Maryland jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the series finale against #25 Iowa on Sunday, but were unable to overcome a nightmarish fifth inning where they allowed nine runs. The Terps were unable to complete the sweep in Iowa City, falling to the Hawkeyes at Duane Banks Field by a final score of 12-8.
Sunday’s game began with a familiar sight: a Luke Shliger leadoff home run. The Maryland catcher went to the opposite field for his sixth homer of the year to put the Terps on the board first.
Iowa would strike back in the bottom half of the inning. After Kyle McCoy got two quick outs, a two-out walk and a double by center fielder Kyle Huckstorf tied the game at 1-1.
Kevin Keister led off the top of the fourth with a double, and Bobby Zmarzlak followed with a monster two-run blast to left field to give Maryland a 3-1 lead.
The Terps added to their lead in the fifth with back-to-back one-out RBI singles from Matt Woods and Kevin Keister. Zmarzlak laid a perfect bunt down the third base line and beat the throw to first as another run scored, and the Terps led 6-1 after their half of the fifth.
McCoy, coming off a dominant performance against UCF last week that earned him an array of awards, seemed to be on his way to another strong outing until the bottom of the fifth. After the Hawkeyes loaded the bases with no one out, Keister was unable to glove a line drive, and the ball got past him to bring home two runs, which would be the start of a disastrous inning for the Terps.
After two more singles tied the game at six runs apiece, McCoy was relieved by Nate Haberthier. The freshman left-hander was unable to record an out in the fifth, and was charged with seven runs (five earned) on eight hits, with five strikeouts and three walks.
Despite the pitching change, the onslaught continued. Haberthier allowed an RBI single to the first batter he faced, which gave the Hawkeyes a 7-6 lead. Two batters later, second baseman Sam Hojnar launched a three-run homer that would end up being the dagger, extending the Iowa lead to 10-6. The Hawkeyes scored nine runs on eight hits in the inning.
Maryland would respond in the sixth, taking advantage of a pair of errors by the Iowa defense. Infield singles from Matt Woods and Zmarzlak each scored a run, and the Terps trailed 10-8 with the bases loaded and one out, but the Hawkeyes turned a double play to end the inning.
After Andrew Johnson walked the leadoff man in the bottom of the eighth, Nigel Belgrave entered the game looking to keep the deficit at two. The Iowa offense had other intentions, scoring two runs on two hits in the inning to add to their lead.
The Terps went down quietly in the top of the ninth to end the game. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak, as Maryland moves to 17-10 overall, and 2-1 in Big Ten play. The Terps will return home to take on William & Mary on Tuesday before hosting Rutgers for a weekend series.