Maryland looked to bounce back against another ranked opponent in Vanderbilt after last night’s loss. Despite leading 7-6 heading into the ninth, Vanderbilt was able to rally for an 8-7 walk-off win. The Maryland offense looked completely different today as they recorded eight hits including two home runs. However, Vanderbilt’s offense at the beginning and end of the game made the difference.
Vanderbilt’s defense started the game sloppy with an error, a walk, and a passed ball. This put Luke Shliger and Matt Shaw on second and third with no outs. Ian Petrutz was able to drive in Shliger with an RBI groundout, giving Maryland a 1-0 lead in the first.
On the other side, Vanderbilt was able to answer. The first pitch of the day for Nick Dean was a home run to Enrique Bradfield Jr. to tie the game 1-1. The Commodores did not stop there, an RBI double from Davis Diaz gave them a 2-1 lead. A sacrifice fly from Chris Maldonado and a single from Jack Bulger extended the lead to 4-1. Nick Dean was finally able to get out of the inning after a flyout to center field.
“I credit them for having a really good plan early,” said Head Coach Rob Vaughn. “We didn’t execute pitches quite as good as we needed to in the first.”
The Vanderbilt offense did not stop there. RJ Austin hit his first college home run in the second to make it a 5-1 ballgame. Dean stayed in the game and started to find his groove. After the home run, Dean retired the next 8 batters including 4 strikeouts.
“Credit to Nick, he started using the heater a lot more and getting them off balance,” said Vaughn. “As ugly as the first inning was, he got settled in and got us five again. Doing what Nick Dean does, he gave us a chance.”
The Maryland offense showed signs of life in the fourth when they loaded the bases after hits from Matt Woods and Kevin Keister and a walk from Bobby Zmarzlak. However, they were not able to score after the Vanderbilt defense turned two to end the top half of the inning.
The Terps load the bases again in the fifth but cash in this time. Another groundout RBI for Petrutz and an RBI fielder’s choice from Hacopian cut the Commodore’s lead in half, 5-3. They did not stop there, with runners on the corners and two outs Kevin Keister hit a three-run bomb to give Maryland a 6-5 lead.
This Maryland lead was short-lived. RJ Austin hit another home run off Dean to tie the game at six a piece. Dean was able to answer with back-to-back strikeouts to get out of the inning fifth inning.
The home run barrage continued in the seventh when Nick Lorusso started the inning with a solo home run. His fourth home run of the year gave Maryland a 7-6 lead.
Nigel Belgrave came in for Nick Dean in the sixth inning and was efficient. Through his first two innings, Belgrave did not allow a hit and picked up two strikeouts. After giving up a one-out triple in the eighth, Belgrave remained calm and maintained the 7-6 score headed into the ninth.
Freshman Kyle McCoy came in for the save opportunity in the ninth. There was already a runner on first with no outs for McCoy when he subbed in. After a Vanderbilt bunt, there were runners on first and second with no outs. A Bradfield single up the middle would tie the game at 7-7. Three batters later, an RJ Schrek sacrifice fly to left would end the game, giving the Commodores an 8-7 walk-off win.
The Terps fall to 4-6 after this heartbreaking loss. Maryland will finish off the weekend with a matchup against Hawaii tomorrow morning.