Terps unable to overcome early miscues, fall to No. 12 Louisville

Maryland’s offense chased one of the country’s best pitchers in 2016 from the game early, but too many mistakes in the field led to a second straight defeat.

Louisville pitcher Kade McClure gave up four runs in 3.2 innings of work, but the No. 22 Terps committed five errors and Maryland pitchers threw three wild pitches in a 10-7 loss to the No. 12 Cardinals Saturday night at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida.

The Cardinals (2-0) got off to a quick start, scoring once in the first and then putting four more runs on the board in the second with some help from the Terrapins. Maryland committed three errors in the inning, including two from third baseman AJ Lee. The Cardinals took advantage, scoring runs on a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly, and a wild pitch. Junior third baseman Drew Ellis led off the inning with a long home run into the bullpen in left field. Maryland starting pitcher Taylor Bloom threw 47 pitches in the inning.

Maryland (0-2) recovered and closed the gap, thanks in large part to second baseman Nick Dunn. The 2016 freshman All-American blasted the Terps’ first home run of the season in the third, a two-run shot over the right field fence, and added an RBI single in the fourth to cut the Terrapins’ deficit to 5-3. Dunn finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

The Cardinals broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth, again partially as a result of Maryland miscues. Two walks, an error, and two wild pitches combined with four hits to allow Louisville to put five runs on the board in the inning and take a 10-4 lead. Louisville batted around in the inning, mostly against sophomore Hunter Parsons, who relieved Bloom after the starter gave up a leadoff triple to Colby Fitch.

Louisville held on for a win over the final five innings, but it wasn’t for lack of offense from the Terps. After collecting just four hits in the season opener against Ball State, Maryland racked up 12 against Louisville, including a .346 performance with runners on base. The Terrapins left 14 runners on base and have stranded 25 over their first two games.

In addition to Dunn, three other Terrapins had double-digit hits, led by first baseman Brandon Gum. The senior, a graduate transfer from George Mason making his first start in a Maryland uniform, went 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI.

The offensive outburst allowed the Terps to close the gap to 10-7 and put runners on the corners with one out in the seventh. At that turning point, however, the Cardinals brought in reliever Lincoln Henzman, and he struck out both Gum and shortstop Kevin Smith swinging to end the inning. Maryland hitters struck out 15 times overall.

Henzman was Louisville’s most effective pitcher, throwing 2.2 innings and striking out four without allowing a run. The junior picked up the save while Jake Sparger got the win for the Cardinals and Bloom took the loss for the Terps.

Seven of the Cardinals’ nine starters had at least one hit, including Ellis, who not only hit a home run but also hit a ball to the wall in the second that looked liked extra bases until left fielder Madison Nickens made a great leaping catch up against the fence.

The Terrapins will have fewer than 11 hours after the game ended until they take the field again. They play the Alabama State Hornets (0-2) at Spectrum Field tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. You can listen to the game live on the Maryland Baseball Network, with Terps Pregame Live beginning at 9:30.