Terps drop series finale in Sunday pitchers duel

A back and forth pitching battle between starters Jason Savacool and Aidan Maldonado ended in a stalemate into the late innings, but it would come down to a passed ball that allowed Minnesota to salvage Sunday’s game, 4-3.

Savacool entered Sunday coming off a 13-strikeout performance against Penn State looking to build on that stellar recent success. However, the Gophers lineup came ready to fight and kicked off their day with two runs in the first inning. In a rare game where the Terps fell behind early, it was crucial for Maryland to match Minnesota’s scoring.

Troy Schreffler was the first to fight back against the Gophers, doubling to right center field and scoring Matt Shaw, but that would be the only run Maryland could salvage until the seventh inning. The combination of Maldonado’s stellar outing (6 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, 7 H, 1 BB) and the overall lack of hitting with runners on base, the Terps bats were rendered useless for most of the game.

While Savacool didn’t have the worst outing — recording a quality start along with seven strikeouts — a few mistakes left him and the Terps in a 3-1 hole until the game progressed into the seventh.

The top of the lineup would finally break through, as Chris Alleyne and Nick Lorusso were able to each bring in a run on back-to-back-singles to tie the game. With a combined nine men left on base for the offense, Maryland struggled to get guys in to score outside of the two vets’ RBI.

With the score still tied going into the bottom of the eighth, freshman Ryan Van Buren was tasked with getting through at least the next inning — and he nearly accomplished that. After recording the first two outs, Minnesota’s Brady Counsell shot a pitch down the right field line for a triple. Then, a passed ball by Luke Shliger allowed Counsell to sprint home and score the go-ahead run.

The Terps had the top of the lineup due up in the ninth as they hoped to spark a comeback, but veteran reliever Tom Skoro made quick work of the Shliger-Alleyne-Lorusso trio, striking out the side.

The Gophers avoid the sweep with Sunday’s win, but Maryland departs from the Twin Cities with its second series win in Big Ten play.