It was a cold afternoon in College Park, both weather-wise and for the Maryland baseball team, which lost 7-1 to Delaware.
After a fiver-game win streak, the Terps struggled against the Blue Hens, scoring only one run on nine hits and recording three errors.
“We had nine hits,” said head coach Rob Vaughn, “ we had some good at-bats in there, but it kind of seemed like we’d have two really good ones and three bad ones, and we’d have two good ones one bad one, one good one three bad ones, you know. We just couldn’t quite get that consistency.”
Without help offensively, the Maryland pitching staff struggled to fend off Delaware, with six pitchers allowing a total of seven runs on 12 hits, and striking out 11.
Right-hander Mark DiLuia lasted three innings, striking out five, and giving up three walks and three earned runs on 70 pitches. In the bottom of the fourth, Mike Vasturia came in to relieve DiLuia, taking down the Delaware lineup in order.
“Mark was so good last week, he just didn’t command the zone that well tonight,” said Vaughn. “Mark just wasn’t in the zone as much as he was last week…he got behind in counts, his pitch count got up a little bit, but he’ll bounce back.”
It was during DiLuia’s time on the mound that the Blue Hens took the lead. After DiLuia walked three runners to load the bases, Matt Rykaczewski flied-out to right field, driving home Nick Patten, who was on third, to score.
In the third Delaware put two more runs on the board when Diaz Nardo hit a homerun over the left field wall, scoring Bowren from third and putting the team up 3-0.
Maryland responded in the bottom of the inning, with a solo homer from freshman Randy Bednar with one out, but were unable to chip away any more at the Delaware lead.
Elliot Zoellner replaced Vasturia for the fifth, but a solo homerun from Nick Patten in the inning put the Blue Hens up 4-1. The Terps were unable to respond in the bottom of the inning. That was the last inning for Blue Hens starter Matt Hornich, who allowed three hits and one run in five innings pitched. He was replaced with relief pitcher Chris Ludman.
Delaware added to its lead in the sixth, when Nardo hit a two-RBI double off Maryland reliever Alec Tuohy, bringing in Kevin Mohollen and Kyle Baker, both of whom singled to get on base.
“I thought Delaware did a really nice job of responding,” said Vaughn. “They had great approaches at the plate, their lefty did a great job attacking us and pumping the zone.”
The Terps offense showed some life in the seventh. Back to back two-out singles from Randy Bednar and Zach Jancarski forced Delaware to go to the bullpen, replacing Ludman with Clay Conaway in the middle of Maryland second baseman Nick Dunn’s at bat. Dunn walked, but Marty Costes struck out to end the inning with the bases loaded.
The Blue Hens scored again in the eighth, when Nardo doubled to score Baker, who was on third after tripling. That put Delaware up 7-1 heading to the bottom of the inning.
After AJ Lee and Will Watson singled back-to-back, Delaware brought in Colman Vila for the lefty matchup with Taylor Wright. Wright flied out, but Lee advanced to third giving Justin Morris runners on the corners with two outs. He was unable to take advantage of the baserunners, grounding out.
Grant Burleson entered in the ninth for the Terps, taking down the Blue Hens in order. In the bottom of the inning it seemed Maryland was able to translate the pitching momentum into offensive momentum, with a leadoff single for Bednar followed by singles from both Jancarski and Dunn.
However, like a broke record, the Terps stranded runners on first and second. Bednar was caught at second on Jancarski’s single, then Costes struck out and Biondic grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
“It’s really hard to hit,” said Vaughn, “particularly on a day where I’m standing at third base and can’t really feel my hands. So, we just couldn’t quite string them together.”
Maryland takes on Bryant for a weekend series starting tomorrow at 4 pm.
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