Entering the game with just one hit in his last 29 at-bats, Marty Costes reached base in his first three trips to the plate against Delaware Thursday evening. But when he came up with bases loaded and the Terps trailing 6-1 in the seventh, the junior left fielder swung and missed at three straight pitches.
It was the second time of the game Maryland left the bases full.
Coming off a weekend in which they scored 31 runs in three games, the Terps left 12 runners on base to fall short against the Blue Hens, 7-1. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak.
“We just couldn’t quite string [hits] together. We had nine hits,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “We had some good at-bats in there but it kind of seemed like we’d have two really good ones, then three bad ones … We just couldn’t quite get that consistency up and down through the order tonight.”
Maryland right-handed starting pitcher Mark DiLuia retired four of the first five hitters he faced—the one hit being junior second baseman Erik Bowren’s infield single in the first inning. The freshman, though, ran into trouble in the second, walking three batters to load the bases with only one out. Delaware junior catcher Matt Rykaczewski hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate the first runner of the game.
With his pitch count running high, DiLuia had to battle through his third and final inning, but couldn’t escape it before allowing a two-run homer to third baseman Diaz Nardo. The senior’s second home run of the season gave the Blue Hens an early 3-0 advantage.
“Mark [DiLuia] was so good last week,” Vaughn said. “He just didn’t command the zone quite as well tonight and that’s what happens.”
The Terps quickly responded in the bottom half of the third, though, when freshman right fielder Randy Bednar launched his third career homer to deep left-center field. Bednar’s three homers this season are the second-most on the team, trailing Nick Dunn’s five.
“Not only is [Bednar] getting hits, but he’s also driving the baseball pretty good for us,” Vaughn said. “He kind of jumpstarted things with that homer in the third and unfortunately we couldn’t kind of keep it rolling.
Maryland loaded the bases following the home run, looking to erase Delaware’s lead in one trip to the plate. Costes’ second hit of the game came in between a pair of walks, giving shortstop AJ Lee the opportunity to give his team the lead with one swing. Instead, he lifted a routine fly ball to right field, leaving the bases full in the third.
The Terps got just three hits off Delaware left-hander Matt Hornich, who allowed just one run and struck out four in five innings. Maryland will face three lefty starters this weekend against Bryant.
Three more runs crossed the plate for the Blue Hens in the next two innings, first baseman Nick Patten’s solo home run in the fifth and Nardo’s two-RBI double in the sixth to extend their lead to 6-1. Nardo went 4-for-5 with five RBIs.
Maryland continued use a committee of pitchers in midweek games, using six pitchers Thursday. Right-handers Mike Vasturia, who tossed a scoreless frame, and Elliot Zoellner each pitched one inning. Redshirt senior Alec Tuohy—after making his season debut Sunday—threw two innings to get the Terps through the seventh inning. The Terps also used lefties Billy Phillips and Grant Burleson for an inning each.
With just three hits through six innings, the Terps managed back-to-back hits with two outs in the bottom of the seventh thanks to Bednar and Jancarski. Dunn, the next batter, walked on four straight pitches. The opportunity to mount a late-inning comeback proved to be unsuccessful, as Costes went down on strikes.
Bednar and Dunn both singled in the ninth, but the Terps couldn’t string together enough big hits to plate any more runners.
Maryland (7-5) is scheduled begin a weekend series against Bryant starting tomorrow at 4 p.m. The Terps swept the Bulldogs at home last season, conceding just three runs in three games.