Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn made five calls to the Terps’ bullpen on Sunday, as his pitching staff struggled to contain the Indiana lineup for the second consecutive game.
Though Terps dropped the Saturday matchup 20-5, making Sunday’s game a rubber match after Maryland shutout Indiana 2-0 on Friday behind Terrapin ace Hunter Parsons, Maryland (13-13) could not shut down the Indiana (17-10) offense and fell 19-4 in College Park in the series finale.
“We know how good [Indiana] is,” Vaughn said. “That’s a scary lineup…anybody in that lineup can leave the yard at any given time, and I thought it just got us on our heels a little bit . We got a little tentative and didn’t quite believe that we could compete with them on a high enough level.”
The Hoosiers offense, who sent nine home runs over the fence on Saturday, continued to dominate, putting up 14 hits Sunday, four of which were homers.
“Obviously when you give up 20 and 19 [runs] in back-to-back days you don’t leave the yard feeling good at all,” Vaughn said. “But there were some spots in there that we just got to continue growing as a team.”
Among those decidedly good spots in the Terps’ loss Sunday were some key performances from a few Maryland relievers, who kept the game from turning into even more of a runaway.
Freshman reliever Andrew Vail entered in the sixth, taking over a situation with a 3-0 count, a runner on first and two outs, after Will Glock pulled himself out of Sunday’s game with an apparent arm injury. Vail threw three straight strikes to end the half, keeping Indiana off the board for only the second inning of the game, the fourth in 15 innings.
“Andrew Vail pitched absolutely fearless today,” Vaughn said. “He attacked people, he came right at people. And Will Glock, you know before coming off, I really liked the way he was throwing the ball.”
Vail, who recorded a scoreless seventh as well, was the fifth reliever the Terps called on, after starter Trevor LaBonte lasted 2.1 innings and gave up 10 runs. At the end of the second, LaBonte had thrown 54 pitches and the Terps trailed 6-1.
“[Elliot Zoellner’s] been so good all year,” Vaughn said. “His numbers [are] the most deceiving on our team…when he’s pounding the zone he’s really good, and I didn’t even think he was that sharp today. That just tells you he competed, he competed really hard.”
Right-hander Elliot Zoellner, the first out of the bullpen, went 1.2 innings, recording five outs, all of which were strikeouts. In the fourth Zoellner worked out of a two-on jam, putting up back-to-back strikeouts to end the half.
Freshman Sean Heine finished the game for the Terps, pitching the eighth and ninth. Though the righty allows four Indiana runs in the eighth, he held the Hoosiers scoreless in the ninth, thought a Terps’ rally was near impossible.
A.J. Lee put the Terps on the board in the first, with a leadoff home run on the first pitch of the inning. The blast, over the right-center field fence, marked the senior’s second of the season. Maryland put up three more one-run innings, one in the third, one in the eighth and one in the ninth. Sophomore Randy Bednar scored in the third and eighth, while a solo homer from freshman Josh Maguire put up a one-spot for Maryland in the ninth.
Seven Maryland batters reached base, but only Lee, Bednar and Maguire crossed home plate.
“We’re better than we showed this weekend,” Vaughn said. “I think the fight that we have, the toughness we have is better than we showed. You’ve got to own bad days…we can either make it part of our story moving forward or we can make it part of our excuse.”
The series loss marks the Terps’ third in a row, and their third series loss at home this season. Maryland suffered consecutive sweeps from East Carolina and Creighton in its last two home series.