Maryland’s pitching struggles as Cornhuskers end Terps win streak

After 11 pitches, Nick Lorusso dug into the batter’s box, facing a tired and frustrated Nebraska pitcher who he had fouled off of seven times. On the 12th pitch, he launched a rocket over the centerfield wall, giving the Terps a three-run home run.

However, while it was still an exhilarating moment, what should have been a pivotal play for the Terps turned out to be just another attempt of trying to dig themselves out of a hole left by their pitching staff. 

Despite an impressive offensive output, the Maryland’s pitchers were unable to muster much of anything against the visiting Cornhuskers, losing 12-10 in the second game of the series and ending the Terps bid at 10 consecutive victories.

Freshman Kyle McCoy got the starting nod from head coach Rob Vaughn today. McCoy has dealt with some inconsistency issues throughout the season, and it continued today. Nebraska attacked him right away, scoring five runs in the first inning, which included a grand slam. In the third inning, they tacked on four more, forcing Maryland’s skipper to make a change much earlier than he had hoped for. McCoy finished the day with eight earned runs over two and two-thirds innings pitched, with six hits given up, three walks, and one strikeout. The loss moves him to 4-6 on the season, bumping his ERA up to 5.81.

“He was just flat out over the plate against a really good hitting team,” Vaughn said of McCoy. “A lot of pitches ended up in the middle, whether it was the changeup, whether it was the two-seamer, whether it was the four-seamer…and they made him pay. When they’re doing that, you can’t move it in or out or change speeds consistent enough, and that can get you in trouble.” 

Despite the rough start from McCoy, junior Nate Haberthier came in and provided the team with some much-needed productive relief pitching. For the most part, he limited the Cornhuskers’ offense, shutting them out in both the fourth and fifth innings. However, as his pitch count went up into the sixth inning, he too began to struggle a bit. Two walks and two pitches which struck Nebraska batters drove in three more runs in the bottom of the sixth, extending their lead back up to five. Sophomore Andrew Johnson finished things off for the Terps, not allowing a single hit in the final two innings.

“Nate Haberthier was outstanding, that’s the best that guy’s thrown maybe since week one,” Vaughn said. “I thought he was incredible, I thought Logan Ott was incredible. Andrew Johnson comes in at the end, and they gave us a chance. I think that’s the biggest thing. When you give up nine in the first three, that should be a blowout. They were able to stop it, control it, and give our offense a chance.”

As mentioned before, Maryland’s offense was not an issue today. Despite being down the entire game, the offense was able to keep the Terps within distance. They finished the game with 10 hits, four of which were home runs. They also had an excellent effort in battling at the plate, extending multiple at bats and drawing six walks, three of which came from catcher Luke Shliger. Shortstop Matt Shaw was phenomenal once again, finishing the day four for five, two of which were home runs, the other two doubles. He was responsible for three of the team’s 10 RBIs and provided multiple confidence boosts for the dugout. 

“It’s what your best player needs to do,” Vaughn said of Shaw. “He’s an elite player and he gave us a chance today. Just really good swings, really good at bats.”

Although their winning streak is lost, the Terps will have the chance to rebound and capture the series tomorrow, which would extend their Big Ten series victory streak to 20. First pitch will be at 1 p.m.