Terps split doubleheader, take series

The Maryland Terrapins regained some of their pride on Saturday, splitting a Saturday doubleheader against the Illinois Fighting Illini in Champaign, Illinois. In so doing, they won their first series in over three weeks.

The first game remained scoreless throughout the first half, as starters Zach Thompson and Ty Weber went toe to toe for four innings. Illinois broke through in the bottom of the fifth as Grant Van Scoy scored on a fielder’s choice. He would score again two innings later, crossing the plate on Jacob Campbell’s two-run home run.

The Terrapins finally got on the board when designated hitter Josh Maguire hit a solo home run – his first base hit of the year – but that would be all the scoring for Maryland. The following inning, Van Scoy tormented the Terps again, sealing Illinois’ win with a two-run single.

Weber was excellent, pitching 7 ⅔ and allowing only the home run to Maguire, one of only four hits he surrendered. The loss dropped Thompson to 1-4 on the year.

The three-game series came down to the second leg of the doubleheader. Maryland struck first in the top of the third as A.J. Lee singled on a bunt, scoring Justin Vought. The following batter, Randy Bednar, broke the game open by smashing his fifth homer of the year, a three-run blast to widen the Terps’ lead to 4-0. But just as Maryland had in the first game the day before, Illinois launched a comeback – aided by costly Terp errors.

In the bottom of the fourth, Kellen Sarver hit a sacrifice fly to score Zac Taylor, who advanced to third after a wild pitch by Andrew Vail. Two innings later, the pattern continued. Two fielding errors put men on base, and two singles – by Van Scoy and Jack Yalowitz – drove them home. Another sacrifice fly, this one by catcher Jeff Korte, tied the game at four.

It took only one inning for Maryland to pull the momentum back to their side, and none other than Randy Bednar was the difference-maker. The right fielder singled to bring home Benjamin Cowles and give the Terps the lead, and Maxwell Costes brought it back to four with a three-run homer of his own – his fourth of the year.

Vail, normally a reliever, got a key win in his first decision of the season.

By splitting the double-header, the Terps kept their record at an even 15-15, 3-3 in conference. After a four-day rest, Maryland faces a one-game rematch with William and Mary at home.