Maryland’s late offense propels the Terps over James Madison

Trailing 4-3 in the top of the seventh, sophomore Randy Bednar dug into the box with two outs and one on. After three straight balls, Bednar got the green light and smacked the next pitch over the left field wall to give Maryland a 5-4 lead.

The Dukes took an early lead over the Terps thanks to their baserunning and defensive mistakes by Maryland. Freshman catcher Zach Doss got his first career start, but two passed balls in as many innings hurt the Terps.

After a leadoff double by freshman Trevon Dabney, he was able to advance on a passed ball and would later score on an RBI groundout to give the Dukes an early 1-0 lead. In the second inning, junior Matt Dipasupil led off with a single and stole second. A few pitches later, another ball got passed Doss, allowing Dipasupil to advance to third. The following batter, freshman Travis Reifsnider hit one passed Freshman Maxwell Costes to plate the second run of the game.

Sophomore Drew Wilden got the start for the Terps, tossing two innings and allowing three hits. Both runs that were scored during Wilden’s two innings were both unearned. Junior Elliot Zoellner came into the game in the third inning and worked back-to-back 1-2-3 innings, while picking up two strikeouts.

On the other side of things, James Madison got a great start from sophomore Justin Showalter. The righty pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits, while recording five strikeouts.

The Terps were threatening in the top of the fifth, after a bunt single by sophomore Chris Alleyne and a single by freshman Benjamin Cowles. With two outs and runners on first and second, Doss came to the plate, but was called out on strikes to end the inning. The Terps were just 4-for-18 against Showalter.

Showalter was taken out of the game after the fifth and the Terps’ bats got going in the sixth against senior Christian Bourne. Senior AJ Lee led off the inning with a single, which snapped his 0-for-25 streak. Bednar followed up with a single of his own and senior Taylor Wright drew a walk to load the bases.

With no outs and the bases loaded, Costes grounded into a 5-2-3 double play and it seemed like the Terps scoring hopes were cut down. But with runners on second and third, sophomore Michael Pineiro ripped a two-run double into right field to tie the game, 2-2 in the sixth.

After the Terps bullpen did a good job of quieting the Dukes’ offense, sophomore Sean Fisher ran into some trouble in the bottom of the sixth. After picking up two quick outs, Fisher allowed a single and a walk. With runners on junior Brady Harju roped a liner off the back of Fisher and it bounced into the outfield allowing one run to score. The following batter, Dipasupil slapped a ground ball into left field to give James Madison a 4-2 lead.

In the top of the seventh, Alleyne drew a leadoff walk and put himself into scoring position after stealing second and later swiping third. With two outs, Lee squeezed a ground ball between the third baseman and shortstop for an infield RBI to cut the deficit to 4-3. The following batter, Bednar belted a homer over the left field wall to retake the lead, 5-4.

For the bottom of the frame, sophomore Grant Burleson made his season debut on the mound. The left-hander picked up a quick strike out, but then walked two consecutive batters, forcing freshman Sean Heine to come in for relief.

With runners on first and second, Heine induced a ground ball to Cowles to setup an inning ending double play to preserve the Maryland lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Heine remained in the game. With one out, freshman Kyle Novak hit a single and Harju followed up with a long fly ball out that brought Alleyne all the way back to the warning track.

In the top of ninth, Lee belted an insurance run over the left center field wall to give the Terps a 6-4 lead. In the bottom of the frame, senior John Murphy came in for the save. The right-hander picked up back-to-back strikeouts, but then plunked freshman Callaway Sigler. 

With one on, Murphy walked another batter. In a two-out jam, Dabney hit a grounder into the outfield scoring one run to cut it to 6-5. Murphy induced a ground ball up the middle, and Lee made a nice play behind second base to throw out the runner at first for the final out.

With the 6-5 win, the Terps split the season series with the Dukes and are now 25-27 on the season, which is more wins than the 2018 season.