Centerfielder Zach Jancarski watches a ball low to walk. UMD Baseball faced Purdue on April 20th, 2018. (Richard Moglen)

Terps drop heartbreaker to Purdue in extras

An excellent performance from Hunter Parsons went to waste as the Maryland baseball team (16-22, 3-7) couldn’t maintain a lead against Purdue (18-16, 6-4), dropping the contest 4-3 in 11 innings.

Making his first Saturday start this season, Parsons threw eight strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three strikeouts.

The Terps’ offense gave him some support early when they took a quick two-run lead in the first inning. Junior A.J. Lee reached on an error by the shortstop to lead off the frame, and advanced to second on Kevin Biondic’s single. Will Watson drove in the game’s first run on a single to left field and Zach Jancarski smoked a double to left, plating another run.

The Boilermakers chipped away at the deficit, and eventually knotted the game up with a run in both the third and fifth innings. Harry Shipley connected for his first home run of the year and cut Maryland’s lead in half. A single, sacrifice bunt, another single and a fielder’s choice brought in Purdue’s second run.

The Terps regained the lead in the seventh with some heads-up baserunning. Tommy Gardiner walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on Justin Vought’s sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Nick Dunn rolled a soft grounder to the shortstop beating the throw by half a step. Gardiner caught the Purdue defense off guard and came all the way around from second to score.

Dunn had three hits on the day. He has been Maryland’s best hitter this season, owning a team-leading .340 average, 50 hits and 26 RBI.

Head coach Rob Vaughn elected to go with John Murphy for the ninth instead of Kevin Biondic, who had pitched to a 0.50 ERA in 18 innings of relief his first season on the mound. Murphy gave up a solo shot to Dustin McGowan, blowing the save. Biondic then took to the mound from first base, recording the final two outs and keeping the game tied.

Two innings later, McGowan came back to deal the final blow to the Terps, hitting his second homer in as many at-bats to give Purdue the 4-3 lead.

It was another frustrating day for Maryland’s offense. Despite seven of nine starters notching at least one hit for a total of ten, they managed just three runs.

The Terps will look to quickly shake off the loss and try to salvage the final game of the series. The Sunday finale begins at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on BTN Plus and Maryland Baseball Network.