Photo courtesy of UM Terps

Maryland uses late rally to beat Illinois

Despite being held scoreless for the first eight innings, Maryland used a four run ninth inning to comeback against Illinois and win 4-2.

Maryland had only one hit heading into the ninth, but A.J. Lee got things started with a single followed immediately by a double from Randy Bednar. With runners on second and third, Taylor Wright laid a perfect sacrifice bunt down the first base line. Lee scored and the deficit was now just one run.

Maxwell Costes was up next and was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners. Then Caleb Walls stepped up to the plate and placed down a bunt that rolled between the pitcher and catcher. Illini closer Garrett Acton scooped the ball right back to home plate, but Bednar beat the toss and the game was tied at two. Acton then walked Justin Vought to load the bases. Josh Maguire was the next man up. Down 1-2 in the count, he watched an Acton curveball bounce in the dirt. Michael Pineiro, who was running for Costes, scored from third to give the Terps a 3-2 lead. Illinois catcher Jeff Korte made a throw to home to get Pineiro out, but Acton slipped and the ball rolled towards the Illinois dugout. Walls turned on the jets and was able to score all the way from second to give the Terps a 4-2 lead.

Terps closer John Murphy came in the ninth inning to shut the game down. He walked the lead-off hitter but then retired the next three to pick up his seventh save of the season. Maryland moves to 14-14, while the Illini are now 19-9.

Maryland could not get anything going offensively early. They had just one hit through eight innings as Illini ace Andy Fisher was mowing them down. It was also an uncharacteristically bad outing for Acton, who hadn’t given up a run all year.

Hunter Parsons was his usual self on the mound for the Terps going eight innings and allowing only two runs. The win snaps a three game losing skid for Maryland.

The teams will play game two of their three game series on Saturday. First pitch is at 2 p.m ET.