On a day where the college sports world was shaken by announcements regarding games and championships in the coming weeks, Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium remained a bubble of normalcy as Maryland and James Madison battled out a close-fought midweek game.
After beating up on opposing pitchers through the first four games of their homestand, the Terps were stymied by the Dukes’ hurlers, as they were shut out through the final eight innings in a 4-2 loss.
The Terps struck first, scoring twice in the first inning on a single by Maxwell Costes and a Ben Cowles hit by pitch. James Madison struck right back in the top of the second, as back-to-back homers by Fox Semones and Josh Jones put the Dukes up 3-2. JMU added to their lead with a run scored on a wild pitch later in the inning.
While the score remained fairly low, neither starter reached the fifth inning, as JMU’s Liam McDonnell was lifted after 3 innings and Maryland’s Zach Thompson made it through 4. Thompson allowed just four hits and one walk, but the free pass was costly as the runner came in to score on Semones’ home run.
Both bullpens kept their opponents off the board and for the most part off the bases. The Dukes mounted a threat in the sixth inning when they drew two walks off reliever Connor Staine. After Staine was relieved by Sam Bello, a wild pitch moved the runners to scoring position with two outs, but Bello punched out DaVonn Griffin to keep the Terps’ deficit at just two.
After removing their starter, the Dukes turned the ball over to Grayson Jones. The senior right hander shut the Terps down, going three innings, allowing only one hit and fanning two while facing the minimum thanks to a pick-off of Randy Bednar at second base in the fifth.
The Terps finally threatened in the seventh, when reliever Andrew Weight loaded the bases with two outs for designated hitter Bobby Zmarzlak. After Weight was taken out in favor of Lliam Grubbs, Zmarzlak lined a ball deep into the left field corner, but left fielder Chase DeLauter tracked it down to end the inning.
The Dukes put together another solid inning in the eighth, using a single, a hit batsman, and a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out against Elliot Zoellner. Zoellner escaped the jam unscathed, sandwiching a walk between a strikeout and a force out that ended the inning.
After scoring 48 runs in the previous four home games, the Terps’ bats were all but silent on the afternoon, recording just four hits, and going 2-for-14 with runners on base and recorded just one hit after the fifth inning.