Minnesota Takes the Series in Crucial Game Three

Maryland’s bats went ice cold in a loss to Minnesota in the rubber match of a crucial three game series in late-May Big Ten play. On the day, the Terps lineup went 4-29 from the plate in the 2-1 loss.

Coming into Sunday’s game, Maryland sat at eighth place in conference standings. After the loss, the Terps drop to 10th and have a big hill to climb if they want to reach the postseason.

In what was a pitcher’s duel for most of the contest, Maryland junior Tyler Blohm made his fourth start of the season and threw a scoreless three before surrendering two runs, one earned, in the fourth, his last inning on the mound. In 72 pitches, the southpaw fanned four batters and walked two in his first outing since May 1.

The Terps’ usual Sunday starter, freshman Trevor LaBonte, came out of the bullpen in a big way and kept his team in the game, with 4.2 innings of scoreless work.

With Blohm on a short pitch-count coming off an injury, LaBonte expected to be called upon and did not disappoint in his tenure on the bump. After letting up a hit to his second batter faced in the fourth, the righty sat down 13 straight into the ninth inning.

Minnesota’s starter, Joshua Culliver, tossed 5.2 innings in dominating fashion, conceding only two hits and no runs. The Terrapins could not figure out the Gopher starter and failed to get a hit until the fourth inning.

The Terps almost made a comeback in the final inning of the game when Randy Bednar led off with a home run to center field, his ninth of the season. Third baseman Taylor Wright  followed Bednar with a double into the gap, putting the tying run on second with no outs.

With two on and none out, left fielder Michael Pineiro struck out, followed by catcher Justin Vought’s strike out of his own. Freshman Josh Maguire grounded to short to end spoil the comeback and end the game.

On a day where virtually nothing went their way at the plate, the Terps now look to next weekend’s Big Ten finale against Iowa to push them to the postseason. With the top eight teams in the conference making the tournament, Maryland needs multiple wins at home against a top team in the conference for a shot to play another day.

 

Maryland fails to finish in loss to Minnesota

When Maryland starter Zach Thompson exited the Terps’ Saturday game against the Golden Gophers in the seventh, Minnesota led 5-1, and the right-hander hadn’t given up a run since the second inning.

Then, the Terps put up a two-run eighth inning, closing in on the Golden Gophers, who led 5-3 entering the bottom half.

But Maryland’s bullpen failed to complete Thompson’s start, calling on three relievers in the inning and giving up four runs on four hits and two walks, eventually falling 9-3 to Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Though the Terps controlled Friday’s game en route to their 7-3 win over the Golden Gophers, Maryland (24-26, 9-11) failed to carry momentum from its series opener into Saturday’s matchup with Minnesota (23-24, 12-8). The Terps lost, 9-3, after early defensive struggles and inconsistent pitching combined with a lackluster offense.

Maryland’s troubles started in the first, after the Terps fell in order––the only inning the Maryland didn’t get a runner on base. Then the Terrapin defense, let by the right-hander Thompson, gave up four runs on five hits and two errors in the bottom of the first.

After a leadoff single from Minnesota, an error from Maryland left-fielder Caleb Walls set the tone for the inning, when the ball fell out of Walls’ glove in what should have been a sure out. Then, later in the half, second baseman Benjamin Cowles bobbled the ball and failed to secure an out on a ground ball, loading the bases with two outs. Thompson got our the bases-loaded jam with a pop-up to first base, but not before giving up four runs, two earned, on the two errors and five hits (all singles).

But, while Thompson bounced back, giving up only one additional run on a solo shot from Wilson in the second inning, putting the Golden Gophers ahead 5-1. Maryland’s only run through seven innings came in the second, when Maxwell Costes led off the inning with a solo home run to left field, his tenth homer of the season.

When Costes returned to the dugout, after trotting around the bases, he went over to Thompson and placed his hands on the righty’s shoulders, grinning and seemingly attempting to pump up Thompson and boost the starter’s confidence.

It worked, and the solo shot in the second was the only additional run Thompson allowed in his 7.0 innings of work. He finished with four strikeouts, allowing five runs––three earned––on six hits and one walk.

Maryland committed another error in the fourth, when shortstop A.J. Lee fielded a ground ball and threw the ball short of the bag for an E6. But Thompson worked around Lee’s error, and kept Minnesota from adding to its lead.

Though the Terps struggled defensively, after the first inning Maryland had a chance at a comeback, largely thanks to Thompson’s comeback on the mound. But the Terps couldn’t convert base runners into runs: in six of the first seven innings, Maryland had at least one base runner. And, in two of those innings Minnesota turned a double play to end the half.

Like Thompson, Maryland’s offense started to bounce back. After the right-hander put up a three-up, three-down inning in the seventh, the Terps came out hot to start the eighth. Caleb Walls led off the inning with a double, the first multi-base hit of the game.

A Randy Bednar single brought Walls across the plate, the first of two Maryland runs in the inning. Bednar scored two batters later, after Taylor Wright and Costes both singled.

But the Terps stranded both base runners, unable to finish the eighth-inning rally. Then, Maryland’s bullpen also failed to finish. Nick Turnbull, Sean Fisher and Sean Heine each pitched a third of an inning to pitch the eighth. Turnbull and Fisher gave up two runs apiece. Turnbull got one strikeout, the only K of the inning.

Minnesota’s pitching, led by right-hander Patrick Fredrickson, contained Maryland. Fredrickson lasted 4.2 innings, throwing 69 pitches in his first start since the end of March. The righty allowed one run on two hits, two walks and one hit-by-pitch, while striking out seven.

A combined effort from Bubba Horton, Brett Schulze and  Jeff Fasching finished out the last 4.1 innings, striking out four total Terps and allowing two runs, on five hits and one walk.

Maryland faces Minnesota for the rubber match Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.

Maryland takes advantage of free bases, defeats Minnesota in series opener

After suffering a sweep at home last weekend, Maryland (24-25, 9-10) ensured it wouldn’t leave Minneapolis, Minnesota, under the same fate. Capitalizing on freebies from the Golden Gophers, the Terrapin offense pulled ahead early, a lead Minnesota (22-24, 11-8) tied, but never overcame in Maryland’s 7-3 win in Friday’s series opener.

The Terps got on the board first, taking advantage of a short-lived outing from Golden Gophers’ starter Max Meyer. The right-hander gave up two free bases––a hit-by-pitch and a four-pitch walk––to start the day, before Maryland loaded the bases on a Taylor Wright single.

But when Meyer ran to cover the plate on a Michael Pineiro sacrifice fly, which brought across the Terps’ first run of the night, giving Maryland a lead…, the right-hander seemed to trip and hurt his left ankle, ending his outing at 0.2 innings.

Starting with the two free bases from Meyer in the first, Maryland continued to make the most of freebies from the Minnesota pitching staff. A leadoff walk to Randy Bednar in the third set up Pineiro’s second RBI of the night, a ground-rule double that bounced over the left-field wall.

Then, with reliever Nick Lackey tiring in the fourth, the Terps strung together a series of hits and free bases, putting up three runs in the half to pull ahead 5-2, after the Golden Gophers tied the game at two runs apiece in the third on two singles and a double from the bottom of the lineup.

Of those three runs from the Terps in the fourth, two came from RBI freebies: Pineiro walked in a run with the bases loaded, and catcher Justin Vought took a pitch inside, working the RBI hit-by-pitch.

Once Minnesota put up a run in the sixth––after Parsons gave up a walk and a double to start the inning, and the Golden Gophers put a run across with an RBI groundout from Jack Wassel––Maryland pulled further ahead with a two-run top of the seventh.

After a pair of leadoff walks, a fielder’s choice put runners on first and second with one out as Ben Cowles stepped to the plate. Cowles singled to load the bases, and after a sacrifice fly from freshman Josh Maguire put the Terps up 6-3, Bednar sent an RBI single to left-center field for Maryland’s seventh and final run of the night, securing Maryland’s 7-3 victory.

Minnesota called on five pitchers Friday night, as its bullpen struggled to keep Maryland off the bases. They gave up a combined seven runs on eight hits, six walks, five HBPs and one error, striking out 15 Terps.

For the Maryland, senior Hunter Parsons continued his dominance as the Friday starter.  With five scoreless innings, the righty gave up only three runs on six hits in seven innings, working out of multiple jams while recording eight strikeouts and walking only three. Andrew Vail and John Murphy combined for two scoreless innings, striking gout a combined three and allowing a walk apiece.

Maryland and Minnesota face off for the second game of the series on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

Michigan Pours Runs on Terps in Series Finale

A heavy rainstorm hit College Park Sunday afternoon, which provided the setting for a 13-1 loss for Maryland as they got swept at home for the third time this season. The story of the game – yet again – was the dominating offense of the Wolverines as they hit the gas pedal early and often for the third-straight game against Maryland pitching.

In fact, they slammed on the gas right out of the gates with leadoff hitter Jordan Nwogu. Nwogu took the first pitch for a strike from freshman Trevor LaBonte — who was desperately searching for a bounce-back start — but then turned on the next pitch for a solo shot that just got over the wall in left-center field.

For a second, it seemed like this could be a closely-contested game when Maxwell Costes smoked one up the middle to drive in Randy Bednar, who reached second base on a fielding error by Nwogu in left field.

Michigan made sure that it wouldn’t be closely-contested when in the third inning, LaBonte would run into a pile of problems after walking in two runs. Drew Wilden would enter the game after a 45-minute long rain delay to get Maryland out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam, but surrendered an RBI sacrifice fly in the process, giving Michigan a 4-1 lead.

Another pair of innings later, Michigan pushed their lead to five runs when Miles Lewis, who was in the game to pinch hit for junior Dominic Clementi, crushed a two-run home run off of Terps reliever Andrew Vail – the first long-ball he’s given up all season long.

Then, a torrential downpour of scoring would drown the Terps just an inning later when the Wolverines whacked back-to-back two-run doubles to give themselves 10 runs on the day for the third time this weekend.

A softly-hit single and a couple of errant throws later, and Michigan left the inning satisfied with a 13-1 lead after Maryland burned through three relief pitchers before junior Nick Turnbull was able to stop the carnage.

Turnbull along with John Murphy, who pitched the eighth and ninth, were able to shut out Michigan for the remainder of the game, but the offense failed to carry its own weight down the stretch, allowing the first-place Wolverines to cruise their way into a road sweep — Michigan’s seventh of the season.

Just like the two starters before him, Michigan’s Criswell absolutely shredded the Terps lineup. The lone run that Maryland scored on him went unearned due to an error, but despite four walks on the day, Criswell escaped with five three-hit innings with no earned runs.

The Wolverines bullpen was nearly untouchable, allowing just one hit, although walking three Terps in their four innings of work.

With only two conference series remaining on Maryland’s schedule — both against teams over .500 in Minnesota and Iowa — the Terps will need to shake off this rough weekend set as they continue to cling onto a playoff spot.

 

 

Michigan Outpaces Terps Pitching in 10-4 Loss

What had seemed like a pitchers’ duel between junior Zach Thompson and Michigan’s Tommy Henry on an overcast Saturday afternoon in College Park didn’t last long enough for the Terps when a big Michigan fifth stunted Thompson’s gem in an eventual 10-4 loss.

Through the first four innings, it appeared as if the righty Thompson had finally righted the ship after seeing his season earned-run average sky to 5.12 following a stretch of awry starts dating back to March 30th.

Thompson was one out away from making it through five one-run innings but then allowed the next five Wolverine batters to reach without surrendering a single hit — three straight walks, a hit batter, followed by one last walk that put the Wolverines up 3-1 with the bases still loaded.

Sean Fisher made his first appearance of the series to try and neutralize any further damage in the fifth, but a hard-hit grounder past the third baseman Taylor Wright drove in another pair of runs, extending Michigan’s lead to 5-1.

Michigan would nearly replicate their fifth inning in the sixth, continuing to beat up Fisher and Mark DiLuia, who also made his first appearance of the weekend. While Michigan hardly got any hard contact on their sixth-inning hits, the balls fell in the right spots as a couple of bloop singles following a pair of walks and a double drove in the sixth, seventh, and eighth runs of the day for Michigan as memories of yesterday’s loss come to mind.

However, the Terps were not down and out yet as Maxwell Costes took matters into his own hands with a monster no-doubter into the parking lot beyond the left-center field wall to cut Michigan’s lead to six runs.

Beyond the sixth, the Terps would add one more run after a fielder’s choice allowed Michael Pineiro to come home from third base which would conclude Tommy Henry’s day on the mound. He would finish with six innings of three-run baseball — a quality start for the Michigan lefty.

Michigan’s Jesse Franklin would conclude the Wolverine scoring effort with his 11th home run of the season just within the right field foul pole — a two-run shot that gave Michigan 10 runs for the second game in a row versus Maryland pitching.

With one inning left to pull off any kind of comeback, a solo shot off the bat of Ben Cowles was all the Terps could muster up in the ninth inning as Michigan junior Jack Weisenburger took care of business out of the bullpen, giving Michigan the series win.

Due to inclement weather in the forecast, it’s to be determined if the series finale will be played tomorrow, but as of now, the Terps will look to Trevor LaBonte — who’s in a dire need of a turnaround start — to salvage a win against the first-place Wolverines.

 

 

Terps Nearly Come Back, but Big Offensive Innings from Michigan Prevail in Slugfest

Junior Michigan starter Karl Kauffman meant business when he took to the mound Friday night as the Terps suffered a 10-7 loss to the Wolverines in the weekend series opener.

A date between two of the best pitchers in the Big Ten — Terps’ Hunter Parsons and Wolverines’ Kauffman — looked to be the making of a great game, but Michigan’s offense got off to a very quick start. It all started when a walk and a double placed two Wolverines in scoring position, followed by an RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Jordan Brewer. Michigan added on one more run in the first when five-hitter Blake Nelson lined a two-out single to left field, bringing in Jesse Franklin.

The Michigan scoring onslaught continued into the second inning when sophomore Jordan Nwogu crushed a home run over the batter’s eye in center field. The third run of the inning would score after a nice sliding grab by Terps’ second baseman Ben Cowles turned into a throwing error that allowed the Wolverines to take a 5-0 lead.

Both offenses would remain relatively quiet as the game moved through the middle innings, but the Terps finally put one on the board in the sixth inning courtesy of a Taylor Wright solo shot to left-center field, but just when the Terps may have found the spark they needed to climb back, Michigan fizzled it out in the seventh inning.

With Parsons leaving the game after five innings (115 pitches), righty Sean Heine took over for the next couple of innings. Heine pitched a clean, 1-2-3 inning in the sixth, but his first appearance of the weekend took a complete 180-degree turn in the seventh when a combination of walks and singles loaded the bases for Michigan. The result was a nasty five-spot in the box score and the Wolverines found themselves with a comfortable 10-1 lead.

After being down nine runs, the Terps offense could’ve easily decided to slow down the effort after the seventh-inning stretch, but a botched inning-ending double play opened up the door for a big inning for Maryland. Sophomore Chris Alleyne was nearly robbed, but he was able to knock one over the right-field wall for a three-run home run.

The Terps scored three more runs in the next inning when back-to-back RBI off the bats of Caleb Walls and Justin Vought, respectively, followed by a bases-loaded walk from Alleyne cut Michigan’s lead to three runs. However, the comeback wouldn’t come completely into fruition after AJ Lee stranded the bases loaded as the potential go-ahead run.

Michigan would finally end all hopes of a Maryland comeback when closer Willie Weiss made an appearance with two outs in the eighth to execute a four-out save despite walking the leadoff man in the ninth.

The Terps will look to even up the series tomorrow with Zach Thompson on the mound, and could potentially be playing two with inclement weather in the forecast for Sunday.

 

Maryland struggles, comes out on top in midweek against Villanova

In its next-to-last midweek matchup of the season, Maryland (23-22) struggled to find consistency on Wednesday against Villanova (11-30). After pulling ahead to a four-run lead early, a struggling Terrapin bullpen threatened to throw away Maryland’s lead in the eighth.

But a huge double play got the Terps out of the inning and Maryland pulled off its eighth midweek victory of the season, defeating Villanova 5-2.

Junior Tyler Blohm made his second start in as many weeks on Wednesday, after struggling with a lingering shoulder injury to start the Terps’ 2019 campaign. The southpaw retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up his only walk on the day––a four-pitch freebie to start the fourth.

Blohm bounced back and struck out the next batter with his 49 pitch, reaching his pitch limit and forcing the Terps to make the call to the bullpen. His performance on the mound earned the southpaw the win, his first since 2018.

Though reliever Nick Turnbull gave up an RBI-double to the first batter he faced, the righty quickly grew comfortable on the mound. A junior as well, Turnbull gave up only the one run in his 3.2 innings of work, striking out five Wildcats.

Behind Blohm and Turnbull’s solid arms, Maryland’s aggressive base running early proved worthwhile, the Terps’ four-run second inning all that was required for the midweek victory.

Maryland executed an almost perfect hit-and-run in the second, after Caleb Walls singled to start the inning. As Justin Vought made contact with the first pitch of his at-bat, sending the ball through the left side, Walls rounded second to give the Terps runners on the corners and no outs.

Walls didn’t score however, as the junior was tagged out on a sac bunt attempt. But the Terps loaded the bases on the fielder’s choice and a subsequent walk, and a groundout and back-to-back singles from A.J. Lee and Randy Bednar drove in Maryland’s four runs.

But the Terrapin bullpen almost threw away that four-run inning, after Elliot Zoellner and Daniel O’Connor loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth.

Freshman Andrew Vail and the Terps’ defense ensured Maryland’s victory, however, as infield turned an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play, and the lefty struck out four batters to end the Wednesday matchup.

A solo homer from Vought to lead off the ninth capped the Terps’ offense, a simple response to the Wildcats’ busy bottom of the eighth.

Maryland returns home to face Michigan in a three-game series on Friday.