Coming into Friday’s contest, no Big Ten team had a higher batting average than the Michigan Wolverines. The team’s potent offense was at it again on Friday when they beat the Maryland Terrapins 10-7.
The Wolverines jumped on Maryland’s starting pitcher Hunter Parsons right away. A lead off walk issued to Jordan Nwogu followed by a double by Jesse Franklin put runners in scoring positions. Nwogu scored on a sac fly and Michigan took a 1-0 lead. Franklin would score later in the inning to make it 2-0.
In the top of the second, it was more of the same for the Wolverines. With a runner on second, it was Nwogu who would deliver the big hit. His two run home run over the centefield field wall was his fifth of the season and gave Michigan a 4-0 lead. After two walks, Franklin would score after Ben Cowles overthrew Maxwell Costes at first base and it was 5-0 after two.
Parsons would settle down for the Terps. He retired nine straight batters from the third to the fifth inning but because Parsons had thrown 115 pitches, he was done after five. It was his shortest outing since the season opener against Campbell.
“Hunter usually gets some pitches on the edges that he didn’t get early. I think it kind of let him doubt himself a little bit in the first couple innings,” said Terrapins head coach Rob Vaughn. “He came in and regrouped and the fact that he was able to hang three zeros after a two spot and a three spot was huge.”
Michigan starting pitcher Karl Kaufmann was his usual dominant self early on, allowing no runs through five innings. But a Taylor Wright solo home run in the fifth showed some life for the Terps bats.
However, the 5-1 lead would only grow in the next inning. The Wolverines would bat around the order en route a five run inning. The damage could have been worse if not for a leaping catch in centerfield by Chris Alleyne to rob Nwogu of a bases loaded hit.
Maryland did their best to rally back. With two runners on base, Alleyne hit a three run home run off of Kaufmann to make the score 10-4. Kaufmann had allowed only three home runs coming into Friday’s game.
“When you get a chance like that, you need to capitalize on it. We had a runner in scoring position so I was just trying to do my job and get the runner in and not do too much. I got a good pitch to hit and just got lucky and hit a home run,” Alleyne said.
Just when they looked done, the Terps made things interesting in the eighth inning. A combination of hits and walks and suddenly Maryland had the bases loaded down 10-7 with their hottest hitter, A.J. Lee, at the plate. But Michigan reliever got Willie Weiss got Lee to ground out and the threat was dead. Weiss would close out the game unscathed to preserve the victory.
“I told our guys I don’t believe in moral victories but I love the fight that we came out with and the fact that we competed until the last out. I thought the competitive level out of that dugout was really high tonight,” Vaughn said.
The teams will play game two of their three game series on Saturday at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.