After a 14-1 loss to James Madison at home on Tuesday, the Maryland Terrapins’ struggles against smaller Virginia schools continued Wednesday in Falls Church. Despite a late comeback bid, early slip-ups doomed the Terps in a 9-5 road loss to George Mason that wasn’t nearly as close as the result would suggest.
Drew Wilden started for the first time since the Terps’ March 13th win over Delaware. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the return he would have hoped for. Designated hitter Aaron Yurko – a .184 hitter coming into the game – gave the Patriots an early lead with a two-run single in the first. Wilden struggled into the third inning, when Bailey Klein extended the lead to three with a solo home run.
Neither Matt Diluia or Sean Fisher could hold the Patriots back over the next three innings. through a combination of excellent control from the batters and poor pitching control from the Terps, George Mason made it 7-0 by the end of the 6th inning, with RBI singles from Klein, Daniel Brooks, and Alejandro Aponte – and, to add insult to injury, one run off a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, when DiLuia plunked catcher Logan Driscoll in the fourth.
In the first six innings, Patriots freshman Patrick Halligan gave the Terrapins no breathing room. He only allowed four baserunners over that time: two singles, a walk, and a hit batter. By the seventh inning, though, he faltered, and Maryland finally started digging out of their hole. After issuing a walk to Doss and allowing a single to Chris Walls, Halligan left in favor of Mason Posey.
He couldn’t stop the momentum, however, and the Terps finally broke through on a two-run single by Pineiro. Another single by A.J. Lee brought the deficit down to 7-3. In the bottom of the inning, Andrew Vail came in to relieve Fisher and walked the first two Patriot batters, and walked another with two outs, but got out of the bases-loaded jam by inducing Brady Acker to pop up.
The Terps added more pressure in the top of the eighth, as Trevor Wright opened with a single and Costes doubled to move him to third. The middle of the order could not seal the deal, however, as Posey’s replacement, James Beasley, retired the next three in order.
Any realistic hope of a miracle rally died in the bottom of the inning when Maryland’s fielding, a sore point all season long, gave two of the runs back. Michael Pineiro’s fielding error allowed Klein and Driscoll to score and pad the Mason lead to 9-3. The Terrapins did manage to score two more in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn’t enough.
Halligan took the win for George Mason, having pitched six ⅓ scoreless innings and only allowing two hits. The win advances his record to 3-3.