Three home runs in the first two innings proved too much to overcome, as the Maryland Terrapins fell 3-2 to the Creighton Blue Jays in the first of a three-game set Friday night.
The series was originally scheduled for TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, but poor field conditions resulting from snowfall in the area prompted a move to College Park. Ironically, even with the relocation, the weather remained an unavoidable factor on Friday, as high winds buffeted the players all night. Unfortunately, the home field advantage did little to help the Terrapins, who have now lost their last four games at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. This comes after dominating a fairly equal Elon team on the road in a two-game series.
Creighton’s leadoff batter, Isaac Collins, put the Terrapins in an early hole when he blasted a Hunter Parsons pitch over the left-field wall to make it 1-0. Jordan Hovey and David Vilches tacked on solo homers of their own in the following inning. Still, Terps manager Rob Vaughn kept Parsons on the mound, where he stayed for eight solid innings.
From there, the game evolved into a classic pitcher’s duel. Neither team could generate much offense for the latter half, as Parsons went toe-to-tie with Creighton’s Mitch Ragan. Aside from a double by Jack Strunc, the three home runs were the only hits Parsons allowed all game – none coming after the fourth. Meanwhile, Ragan forced the Terrapins into rough swings throughout the game, finishing with 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
There was a brief interruption in the parade of pitching when Randy Bednar smacked his fourth home run of the season to cut the Terps’ deficit to one. However, Ragan recovered to retire the side and kept Maryland off the board, finally exiting the game after the seventh inning.
In the top of the eighth, Creighton manager Ed Servais played chess with his bullpen, sending out John Sakowski to start the inning. After Sakowski struck out Randy Bednar, Servais pulled him for Ryan Connolly, who walked the tying run on base. Connolly then gave way to Bobby Kametas, who retired both Maxwell Costes and A.J. Lee to end the inning. In the ninth, pinch-hitter Ben Cowles walked and worked his way onto second to represent the tying run with one out, but with one last chance to tie the score, Tommy Gardiner struck out and Chris Alleyne grounded out to second to end the ballgame.
Despite outhitting Creighton 5-4, Parsons’ early misfortune put the Terrapins in a hole from which they could not climb. The loss drops his record to 3-2 for the season.
Zach Thompson will start for Maryland in the second game on Saturday.
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