Maryland baseball loses, 4-2, to James Madison, ending win streak at four

Leading 2-0 in the second inning with de-facto midweek starter Zack Thompson on the mound, all seemed to be going well for the Terps Wednesday. 

James Madison’s bats soon changed that. Back-to-back home runs from Fox Semones and Josh Jones put the Dukes up 3-2. Minutes later, they tacked on another run on a wild pitch to take a commanding 4-2 lead. 

While early, that four-run outburst was enough to snap Maryland’s four-game win streak as the Dukes held on for the remaining seven innings, beating the Terps 2-0 at the Bob. 

Thompson’s second-inning struggles epitomized his difficult outing, as he needed 72 pitches to get through four innings — striking out two. Maryland’s bullpen picked up the slack, ceding only one hit until the seventh inning. Yet, on the other side, Maryland’s offense went quiet after the first, recording two hits and squandering numerous opportunities with runners on base. It could never string together the necessary baserunners to threaten the Dukes.

In the first, Maxwell Costes continued his hot streak at the plate, lining a one-hop RBI single off the left field wall to score Randy Bednar, who hit his team-leading ninth double of the season.

The hit-by-pitch magnet once again aided the Terps, as Ben Cowles was hit for the third time this season, Maryland’s 42nd hit-by-pitch of the year. This time, it was with the bases loaded, to double Maryland’s lead to 2-0.

After James Madison’s four-run inning, opportunities became hard to come by on offense for both sides, though the Dukes threatened in the sixth and with freshman Connor Staine on the mound. Two walks put runners on second and third with two outs. Staine was replaced by fellow freshman Sam Bello, who struck out DaVonn Griffin to end the inning.

Maryland had its chance in the seventh with Dukes pitcher Andrew Weight on the mound. A fielding error on a routine ground ball to shortstop Nick Zona started a rally. Weight didn’t help himself, promptly walking Bednar and hitting Costes, to load the bases with two outs.

Lliam Grubbs entered to end the threat, facing Bobby Zmarzlak. The freshman was coming off a two-home run game on Friday against Bryant — a performance that included. Maryland’s first grand slam of the season. He nearly did the same on Wednesday, launching a ball to left field. But he fell just short, as left fielder Chase DeLauter caught it in front of the warning track.

Elliot Zoellner came in and continued Maryland’s stellar bullpen outing, throwing two scoreless innings, extending his scoreless inning streak to start the season at 11 innings. Yet Maryland didn’t offer any support, going down easily to round off a disappointing night.