Cowles Early Homer, Dean’s solid outing leads Maryland to 8-6 win

Benjamin Cowles stepped up to the plate in the top of the first in a familiar spot with runners on the bases with the chance to do damage. On the very first pitch he saw Cowles hit a three-run home run to right field to put Maryland up 3-0 on Iowa. That was all the offense Maryland needed to kickstart a 8-6 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday afternoon from Duane Banks Field.

In the top of the first, Iowa starting pitcher Drew Irvine struggled with his command early and walked Chris Alleyne and Matthew Shaw to start the game and bring up Cowles to the plate. Cowles wasn’t taking the first pitch he saw and hit his twelfth home run of the season to give Maryland an early 3-0 lead on a perfect start before they even recorded an out.

In the top of the fourth inning Maryland’s top of the order inflicted damage again. Alleyne started the inning with a stand-up double and had a good read on a breaking ball in the dirt and stole third base. Shaw single up the middle brought Alleyne home and extend Maryland’s lead to 4-0.

Maryland starting pitcher Nick Dean took the mound in the bottom of the first with a 3-0 and stranded a runner in scoring position to start his outing. In the second inning Dean gave up a leadoff double to Zeb Adreon who tagged on a fly out to right field to put him on third base with one out. But Dean would strike out the next two hitters he faced to get out of the inning strand another runner in scoring position.

In the fourth inning, with a runner on first base and one out Dean would get Dylan Nedved to ground into a double play to end the inning.

In the fifth inning, Dean was faced with another jam, giving up two singles to have runners on first and second base. Dean would induce another double play to end the inning and get out of the jam and maintain the 4-0 lead.

In the sixth inning, after getting into another jam of two runners on base with two outs, Dean thought he had gotten out of the inning. Nedved hit a fly out to right field but right fielder Tucker Flint misplayed the ball allowing two runs to score on the RBI double and cut the Maryland lead to 4-2. The next batter Matthew Sosa grounded out to second base but the ball took a bad hop on Kevin Keister into the outfield allowing another run to score and advance Sosa to second base, representing the tying run. But Dean caught Sosa leaning off on second base on the next at-bat and picked him off to get out of the inning and maintain a 4-3 lead for Maryland and set himself up for a win.

Maryland’s offense answered back in the top of the seventh inning to pick up its defense. After Luke Shliger worked a walk to start the inning, Tommy Garndiner double off the wall in left center brought him home to extend the lead to 5-3. The next batter Flint made up for his error in the sixth inning with a RBI single to extend the lead to 6-3. After a walk and two sacrifice bunts, Shaw stepped up to the plate and blew the game open with a two-out RBI single to right cap off the big inning for Maryland and a lead of now 8-3.

Iowa would add two more runs in the eighth inning and would make things interesting in the ninth inning with some loud deep contact off of closer Sam Bello. But Bello — with the tying run at the plate — got the last out and put the finishing touches on a 8-6 win on the first of two games on the day for Maryland in the heart of their Big Ten schedule.