Tigers can’t hang with Terrapins
Towson (20-21) dropped the first game of a home-and-home series against Maryland (26-17) Tuesday at John B. Schuerholz Park by a score of 9-1.
The Tigers were 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position, and left 15 runners on base. All 15 runners were stranded in the first six innings, which at the time put them on pace to break the NCAA nine-inning record of 23 runners left on base set by the University of Arizona, a record that has stood since 1979.
“Some of it is bad luck,” Head Coach Mike Gottlieb said. “Sometimes you hit the ball hard and it’s at somebody. Part of it [is] we have to take responsibility for swinging at bad pitches. We need to do a better job with that. There’s no question that was a problem today.”
In the first inning, Maryland first baseman Tomo Delp reached after being hit by a pitch, and third baseman K.J. Hockaday followed with a single with two outs. With second baseman Kyle Convissar at the plate, Hockaday drew a throw from catcher Andrew Parker and got in a rundown between first and second base and allowed Delp enough time to score and give Maryland an early 1-0 lead.
The Terrapins added another in the second inning with more small-ball after Convissar singled to lead-off the inning. After advancing to second base on a bunt from designated hitter Jack Cleary, Convissar stole third and scored on a squeeze bunt by center-fielder Korey Wacker to increase the Maryland lead to two runs.
In the third inning, the Terrapins added their third run of the game on an RBI single from Delp after shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez led the inning off with a double.
Meanwhile, the Tigers struggled to capitalize in the early goings, loading the bases with two outs in the second inning and one out in both the third, fourth and fifth innings. Towson scored just one run in those innings, and it resulted from a bases-loaded walk to right fielder Dominic Fratantuono in the fourth inning.
In wake of Towson’s struggles at the plate, Maryland broke the game open with four runs in the fifth inning, three of them coming with two outs on RBI singles by Wacker and left-fielder Michael Montville. Hockaday drove-in the first run of the inning with a double that scored rightfielder Jordan Hagel from second base.
Both teams were scoreless for the next three innings, but the Terrapins shut the door in the ninth inning with a two-run home run by pinch hitter Matt Bosse. His first career home run gave Maryland a 9-1 lead that they would not relinquish.
“We got our butt kicked and we need to improve on the things we’re capable of,” Gottlieb said. “They gave us opportunities to get back in and be in the game, and we just didn’t take advantage of it.”
In the eighth inning, senior pitcher Tyler Austin struck out Montville to set a Towson record by striking out his 177th career batter, breaking the previous mark set by Bryan Simmering in 2001. Afterward, Austin fanned three more batters in the game to put his career total at 180.
Towson and Maryland concluded their series late Wednesday night at Shipley Field.