File photo by Angela Roberts/The Left Bench

Delaware baseball sweeps Maryland with walk-off home run

By the bottom of the third inning on Tuesday, the Maryland baseball team seemed to have the rematch against Delaware in the bag. But, a sloppy fourth inning on defense and an unraveling pitching staff saw the Terps lead disappear, and the Blue Hens took the second game of the series with a walk-off homerun, sweeping the Terps.

Maryland got on the board early with a leadoff triple from senior Zach Jancarski, who scored off a Nick Dunn groundout, giving the Terps the 1-0 lead in the first inning. Delaware starter Matt Hornich lasted two innings, recording one strikeout and allowing the one run.

Then, the Terps had a five-run top of the third. Blue Hens reliever Matt Ryan walked two batters in a row then hit Jancarski with a pitch, loading the bases. That was it for the reliever, who was replaced by Nick Spadafino after facing only three batters.

But, the new reliever could not save the day for Delaware , allowing Nick Dunn to reach on an error that left Jancarski safe at second. Then, Marty Costes was hit by a pitch and, two batters later, Randy Bednar reached on another error. Five of the Terps’ six baserunners came home that inning, giving Maryland a 6-0 lead.

That lead didn’t last, however, as Terrapin starter Mark DiLuia gave up a leadoff double and a walk to start the bottom of the fourth. The Blue Hens had a series of hits in the inning, with two singles, two doubles and a triple, bringing five runners across the plate to cut the Maryland lead to one run.

That was the last inning of work for DiLuia, who ended his day with three strikeouts, allowing five earned runs.

The Maryland bullpen started off strong, with two scoreless innings from Mike Vasturia and one from Elliot Zoellner. In the bottom of the eighth, however, Zoellner struggled. After walking the leadoff batter, his time on the mound ended with a single from Zach Miller that gave Delaware runners on the corners with no outs. With that, the Terps brought in freshman Grant Burleson.

Burleson was unable to keep the Blue Hens off the board, and they tied the game after Austin Niggebrugge scored on a fielder’s choice. The Terps were forced to go to the bullpen yet again, bringing in closer John Murphy to record the last out of the inning, striking out Diaz Nardo.

Maryland needed a big comeback in the top of the ninth, but fell short as Kevin Biondic groundout with runners on first and second. With that, the Terps’ last hope was extra innings, and they needed Murphy to keep the Blue Hens off the board in the bottom of the ninth. After working through the first two batter with ease, Murphy gave up a walk-off solo home run to Calvin Scott, ending the Terps’ night.

Maryland takes on the East Carolina Pirates next in Greenville, North Carolina, for a weekend series starting Friday at 6:30 pm. The Pirates are currently ranked No. 18 by D1 Baseball.