No. 21 Coastal Carolina spoils Zach Thompson’s Maryland pitching debut

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In the bottom of the third inning, with runners on the corners and no outs for No. 21 Coastal Carolina, Maryland pitching coach Corey Muscara took a trip to the mound to settle down his starter.

In the midst of his Maryland debut, junior Zach Thompson was one poor pitch away from letting the game slip away against one of the best teams the Terps will face all season.

But the right-hander induced a huge double play after talking with his coach, and while a run scored to make it 2-0, Thompson was now only one out from escaping a potentially fatal inning without much damage.

Instead, the Chanticleers’ high-powered offense still tacked on two more runs in the frame using two of their three two-out RBI hits to earn a 7-2 victory over Maryland.

Thompson arrived in College Park before last season after transferring from St. Mary’s College (Md.). And while he was one of the best pitchers during fall practices in 2017, head coach Rob Vaughn was unable to use him during the season due to rules regarding transferring from a DIII school.

But the Maryland native’s long-awaited debut didn’t go as planned after earning the No. 2 starting role to begin the 2019 season. The Chanticleers, who dropped a game to Maryland a season ago, tagged Thompson for five runs on nine hits in less than four innings.

With the loss, the Terps drop to 0-2 for the second time in three years.

While Thompson struggled, Maryland’s bullpen only conceded one earned run in the game as a trio of other debuts went more successfully. Freshman Daniel O’Connor didn’t allow an earned run in 1 1/3 innings of work, while freshmen Will Glock and Andrew Vail combined to throw a scoreless seventh inning.

Even though the relievers kept the game respectable, Maryland’s offense couldn’t replicate the positive signs shown on Friday in the season opener. The Terps only managed four hits and went 3-for-17 with men on base.

The only real success for the Terps with runners on came while trailing 7-0 in the seventh inning.  After loading the bases with a hit by pitch and two walks, Maryland’s only two runs came from a two-out, bases-loaded single from center fielder Randy Bednar.

The Terps lineup missed sophomore catcher Justin Vought, who smashed a home run in Friday’s game but exited the contest after getting hit with a pitch behind the plate in extras. He’s in concussion protocol and will also miss the final game of the opening weekend on Sunday against VCU.