Throughout their struggles during last week’s skid, the Maryland Terrapins often failed to get the ‘big hit’ it takes to win close games. In Tuesday’s 10-3 loss to Richmond, the Terps actually did get that hit. Randy Bednar’s double in the top of the sixth inning seemed to be a crucial momentum shifting sequence, but Kevin Biondic was thrown out at the plate, thwarting Maryland’s best opportunity to even the score.
Instead, the momentum evidently swung to the hosting Spiders, who rallied for six runs in the bottom of the sixth, essentially putting a dagger in Maryland’s chance to win its third straight game.
“That’s been kind of our inconsistency,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “When we’re winning games we’re doing stuff where we’re picking hitters up. When we’re losing games, right now, we’re not.”
Sean Fisher allowed three batters to reach base without recording an out (a walk, hit by pitch, and fielder’s choice); Elliot Zoellner allowed five hits, resulting in five Spider runs, and left with the bases loaded; Grant Burleson walked Davis Payne with the bases loaded before he escaped the inning.
Maryland had to fight from behind early, as midweek starter Mark DiLuia’s inability to retire the Spiders in the top of the first cost him. After quickly setting down the first two Richmond hitters, DiLuia walked a batter before D.J. Lee took him deep, giving the Spiders an early lead.
The freshman right-hander fought back though, completing three innings without allowing another run. He only allowed three hits, one of which was Lee’s homer, and struck out a pair.
“I thought he competed really hard for us,” Vaughn said. “We weren’t worried about getting length out of him, we thought it was more important to get him good quality innings.”
It was a similar effort to his start from last week, where he gave up five runs in the first inning, but still battled his way through six innings.
The Terps were able to get DiLuia off the hook with a pair of solo home runs, first by Kevin Biondic in the second inning, and then by Zach Jancarski in the fourth.
But aside from the occasional long ball — Justin Vought added to that total with a seventh inning blast — Maryland’s offense struggled immensely. The Terps had just four hits and were 1-for-10 with runners on base.
While the bullpen collapsed in the sixth inning, Mike Vasturia gave Maryland some solid innings of relief, throwing two innings and only allowing two hits. He did, however, allow the RBI single to Sage Bruhl that ended up being the game-winning hit. Despite allowing a run, Vasturia still boasts a 1.54 ERA, and remains a trustworthy asset in the bullpen.
The loss continues a troubling trend for the Terps, who have seen some poor pitching performances often during midweek games. In their five midweek losses, they have allowed 47 runs, an average of over nine runs per game. In their two wins, they have allowed just three total runs.
“We want to get to where day-in and day-out we know who’s coming to the park. We know who’s showing up on offense, on defense, on the mound,” Vaughn said. “It’s just striving for that consistency because that’s what we’ve been lacking.”
Maryland will return to College Park to prepare for its opening series of Big Ten play, a three-game weekend set against the Northwestern Wildcats.