The Terps have made a habit of chipping away at deficits but No. 18 Michigan continued to add to its lead Sunday in a 6-2 victory over Maryland at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
Michigan tacked on runs in the fifth and sixth innings after plating three in the third. Maryland coach John Szefc said minimizing the damage done in the fifth and sixth was a success given how many chances the Terps gave Michigan.
“They scored in four of the nine innings, and actually, we felt like they scored more than that,” head coach John Szefc said. “We just really weren’t at our best.”
The Wolverines got off to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first but the Terps answered right back with one of their own in the bottom of the frame. Second baseman Nick Dunn led off with a double and then legged out two more bases on a single up the middle from right fielder Marty Costes.
Left-handed starter Tyler Blohm made it safely through the second and third innings, but he had a shorter-than-usual leash in the fourth.
Blohm had an 0-2 count on Michigan center fielder Jonathan Slater but allowed a leadoff single and then threw a four-pitch walk, which was followed by a passed ball.
“He just kind of lost his feel for the strike zone and an inning like that blows up quick,” Szefc said. “That’s the only three-run inning we allowed all weekend, and of course, it killed us.”
After throwing a second straight walk, Szefc pulled Blohm. He threw just 55 pitches.
“At that point, Blohm was missing by a fair amount,” Szefc said. “You have to consistently pitch and make good pitches to get them out or else they keep chipping away.”
Michigan turned that inning into a 4-1 lead, and all four runs were charged to Blohm.
He was credited with the loss, his first in three weeks. The lefty pitched 15 total innings of shutout ball and allowed just five hits in his last two starts. Blohm earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for each performance.
The Terps tried to turn in another one of their signature comebacks in the ensuing innings, but deserted too many runners. Eleven players reached base but eight were stranded.
Costes and designated hitter Will Watson, hitting in the three and four spots in the lineup, combined to reach six times. Watson is batting .310 this season while Costes is hitting .359. Costes went 2-for-4 and drove in a run Sunday.
“The chips are falling where they are for me and I’m just taking my hacks,” Costes said.
Watson played exceptionally, turning all four of his plate appearances into trips to first base. He went 2-for-2 with two walks.
“It’s so comforting [to have Watson bat behind me] because it takes a lot of pressure off me,” Costes said. “Going up to the plate, I know I don’t have to do too much and that contributes a lot toward my success.”
The Terps dropped to 15-8 after picking up wins in the first two games against Michigan. The loss rounds off a 3-2 week in which Maryland split a two-game series with UNC-Wilmington.
“It’s a disappointing day but not a disappointing week,” Szefc said. “Today, you walk away with a little bit of a sour taste in your mouth.”
Despite the loss, the Terps opened Big Ten play with a series win.
“I thought this weekend was a huge positive,” Szefc said. “Our goals is to win conference series and that’s what we did.”
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