Despite DiLuia’s strong start, Maryland falls to Michigan State

After five innings without much going its way offensively, Maryland had a real chance in the sixth.

Trailing 3-1 to the Michigan State Spartans, Marty Costes drew a leadoff walk. Then, Kevin Biondic doubled, bringing the tying run into scoring position.

The stage was set for a comeback, but an unsuccessful squeeze bunt by Will Watson, followed by a pop-up and strikeout, limited the Terps to just one run in the frame. That was the last run Maryland scored, as it dropped the series opener to Michigan State 4-2.

Maryland jumped out to the early 1-0 lead, when Taylor Wright singled home Zach Jancarski in the second inning. The two-out rally was started when Jancarski walked and stole second base.

After that, the Terrapin offense was shut down for the majority of the afternoon, totaling just three hits in the loss. Outside of Biondic, who finished 2-for-4, the Terps were 1-for-25. That included a poor 2-for-14 clip with runners on base, and 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The Spartans responded with one run in each of the second, third, and fourth innings. Unlike Maryland, Michigan State was able to capitalize from free bases. Zack McGuire scored after he was hit by a pitch, and Marty Bechina scored after stealing second and taking third on a  throwing error by Vought.

Overall, it was still a strong outing for Maryland freshman right-hander Mark DiLuia, who threw 6.2 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on just six Spartan hits. Though head coach Rob Vaughn admitted DiLuia didn’t have his best control, he battled into the seventh inning to record the longest start of his young collegiate career.

The Terps did have chances to score thanks to command issues by Spartan starter Ethan Landon, who walked five batters in his five innings of work. In addition to their chance in the sixth inning, the Terps had a chance in the fifth after back-to-back walks by Randy Bednar and Justin Vought. The next two hitters were retired.

Once the Spartan bullpen relieved Landon, Maryland was shut down. The trio of Jake Lowery, Mitchell Tyranski, and Riley McCauley didn’t allow a hit to any of the 16 batters it faced.

The Big Ten foes will resume their three-game set on Saturday, when Maryland sends Hunter Parsons to the hill to face Michigan State’s Mason Erla. Last week, Parsons threw an eight-inning gem against Purdue in a tough-luck extra inning loss.