The Terps struggled to maintain an early lead Saturday, faltering defensively in their 12-7 loss to the Stetson Hatters in DeLand, Florida. With the win, Stetson (6-8) tied the series at one game apiece.
When Maryland (8-5) plated two to start the first inning, it seemed the Terps’ momentum from their Friday-night 7-0 shutout carried into the Saturday-night matchup.
But, unlike the series opener, Maryland struggled to keep Stetson off the board, giving up three runs on two errors in the bottom of the inning and erasing their lead.
Though Maryland fought back in later innings, including a four-run seventh-inning comeback, Stetson’s offense capitalized on the Terps’ defensive miscues, putting up multi-run innings in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
Maryland starter Zach Thompson held Stetson’s offense to three runs through four innings. But a single and two wild pitches in the fifth set Stetson’s Noah Dickerson up for an RBI groundout, putting the Hatters up 4-3. Thompson went 4.2 innings, striking out six in his fourth start for the Terps.
After Thompson exited the game, Maryland’s bullpen struggled to keep the Hatters off the bases. In the sixth, Stetson tacked on two runs, cushioning its lead 6-3, before Maryland took back the lead in the seventh. Highlighted by a three-RBI double from freshman Maxwell Costes, the Terps’ four-run seventh gave them a temporary 7-6 lead.
But, a three-run bottom of the inning from Stetson nullified the short-lived rally, followed by a three-run bottom of the eighth to out the Hatters up 12-7 and ensure the series-tying win.
As Maryland’s main catcher, sophomore Justin Vought struggled behind the plate on Saturday. With one out in the first, Vought sent a throw over first baseman Maxwell Costes’ head, putting Dickerson on second. Three batters later, Dickerson crossed the plate on another Terrapin error, scoring the first run of the game for the Hatters.
Costes made the second of Maryland’s two errors. It was his third game playing first base this season––a position he hadn’t played since middle school––after head coach Rob Vaughn switched him to first in order to work additional power-hitters into the lineup. Costes’ fielding error put Stetson’s Andrew MacNeil at second and allowed Dickerson to score. The error was Costes’ second in as many games.
After pulling Thompson, Maryland called on six relievers to work out of various jams, but the Terps’ bullpen gave up 12 free bases on only four strikeouts in 3.1 innings. The dozen freebies were comprised of five walks, three wild pitches and four hit-by-pitches, with only three relievers––Daniel O’Connor, Elliot Zoellner and Mike Vasturia––recording a full three outs.
Maryland faces Stetson for the rubber match at 1 p.m. Sunday.