Entering Friday, Mark DiLuia had just seven collegiate starts under his belt. But with normal Friday starter Taylor Bloom still recovering from an injury, DiLuia got the ball Friday night against Purdue, becoming the first Terps freshman to start a series-opening game since Jimmy Reed in 2012.
A four-run second was DiLuia’s only blemish in his six innings of work, but the Maryland bats couldn’t back up the freshman. In a night without middle of the order threat Marty Costes, they tallied 12 hits but went just 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base. Purdue (17-16, 5-4 Big Ten) added three runs in the ninth to put the game out of reach as the Terps (16-21, 3-6 Big Ten) fell to the Boilermakers at home, 7-1.
After a scoreless first, DiLuia ran into trouble right away in the second inning. With a runner on first and one out, Evan Warden lifted a double down the left field line to plate the first Boilermaker run of the afternoon. A walk put two on for Nick Dalesandro, who smoked a line drive to left center that rolled all the way to the wall, allowing two more to score. Skyler Hunter’s subsequent RBI single to right scored Dalesandro, making it 4-0 Purdue.
Maryland had several opportunities to cut into the Boilermaker advantage, but couldn’t get the key hit off Purdue right-hander Tanner Andrews, who scattered 11 hits over seven innings of work.
“Tonight, our quality at bats were great, we got a lot of hits,” head coach Rob Vaughn said. “We just couldn’t quite – we’d string three together, we’d need four; we’d string four together but need five. It’s tough, I’m proud of the way we competed tonight, that’s the bottom line. I thought we competed as a team, I thought guys ran off a pretty good plan at the plate.”
The Terps plated their lone run in the sixth inning, when AJ Lee singled with men on the corners and two away, to make it 4-1. Zach Jancarski had led off the frame with a double to right, and moved up to third on Will Watson’s single through the left side.
However, other scoring opportunities went by the wayside. Lee doubled leading off the bottom of the first, and tagged up on Nick Dunn’s fly ball to right, but Purdue appealed to second, and the umpire called him out, ruling that he left the base too early. Now with two out and nobody on, the Terps got two more baserunners in the frame, but Randy Bednar struck out to strand them both in scoring position.
A walk, a hit and a sacrifice bunt gave the Terps men on second and third with one out, but they again could not bring Jancarski the final 90 feet to cross home plate. Dunn led off the third with a single and the fifth with a double, but was stranded both times. Watson’s one out double in the fourth put another man in scoring position, but the Maryland outfielder only made it as far as third base before the inning came to a close.
DiLuia settled down after the second-inning blemish, ending his outing with four straight scoreless frames. He allowed his fair share of baserunners – eight hits and five walks in six innings – but a little help from his defense kept the deficit from growing larger. Catcher Justin Vought threw out would-be base stealers in the third and fourth, and Taylor Wright snared a liner with the bases loaded in the fifth to start an inning-ending double play.
“Mark DiLuia was an absolute dude tonight,” Vaughn said after the game. “He came in and competed his tail off. Shoot, we ran a freshman battery out there on a Friday night conference game, and for those guys to work together the way they worked and compete the way they did, I’m really proud of those two.”
Grant Burleson tossed two scoreless innings before Alec Tuohy served up a three-run double to Alec Olund in the ninth to make it 7-1, Purdue. Ross Learnard shut the Terps down with two scoreless innings of relief.
Watson picked up three hits in the contest for Maryland, while Dunn, Lee, Jancarski and Vought notched two hits apiece.
Vaughn announced after the game that Costes, a junior outfielder, is suspended for the entirety of the weekend series and will rejoin the team Monday.
“Marty didn’t meet some of the team rules we had this week,” Vaughn said. “He’s an unbelievable kid, he works his tail off, he plays his tail off. He’s a great kid that just didn’t live up to the standards that we hold as a program this week.”
The Terps will look to even the series Saturday at 2 p.m. in College Park. RHP Hunter Parsons (3-2, 3.13 ERA) takes the hill for Maryland against Purdue LHP Gareth Stroh (4-2, 5.67 ERA).