their highest tally on the year – but the pitching staff’s recent woes proved too much for the offense to overcome.
For the second straight day, coach John Szefc dipped into the bullpen early pulling John Murphy after 1.1 innings pitched. The seven-man contingent of Terrapin arms Szefc stitched together in today’s season-worst performance couldn’t quiet the top of the Colonials’ order. George Washington’s 1-4 batters hit a gaudy 14-25 (.560) with eight runs and four extra base hits; they drove in 16 of George Washington’s 19 runs.
In the three-hole, Mark Osis raised his season average to .455 with a 3-6 afternoon to the tune of five runs batted in. Hitting cleanup, Kevin Mahala chipped in with four hits (three doubles) and six more RBIs.
Both teams hit comfortably over .400 on the afternoon and neared the .500 mark with runners in scoring position. Every Maryland starter recorded a hit and all but three had multi-hit afternoons.
A day after Delaware hit five homers en route to a 10-run outbreak, Maryland allowed 19 without surrendering a single four-bagger.
Nick Dunn continued his torrid hitting with a 3-4 game in which he finished a triple shy of the cycle. The success continued atop Maryland’s order. Madison Nickens left the yard twice, raising his team-high home run total to five. Dunn joined in with a homer of his own following Nickens’ fourth inning blast.
“I’m seeing the ball well and sticking to my approach, thinking up the middle, line drives up the middle and the other way,” Dunn said.
It took Kevin Smith a mere two pitches to extend his hitting streak to 10 games with a leadoff double – he’s now hitting .340 during his streak – on which he would eventually come around to score on a Nick Dunn double.
First inning runs have become the Terps forte as of late. The season’s first six games didn’t yield a single run scored in the opening frame, but in the last six, the Terps have flipped the script notching eight first-inning runs. Dunn believes the first inning sparks of late have helped ignite this new-look Terrapin offense.
“Once one guy starts, it kind of rolls after that. Guys start rattling off good at bats,” he said.
Following suit with their first inning production, the offense as a whole has responded to their sluggish start. The Maryland offense had scored just one run in four of their first five games, averaging 2.6 per game. Since their 13-run explosion two Sundays ago against Rhode Island, the Terps are averaging 8.4 runs per contest.
After 14 innings of work from the bullpen in the past two days, Maryland has Thursday to rest before a three game home series against Bryant University beginning Friday.
“Those were two games of survival,” Szefc said of his club’s midweek losses and the repercussions of the bullpen’s increased workload on the upcoming series.
“Those are two of the worst games I’ve seen in four years so you’re just trying to fill up nine innings,” he said. “It’s not even about the weekend now it’s just about trying to get through games and get 27 outs.”
Notes: Freshman Dan Maynard made his first collegiate start at catcher and contributed at the dish with an RBI double in the sixth. Nick Dunn is 14-24 in the last seven games with a .667 on-base percentage.