Feature photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
The departure was familiar, but the end result was less favorable this time for Maryland pitcher Hunter Parsons.
Parsons exited after getting just five outs for the second straight start, but the bullpen and offense couldn’t save him this time, as Maryland fell to North Carolina 9-2 in Chapel Hill on Tuesday.
A pair of defensive mistakes by the Terrapins and a home run Parsons allowed to first baseman Zack Gahagan gave the Tar Heels a 4-0 lead at the end of two innings.
First, catcher Justin Morris let a pitch get behind him, giving leadoff man Brian Miller third base. The extra 90 feet let Miller come home with the first run on Ashton McGee’s sacrifice fly.
An inning later, third baseman AJ Lee pulled his glove up early fielding a grounder down the line. The error granted North Carolina two free bases as the ball rolled into the corner, setting up the Tar Heels to score on another sacrifice fly and an infield single.
Quickly responding with two runs, Maryland flashed signs it could repeat the comeback victory it earned in Parsons’ last start, a 9-8 win over William and Mary last Tuesday. In that game, Maryland trailed 6-0 when Parsons was pulled but scored four the next inning, eventually pulling ahead.
Second baseman Nick Dunn drove in Lee and Morris with a two-RBI single to right in the third. But Maryland was quiet the rest of the way while North Carolina continued to run up the score.
In the fourth, Tar Heels second baseman Ike Freeman lashed an RBI single and McGee drove in three with a home run deep into the trees beyond the right field wall. The four runs came off right-hander Ryan Hill, who had pitched 3.1 shutout innings in relief of Parsons in the Terps win over William and Mary.
Maryland put seven runners on with walks but found it difficult to score with only one hit mustered against North Carolina’s arms. Freshman pitcher Tyler Baum earned a win by tossing five innings while giving up two runs, four walks and the lone hit.
Dunn’s single brought in the first two runs scored on Baum in his young career; he had strung together 10.2 shutout innings entering the game.
Baum and three relievers combined to fan the Terps 12 times. The Tar Heels bullpen delivered four hitless innings, while Maryland’s relievers gave up five runs in 6.1 innings following Parsons’ losing effort.
Parsons received his first loss of the year, with his ERA now sitting at 11.91 after four appearances. He has surrendered 10 runs (eight earned) in his last 3.1 innings.
Its eight-game undefeated streak snapped, Maryland will look to get back into the win column Friday when it opens a three-game series at home against Princeton.