Maryland baseball pulled every trick they had at the plate to try to overcome the Nittany Lions.
Unfortunately for the Terps, Penn State didn’t need a drop of creative baseball to win as they fell 6-5 to the Nittany Lions on Saturday.
Coming off an explosive offensive performance, the Terps hoped to keep momentum in game two against the Nittany Lions.
They couldn’t quite replicate the explosive offense of game one but righthander Connor Staine was stellar to start. The sophomore allowed three hits through his first three innings as the offense performed adequately in the same stretch.
Outfielder Chris Alleyne hit a lead-off single and advanced to scoring position in short order. One Randy Bednar single later and Maryland was on the board, giving the Terps a first-inning lead.
That lead would grow in the top of the fourth, when outfielder Bobby Zmarzlak ripped a two-run shot over the wall. The Terps were up 3-0 and seemed poised to break through in the coming innings.
But Penn State carries a threatening offense of its own. And in the bottom of the fourth, the Nittany Lions began to show signs of the team that smacked 10 runs past the Terps Saturday afternoon.
Tayven Kelley’s two-run double cut Maryland’s edge to one.The Nittany Lions weren’t done either.
Justin Williams smacked a one-run homer in the fifth to tie the game up at three, effectively ending Staine’s day. The sophomore struck out four batters in five innings of work, but departed with an ERA of 6.19.
“There was a little bit of chirping out of their dugout and it got to him and he got fired up,” Vaughn said. “Some guys are better when they’re like that but Connor is better when he can slow things down.”
Sean Fisher replaced Staine in the bottom of the sixth and did admirably to start. He struck out two of the first three batters he faced, helping get the Terps out of the frame unscathed.
Max Costes pinch-hit for Matt Orlando in the top of the seventh, making his return after an injury kept him sidelined for five games. He nearly created some major drama, sending a deep fly toward the fence. But, it fell into center fielder Johnny Piacentino’s glove, ending the threat.
“Just [trying] to have a quality at-bat,” Costes said. “Try to get something started to get the guys going again.”
Costes took first base as the Nittany Lions tacked on one more run to take the 4-3 lead into the eighth.
“Max was clear for a limited role today,” Vaughn said. “…he loo
Coach Rob Vaughn tried to be creative to drum up runs late but it just kept falling short.
And Penn State capitalized, adding another run in the bottom of the eighth to push its edge to two.
With chances dwindling in the ninth, Costes took the plate once more. He slapped a single to left field, giving the Terps a bit of life. With two outs left, outfielder Chris Alleyne stepped to the plate, hoping to keep Maryland’s charge going.
And when Shingledecker’s pitch fell into his wheelhouse, he pounced, whizzing a ball into left field to score Costes. Alleyne pulled into third base content, giving Vaughn’s squad another shot to equalize.
Matt Shaw repeated Alleyne’s feat one pitch later, knocking an extra-base hit of his own to score Alleyne and tie the game up at five.
The hitting momentum eventually died out with a Bobby Zmarzlak strikeout to force a bottom of the ninth. Still, with Elliot Zoellner on the mound, it seemed Maryland was well-equipped to send the game into extras.
But that didn’t happen. Three straight batters reached base, putting the Terps into a bases-loaded-sized hole. And when catcher Josh Spiegel singled and the Nittany Lions poured onto the field, the damage was done.
“Couldn’t quite get it done,” Vaughn said. “Just a disappointing finish.”