Terps take series opener in 13-8 slugfest

The Maryland Terrapins’ topsy-turvy season took another strange turn Friday, this one for the better. Following Wednesday’s home loss to West Virginia, the Terps went on the road and knocked off Big Ten rival Northwestern 13-8 in Evanston.

I all, seven different Terps picked up RBIs during the game. A.J. Lee led the way, making the most of his three-for-five performance by driving in four runs. Meanwhile, Randy Bednar overcame his four-strikeout letdown from the previous game to pick up 3 RBIs of his own, including two on the game-sealing home run in the ninth.

Maryland started strong, blasting away at Wildcats starter Quinn Lavelle for three runs in the top of the first. Maxwell Costes got the Terps on the board by driving home Randy Bednar with a double, and later scored himself on Justin Vought’s single. Josh Maguire, a recent addition to the regular starting lineup, drove Vought in with a triple. The following inning, A.J. Lee singled, bringing Ben Cowles across to make it 4-0.

In the bottom of the third, Northwestern got on the board as Alex Erro tripled to center field – assisted by a key misplay from Terps center fielder Chris Alleyne. It was only temporary relief for the Wildcats before the Terps’ bats caught fire in the top of the fourth.

Maryland’s offensive onslaught began when A.J. Lee picked up his second run-scoring hit of the game, driving in Alleyne and Cowles. The next three batters – Bednar, Wright, and Costes – each drove in one more run with successive base hits, driving the Terps’ lead to 9-1. Incredibly, Northwestern manager Spencer Allen decided to keep Lavelle in the game throughout the inning, and only sent pitchers into the bullpen after the score hit 7-1.

The normally-reliable Hunter Parsons fell apart. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, the Wildcats launched a comeback. Willie Bourbon scored on a fielder’s choice, making it 9-2. After Parsons plunked Charlie Maxwell, Northwestern put together three straight base hits to cut the Terps’ lead to two. Only a pop-up by Bourbon (after the Wildcats batted around their lineup) saved Parsons from further harm.

The Terrapins regained control, scoring a run in each of the next two frames. Northwestern countered by scoring on a Jack Dunn squeeze bunt to make it 11-8, but one inning later, Randy Bednar’ two-run home run put the game away. To make matters worse for the Wildcats, their final out came when Justin Vought picked off David Dunn (Jack’s younger brother) at first with two runners on.

With the victory, Maryland once again cracked the .500 mark. Despite his shaky performance in the fourth, Hunter Parsons still claimed the win, moving his record to 6-3 this season.

The Terps conclude the series with another rescheduled Saturday doubleheader, as Sunday’s game is not expected to go off on time due to inclement weather in the area.