Maryland baseball held leads over Ohio State in the eighth and ninth innings, but both times, the Terps watched those advantages disappear before Buckeyes designated hitter Brent Todys hit a game-winning home run in the 11th inning for a 10-9 win.
The Terps led 8-4 entering the top of the eighth, but relievers Elliot Zollener and Andrew Vail combined to concede the game-tying runs on a two-run homer, a sacrifice fly and a double.
Third baseman Taylor Wright used an infield single to bring in the go-ahead run for Maryland in the bottom of the eighth, but an unearned run in the top of the ninth that scored on a two-out RBI single extended the game to extra innings.
After Maryland left the bases loaded in the 10th inning, Ohio State’s extra-inning homer stole the middle game of the weekend’s three-game set, forcing a series-deciding matchup on Sunday.
It had been nearly two months since Maryland last won a game when right-hander Zach Thompson started. The Terps entered the second-half of Saturday’s doubleheader against Ohio State an abysmal 1-9 in games that junior had started — the only victory coming on Feb. 22 against Maine.
While Thompson’s 5.29 ERA isn’t an every-weekend winning formula, his offense was only providing 3.8 runs per game in his starts — the fewest among Maryland’s three weekend starters.
Maryland’s bats gave Thompson five runs in the bottom of the second, enough to backup the starter’s seven-inning, four-run performance. Instead, the Buckeyes late-inning success squandered a win for the junior.
Two of the first three Ohio State hitters homered to start the game, including one on the second pitch of the game hit by right fielder Dominic Canzone.
Maryland immediately looked as if it would retaliate in the bottom half of the frame, using three consecutive walks to load the bases with no outs. But after a Buckeyes mound visit, starter Seth Lonsway struck out the heart of Maryland’s order to escape the jam.
In the following frame, Maryland nearly blew another prime opportunity to even the score. After back-to-back singles put two runners on with one out, right fielder Michael Pineiro was picked off first base for the second out of the inning.
But rather than wasting another chance with a runner in scoring position, the Terps scored five runs with two outs in the second inning. Shortstop AJ Lee Wright hit two straight doubles, plating three runs to take a 3-2 lead.
One batter later, first baseman Maxwell Costes smashed a two-run homer over the scoreboard in left-center field to cement the five-run frame. It marked Costes’ second homer of the doubleheader, which put him in the team-lead with eight home runs this season.
Lee continued his hot afternoon when Maryland loaded the bases again in the third inning, this time using a bloop single to extend the Terps lead to 6-2. A Lonsway wild pitch handed over another run to the home team.
Left-hander Andrew Magno pitched the final four innings for the Buckeyes, striking out 11 hitters to claim the win. He ran into trouble in the bottom of the 10th when Maryland loaded the bases with only one out.
Magno dug deep, striking out Maxwell Costes and Josh Maguire to add another frame to Saturday’s doubleheader. Right-handed closer John Murphy, who pitched a season-long three innings, conceded the game-winning homer to Todys on an 0-2 count with two outs in the top of the 11th.
The Terps went down in order in the bottom of the 11th, as the series became even heading into Sunday.