After taking the first game of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader at home over the Ohio State Buckeyes, and cruising to an 8-3 lead in the second game, the Maryland Terrapins seemed on their way to climbing over .500 and winning another conference series. Their season-long issues with hitting and fielding seemed only a memory.
But as they had against Maine earlier this season, the Terps let a commanding lead slip at home in the second game. Unlike with Maine, Maryland could not recover to take victory.
Maryland started strong in game one, bombarding Buckeyes starter Garrett Burhenn to load the bases with only one out in the bottom of the first. Both A.J. Lee and Taylor Wright came home on wild pitches before Burhenn regained enough control to get Ohio State out of the inning.
Buckeyes shortstop Zach Dezenzo cut the Terps’ lead in half with a home run – his eighth of the year. When Burhenn got two quick outs in the top of the second, the balance looked to have swung Ohio State’s way. But two straight singles from Michael Pineiro and A.J. Lee set up Randy Bednar to bring home Pineiro with a double to left, bringing Maryland’s lead back to two.
Just as soon as Maryland extended their lead, they lost it altogether, as the Buckeyes suddenly got the best of Hunter Parsons. Before the Terps managed an out in the top of the third inning, Ohio State had ripped four straight base hits and put two runs across the plate to tie the game. With one out, catcher Dillon Dingler gave the Buckeyes with a two-run double, then scored himself on a single by Dezenzo.
Momentum swung back toward Maryland in the fourth, as Randy Bednar came through with his his second extra-base-hit of the game, bringing home Lee and Pineiro. The next batter, Taylor Wright, beat out a squeeze bunt to score Bednar and tie the game. One inning later, Justin Vought gave the Terps the lead, bringing Wright home with a double of his own.
The Buckeyes were down, but not out, as Dezenzo hit his second homer of the game to bring them back to within one. Maryland’s offense would not let up, however, and after letting two runners on to start the sixth, Burhenn finally got the hook. The seventh inning was when things truly hit the fan for Ohio State, as Maryland matched the Buckeyes’ third-inning effort with five runs of their own, including three on Maxwell Costes’ eighth home run of the season.
Despite allowing a run in the ninth, Sean Fisher picked up the save for Maryland – his first of the season. Surprisingly, even though game one turned out to be a 14-8 offensive slugfest, both starting pitchers stayed on the mound through the fifth inning, possibly to keep other arms fresh for the second game. This turned out to be a wise decision for both, though it was a pity they didn’t also have the foresight to supply pacemakers for everyone in attendance.
Ohio State got a headstart on their revenge in game two, as Dominic Canzone smashed Zach Thompson’s second pitch of the game over the right field wall to give the Buckeyes an early lead. Two batters later, Brady Cherry hit his own to double the lead.
Unfortunately for Ohio State, Seth Lonsway found it just as hard to shut down the Terps’ offense as Burhenn had in game one. Three times in the bottom of the second he was one strike away from escaping with his lead intact, all three against the same trio who went a combined 9 for 12 in game one. All three times, Lonsway failed to get the job done. First, A.J. Lee doubled to left to score Tommy Gardiner. After Randy Bednar drew a walk, he and Lee scored on an RBI double by Wright which gave Maryland a 3-2 lead.
Maryland piled on in the third, with yet another RBI single from Lee and a wild pitch which brought home Caleb Walls to make the score 7-2. In the fifth, the Terps looked to have put Ohio State away for good when Walls hit his fifth homer of the year to make the score 8-3.
The Buckeyes’ bats finally woke up, starting with Dezenzo, whose RBI single in the sixth cut the lead to 8-4. Brent Todys put the first real scare in the Terps with his two-run home run, and a sacrifice fly by Nick Erwin cut the lead to one before Canzone’s RBI double tied the game at eight.
Just when it seemed Maryland had blown everything, Taylor Wright came to the rescue again, knocking home Pineiro with an RBI single to give the Terps a 9-8 lead. But with John Murphy two strikes away from the save, and Maryland two strikes away from a doubleheader sweep, disaster struck – and once again, it took the form of Brent Todys’ bat. His own RBI single brought in Nolan Clegg for the tying run.
The Terps had a perfect chance to undo their collapse and win the game in the tenth, loading the bases with only one out, but Buckeyes reliever Andrew Magno calmly worked his way out by striking out Costes and Maguire in order. It seemed Murphy would do the same for Maryland in the next inning, before Todys hit one to left for his second homer of the game, giving Ohio State a 10-9 lead which Magno would not relinquish.
For his incredible 11-strikeout effort in the final four innings, including striking out the last six Terrapins in a row that he faced, Magno earned the win. Despite allowing nine runs in game two, the Buckeyes pitching staff did accomplish one positive feat in combining for 21 strikeouts – one more than the major-league record in a nine-inning game.