By Gill Vesely
The Maryland Terrapins beat the Ohio State Buckeyes 2-1 Friday night in College Park to pick up their second win of the three-game series.
The victory followed a 3-0 win in the first game of the day’s doubleheader. After being held hitless through nine innings of game two, the Terps got two hits in the bottom of the tenth inning to seal the deal.
The first hit came from sophomore Zach Jancarski, and after stealing second, he was driven home by Madison Nickens, winning the game for the Terps and sending batting helmets flying into the air in celebration.
“We started him because of the arm on the mound,” Maryland head coach John Szefc said of Jancarski. “As it turns out, Zach hits a base hit against a hard thrower. You’ve got to be tough enough to make your own breaks, and I think our guys made their own breaks.”
Terps starting pitcher Brian Shaffer gave up a hit to Ohio State’s Jacob Bosiokovic in the top of the first, but managed to leave the Buckeye stranded.
Maryland was downed quickly by Buckeyes pitcher John Havird in the bottom of the first.
After a quiet top of the second for the Buckeyes, the Terps were able to get some offense going. Kevin Biondic was hit by a pitch then moved into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Smith. The home team was not able to capitalize on the momentum though and moved to the third inning with the game still scoreless.
Shaffer picked up his first strikeout to end the Buckeyes’ half of the third. On the other side of the inning, Havird recorded two strikeouts to keep the Terps’ offense slow and scoreless through three.
Ohio State’s Ronnie Dawson singled to start the fourth but was quickly thrown out trying to steal second after Terps catcher Justin Morris threw a line drive down to second.
Neither team was able to get on the board in the fifth. The Buckeyes tried to get some offense going in the top of the sixth after Craig Nenning doubled to open the frame. Shaffer, however, had other plans. He threw back-to-back strikeouts then got Dawson to pop out to end the inning.
Ohio State strung together some offensive momentum in the top of the seventh. Nick Sergakis got hit by a pitch then stole second. A single by Jalen Washington pushed Sergakis to third with one out in the inning. Brady Cherry then hit a deep sacrifice fly to score Sergakis and put the first run of the game on the Buckeyes’ side of the scoreboard.
Havird continued to trip up the Terps in the bottom of the seventh, leaving them hitless.
Shaffer was pulled from the game after giving up a hit to start the eighth inning. Rob Galligan came in for the Terps and walked Troy Montgomery, the first batter he faced, putting runners on first and second for the Buckeyes.
Bosiokovic bunted to push the runners to second and third with one out in the inning. After the Terps recorded a second out, Galligan intentionally walked Sergakis to load the bases. The strategy proved to pay off, as the Terps were able to get out of the inning without any further run damage. It stood at 1-0 Ohio State into the bottom of the eighth.
The Terps’ Smith got the crowd on its feet – if only momentarily – with a long fly out to deep center in the home half of the eighth. Maryland wasn’t able to find any luck for the rest of the inning, however, and remained with zeros across their side of the board into the ninth.
Ryan Selmer came in to pitch for Maryland in the top of the inning. He got the Terps out of the inning unharmed.
Despite pitching eight complete innings without giving up a hit, Havird was pulled early in the ninth after hitting Maryland’s Nickens. Michael Horejsei faced one batter and recorded one out for the Buckeyes. Yianni Pavlopoulos then came in for Ohio State. Nickens moved to second on a fielder’s choice a few pitches later.
Pavlopoulos pushed Maryland’s Nick Cieri to a full count before striking him out, but the ball bounced behind Buckeye catcher Washington allowing Cieri to make it safely to first and Nickens to get to third.
Biondic kept the Terps alive after Sergakis misplayed his grounder to third, allowing Nickens to score and putting Maryland pinch runner Anthony Papio on third. The Terps, however, couldn’t score another, pushing the game to extra innings.
Left-hander Zach Guth replaced Selmer on the mound for Maryland with two outs in the top of the tenth. Mike Rescigno came in for Guth a batter later with Buckeyes runners on first and second. He was able to get the Terps out of the jam with the score locked at 1-1.
With one out in the bottom of the tenth, Jancarski finally broke the Ohio State pitching staff’s combined no-hitter with a single back up the middle. He then stole second to get in scoring position with two outs in the inning and Nickens at the plate. Nickens singled to drive around Jancarski and give the Terps the 2-1 win.
“I knew if I got a ball through the infield we were going to win the game,” Nickens said. “So really that was the goal.”
The victory clinched the series, which marked Maryland’s first home Big Ten series. They now stand at 17-15 on the season. Next up for the Terps is the final game of the Buckeyes series Sunday at 1 p.m.