The Maryland Terrapins are officially back above the .500 mark for the first time since April 13th. Their four-game road trip through the Keystone State ended in victory, with a 5-2 win over the Villanova Wildcats at Plymouth Meeting.
The star of the game was the Maryland pitching staff, as all five Terps arms combined to allow only one Villanova hit. Still, control issues did allow the Wildcats two free runs, keeping the game close into the later innings.
After a scoreless first, Maryland took the early lead with a four-run second. Ben Irvine, making only his eighth appearance this season, drove in the first run on a groundout to pitcher Ryan Toohers. The next batter, A.J. Lee, cleared the bases with a two-run single that made the score 3-0, which soon increased to 4-0 after another single by Randy Bednar. Toohers struggled on until the final out of the inning, but no further.
In the fourth, the Wildcats got one back when Nick Lorusso doubled to left – which turned out to be the only Villanova hit of the game – scoring Dylan McNary to cut the Terps’ lead to three. However, Nick Turnbull kept the damage limited. As Villanova sent the tying run to the plate with runners on first and second, Turnbull struck out Pat O’Neill and caused Doug deMarrais to fly out to end the inning.
Everything nearly fell apart for the Terrapins in the bottom of the eighth. Elliot Zoellner and Daniel O’Connor loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter, practically gifting the Wildcats a shot to take the lead. Again, the Terps turned near-disaster into a minor inconvenience. Andrew Vail, the Terps’ fifth pitcher of the game, struck out McNary for the first out, then issued a walk to Chris Rotondo to bring home a second Wildcats run, before ending the threat by getting Lorusso to hit into a double play.
The first Terps batter in the top of the ninth, Justin Vought, avenged the Villanova run with a solo homer – his eighth of the season. Andrew Vail stayed on to pitch the ninth, and picked up a well-earned save credit.
This game represents the first decision of the season for both starting pitchers – a loss for Toohers, and a win for Tyler Blohm, who has returned from a shoulder injury suffered last season. Blohm pitched the first 3 1/3 innings and struck out six without allowing a hit. Lee’s RBI single in the second inning extended his hitting streak to 11, continuing what has been a remarkable turnaround since returning from his own ankle injury earlier this season.