Maryland pitching falters late as Terps fall to Rebels

Coming off of their stellar offensive performance on Friday night against Ole Miss, the Maryland Terrapins looked to continue their success against the defending College World Series Champions in the second of this three-game series. But, Maryland’s pitching faltered late and their offense was unable to keep up as the Terps fell to the Ole Miss Rebels 12-6 at Swayze Field.

It was the Ole Miss freshman Jayson Saunier that got the start for the Rebels. He immediately hit Luke Shliger on the second pitch of the game and walked Matt Shaw on a full count after. After Shaw popped out and moved Shliger to third, a dropped third strike against Ian Petrutz got behind catcher Calvin Harris and Shliger took off for home but was tagged out to conclude an eventful top of the first.

After Savacool’s phenomenal performance on Friday night, it was senior Nick Dean on the mound today for the Terps. After walking Ethan Groff, Ole Miss’ first of the series, a Kemp Alderman double squeezed right past the glove of Nick Lorusso would help Groff score to take the early lead for Ole Miss.

An Ethan Lege error allowed Hacopian to reach first to start the second followed by a four-pitch walk issued to the transfer Matt Woods as the Ole Miss bullpen loosened up early. A perfectly executed bunt by Kevin Keister loaded the bases for the Terps and the grand slam watch was on again. Instead, an Elijah Lambros sacrifice fly sent home Eddie Hacopian to tie the game at 1-1.

The game would not stay tied for long as Jacob Gonzalez singled on a 3-2 count with two outs to send Lege home from second and take back the lead. Hacopian misjudged the ball’s second bounce, allowing it to bounce off of him and into the outfield which gave Lege all the time he needed to round third and cross home plate.

Enter Petrutz. Coming off of his grand slam in the contest last night, he uncoiled another solo shot in the top of the third to tie the game at two. After hitting Hacopian and walking Keister, Ole Miss brought in Sam Tookoian to relieve Jayson Saunier who was able to get out of the jam.

Tookoian continued his hot relief appearance after getting out of the jam in the third by striking out the side against Maryland to start the fourth. Dean did not fare as well as he worked two outs but loaded bases for Groff as head coach Rob Vaughn started getting arms loose in the bullpen. With the bases juiced, Groff hit a hard single to left field and two crossed home for Ole Miss to once again take the lead. 

After looking untouchable, Tookoian walked three batters to once again load the bases for Maryland and Bobby Zmarzlak. Zmarzlak, having already been in a two-out bases-loaded situation earlier, found himself in a 3-2 count and walked to send in a free run to cut Ole Miss’ lead to one. 

Having seen enough, Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco made a call to the bullpen and brought in senior Matt Parenteau. Now facing Lambros, Parenteau walked him and Shliger back-to-back and gave the Terps the lead at five. Going into the final third of the game, Maryland was walked nine times and hit by a pitch three times already.

After coming in relief of Nick Dean, freshman Kyle McCoy took the mound and quickly worked two outs before getting out of trouble to end the inning. So far in this series against Ole Miss, pitching has been one of Maryland’s strengths as they have gotten more innings and consistency from their arms than Ole Miss. The Rebels used many of their better relief arms already in the series and it will be a point to look for going into the final game of the series on Sunday.

Rain, having caused a delay in yesterday’s game, continued to be a problem as Ole Miss’ left fielder Reagan Burford slipped twice trying to catch a Shliger pop fly. As a result, Shliger doubled and Zmarzlak scored to extend the lead to two.

The Rebels started showing signs of life on offense when a Harris single, an Anthony Calarco double, and a Lege walk loaded the bases for John Kramer who pinch-hit for Will Furniss. Vaughn had seen enough and decided to bring in the sophomore Nigel Belgrave in relief of McCoy. Having worked back from the bases loaded and no outs, Belgrave walked in a run with two outs to diminish the lead to one, and after just two-thirds innings of work, Vaughn pulled Belgrave in for junior David Falco Jr. who immediately gave up a two-run single to Jason Gonzalez.

Down one with two outs and the bases loaded, Zmarzlak once again found himself at the plate. This time he flew one out to right that had an opportunity to be the Terps’ fifth grand slam of the season but was chased down on the warning track by Alderman.

Ole Miss’ offense lost no steam and extended its lead on a two-run homer by Calarco to make their lead 6-9. Shortly after, a Wood single drove in Maddox to extend the lead to four, and with the bases loaded Vaugh pulled Falco for sophomore Ryan Van Buren. His first batter was Groff who singled to left and scored two more to extend the lead to 12-6.

The Terps went down in order in the top of the ninth and the two will play the rubber match of the series at 2:30 PM Sunday.