Junior Michigan starter Karl Kauffman meant business when he took to the mound Friday night as the Terps suffered a 10-7 loss to the Wolverines in the weekend series opener.
A date between two of the best pitchers in the Big Ten — Terps’ Hunter Parsons and Wolverines’ Kauffman — looked to be the making of a great game, but Michigan’s offense got off to a very quick start. It all started when a walk and a double placed two Wolverines in scoring position, followed by an RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Jordan Brewer. Michigan added on one more run in the first when five-hitter Blake Nelson lined a two-out single to left field, bringing in Jesse Franklin.
The Michigan scoring onslaught continued into the second inning when sophomore Jordan Nwogu crushed a home run over the batter’s eye in center field. The third run of the inning would score after a nice sliding grab by Terps’ second baseman Ben Cowles turned into a throwing error that allowed the Wolverines to take a 5-0 lead.
Both offenses would remain relatively quiet as the game moved through the middle innings, but the Terps finally put one on the board in the sixth inning courtesy of a Taylor Wright solo shot to left-center field, but just when the Terps may have found the spark they needed to climb back, Michigan fizzled it out in the seventh inning.
With Parsons leaving the game after five innings (115 pitches), righty Sean Heine took over for the next couple of innings. Heine pitched a clean, 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, but his first appearance of the weekend took a complete 180-degree turn in the seventh when a combination of walks and singles loaded the bases for Michigan. The result was a nasty five-spot in the box score and the Wolverines found themselves with a comfortable 10-1 lead.
After being down nine runs, the Terps offense could’ve easily decided to slow down the effort after the seventh-inning stretch, but a botched inning-ending double play opened up the door for a big inning for Maryland. Sophomore Chris Alleyne was nearly robbed, but he was able to knock one over the right-field wall for a three-run home run.
The Terps scored three more runs in the next inning when back-to-back RBI off the bats of Caleb Walls and Justin Vought, respectively, followed by a bases-loaded walk from Alleyne cut Michigan’s lead to three runs. However, the comeback wouldn’t come completely into fruition after AJ Lee stranded the bases loaded as the potential go-ahead run.
Michigan would finally end all hopes of a Maryland comeback when closer Willie Weiss made an appearance with two outs in the eighth to execute a four-out save despite walking the leadoff man in the ninth.
The Terps will look to even up the series tomorrow with Zach Thompson on the mound, and could potentially be playing two with inclement weather in the forecast for Sunday.