By Chris Rogers
Despite a strong start from Mike Shawaryn, the Terps fell to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 6-4, Sunday in Minnesota. Maryland (19-17, 5-4) led for most of the game, but surrendered three runs apiece in the seventh and eighth innings as the Gophers (21-11, 6-2) took the rubber game of the weekend series.
The Terps’ bats came alive early, as Nick Dunn and Nick Cieri both singled in the top of the first. Kevin Biondic followed with a single, but Dunn was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Jordan Smith to end the frame and keep the game scoreless. They cracked the scoreboard in the second, however, when Marty Costes walked to open the frame and scored on Anthony Papio’s triple to deep right center. Andrew Bechtold followed with a groundout to shortstop, scoring Papio and giving Maryland a 2-0 advantage. The Terps doubled their lead in the third on a two-run homer to left by Kevin Biondic, his fifth of the season.
Meanwhile, Shawaryn, who has struggled of late, looked sharp from the moment he took the mound. He went 6.2 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs (two earned), to lower his season ERA to 4.15. While normally a strikeout machine, he pitched to contact Sunday, striking out just four while keeping hitters off balance and getting them to hit weak pop-ups or ground balls.
He surrendered just four hits through six innings, but things unraveled in the seventh, as he loaded the bases with no outs. Shawaryn managed to strike out the next hitter, Alex Boxwell, on a pitch in the dirt, but the ball got away from Cieri and rolled up the third base line, allowing one run to score. Shawaryn tossed the ball home, but it went wide for a throwing error that allowed the second run to cross the plate, cutting the lead to 4-2. Two batters later, he gave up an RBI double to Dan Motl, which made it a one run game and spelled the end of the afternoon for Shawaryn. Rob Galligan came on and got the final out of the seventh to preserve the lead.
Hunter Parsons took over on the mound in the eighth, picking up a strikeout before hitting a batter, after which Tayler Stiles (2-3) took over. He promptly surrendered a single, before getting a ground ball that looked to be an inning ending double play. But shortstop Kevin Smith bobbled it, and everyone was safe, loading the bases. A wild pitch tied the game and a single by Jordan Smith gave the Gophers a 6-4 lead.
The Terps brought the tying run to the plate twice in the ninth, as pinch hitter Dan Maynard walked with one out. But pinch hitter Jamal Wade hit into a force out, and Kevin Smith was called out on strikes to end the game.
After dropping two of three in Minnesota, the Terps return home to take on Purdue next weekend.