Taylor Stiles was on the mound and if he didn’t deliver a pitch that would end the inning, the umpires would call the game and his team would not get a chance to go to the plate for their final attempt at a comeback.
The Terps were in no hurry to end their series with LSU, even though they needed to catch a flight home.
Maryland just barely made its 2:30 p.m. travel curfew that was set for the game in a 9-5 loss to No. 5 LSU on Sunday in Baton Rouge. The Terps start the year 1-5, their worst start since 2010.
No new inning can start after the preselected time on a travel day and it was 2:29 p.m. with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the eighth.
Stiles beat the clock and caught Greg Deichmann looking.
Ultimately, it wouldn’t matter.
Shortstop Kevin Smith walked to the plate in the ninth with two outs and a runner on first and whiffed at the last two strikes thrown to end the game.
It was a fitting way for the Terps to end the game, as they struck out 15 times. Smith and first baseman Brandon Gum each struck out three times.
The Terps weren’t behind the whole game, though. Center fielder Zach Jancarski led off the game with a solo home run that was soon followed by a two-run long ball from designated hitter Will Watson to give the Terps a 3-0 lead in the first.
It looked like the Terps could avoid the sweep until LSU blew the game open in the third inning.
The Tigers tied the game and put two men on with two outs. DH Rankin Woley delivered a hard-hit grounder to third baseman AJ Lee, who mishandled the ball. The error allowed every runner to reach and loaded the bases.
LSU scored four runs after the blunder.
Maryland looked like it could come back multiple times, loading the bases once in the fourth and again in the seventh.
The Terps only managed to score two runs off those opportunities.
It was a quiet weekend overall for Maryland, scoring just six runs. LSU scored 26. Fourteen of those runs came off starting pitching. Tyler Blohm allowed five runs Sunday, although just two of those were earned.
After a troublesome weekend for the bullpen in the Clearwater Tournament last week, the bullpen pitched more effectively. Andrew Miller, Mike Rescigno, Tayler Stiles and Ryan Hill combined for 4.2 innings and allowed just two hits to an LSU lineup that lit up the scoreboard Sunday.
Right fielder Marty Costes continued to stay hot, collecting three hits in five at-bats, bringing his season average up to .423.
Maryland is back in action for its home opener against James Madison on Wednesday.
Edited by Connor Mount.
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