By Megan Smedley
Maryland Baseball’s tough schedule proves to be causing a difficult start to a season in which expectations were high. The team was swept in three straight games by No. 5 LSU this weekend in Baton Rouge.
Brian Shaffer was on the mound Friday night to start the series. It was relatively smooth sailing for Shaffer, that is, until the third inning. Following a wild pitch, Brennan Breaux scored on a triple from Antoine Duplantis. By the end of the inning, Maryland trailed 3-0. The third inning was the only bump in the road for Shaffer. He went six and two-thirds allowing three runs on six hits while striking out six.
After striking out seven times the previous weekend, Kevin Smith was able to find his swing in the fourth inning. Smith ripped a double to left field driving in Brandon Gum and putting the Terps on the board.
LSU extended their lead in the eighth inning with a three-run home run from catcher Michael Papierski following an error from Smith. The Terps had things cooking in the top of the ninth with two runners on but were unable to capitalize. Maryland dropped game one 6-1.
Saturday’s game was a game John Szefc’s squad would like to forget. The Terps were shutout 14-0, thanks to a stellar pitching performance from Jared Poche’. Poche’ one-hit the Terps through eight innings while striking out six. The sole hit for Maryland came from Zach Jancarski in the top of the ninth before Poche’ was relieved.
Maryland’s pitching staff struggled throughout the entirety of the game. So much so that outfielder Jamal Wade had to pitch the final two innings of the game. Starter Taylor Bloom only lasted two innings allowing six runs on seven hits. Cameron Enck came in for relief but was unable to find his groove and only lasted two-thirds of an inning. Enck allowed five runs on five hits while facing six batters. At the end of three innings, Maryland trailed 11-0. Poche’s dominance was unbreakable for Maryland as they fell 14-0.
Hoping to come out of the weekend with one win, Maryland sent Tyler Blohm to the mound Sunday morning. The Terps jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Zach Jancarski ripped a solo home run to left field for his first of the year. Four batters later, Will Watson also smashed a two-run shot to left scoring Marty Costes.
LSU got on the board in the second inning following back to back doubles from Rankin Woley and Josh Smith to cut the Terps lead to one. In the following inning, Kramer Robertson doubled down the left field line to tie up the game at three. Blohm’s day was done and he was finished after two and a third allowing five runs on four hits while striking out two. LSU would go on to score an additional four runs in the inning, taking the lead 7-3.
Maryland turned to small ball to get back in the game in the top of the seventh inning. Four singles resulted in two runs and RBI’s for Marty Costes and Madison Nickens. Costes remains the Terps bright spot in the lineup with a team-leading .423 batting average as he went 3-5 on the day. Maryland cut LSU’s lead to 9-5 at the end of their half of the inning.
Maryland threatened in the eighth inning after LSU pitching surrendered three straight walks but were unable to capitalize. Marty Costes grounded into a fielder’s choice, leaving the bases loaded and ending the Terps chance of a comeback.
The team is now 1-5 on the season following this weekend’s sweep. Maryland’s home opener is this Wednesday against James Madison at 4:00 p.m. Next weekend, they travel down to Cary, North Carolina for the USA Baseball-Irish Classic.