Maryland falls behind early and loses to James Madison

Despite recent success in midweek games, the Maryland Terrapins have struggled to find reliable starting pitching in those contests. That trend continued in the Terps 14-1 loss to James Madison on Tuesday.

The Dukes (21-17) jumped on the Terps (18-18) from the first pitch. Trevon Dabney took a fastball to the elbow which was followed by a Fox Semones single. A wild throw advanced the runners to second and third and then Kyle Novak ripped a single into right field to put James Madison up 2-0. The Dukes would bat around the order in the first inning and score five runs.

Terps starting pitcher Sean Heine, who was making his first start of the season, would eventually settle down. He pitched three innings in total, allowing five hits and six runs. It was the longest outing of his Maryland career.

“Sean threw the ball better than giving up five in the first,” said Terrapins head coach Rob Vaughn. “Sean’s had some issues of late of being in the zone and controlling that. I thought his breaking ball was pretty good today. I thought he was in the zone. He didn’t walk too many guys, he just hit around a little bit.”

After Heine walked the first batter in the top of the fourth, Billy Phillips came in to relieve him. The Dukes got the bases loaded with one out, but Phillips retired the next two batters to get out of the inning unscathed.

Phillips pitched a scoreless fifth inning but ran into some trouble in the sixth. After one run had already scored, first baseman Brady Haru hit a two run home run over the scoreboard in left field to extend the lead to 9-0.

While the Dukes were struggling to score, the Terps were conversely struggling to even get on base. Dukes starter Michael Bechtold came in with a 10.05 ERA, but shut down the Terps allowing two hits, one walk, and no runs in four innings.

James Madison added some insurance runs in the seventh with another five spot on the scoreboard to push the lead to 14-0.

The Dukes bullpen built on Bechtold’s strong start, allowing only one run in five innings. The sole run for the Terps came in the bottom of the seventh when a Ben Cowles single scored Justin Vought.

“We knew they could really pitch,” Vaughn said. “Honestly, our first five innings of baseball I thought our at-bats were awesome. We hit a lot of balls right on the screws.”

The Terps won’t have much time to rest as they will travel to Fairfax to take on George Mason on Wednesday before returning to College Park for a series with Ohio State. Drew Wilden is expected to be on the mound on Wednesday.

“We’re going to flush this and go back tomorrow and play a George Mason team and then we got Ohio State coming in so for us to dwell on something like this, that’s just going to kill us for the rest of the games this week,” said first baseman Maxwell Costes.