Michigan State pitching stifles Maryland, forces rubber match

Maryland struggled to drive in runs all evening. The Terps left eight runners stranded on the base paths, adding to the 13 they failed to drive in yesterday. Maryland was able to overcome those left behind in Friday’s game, but not on Saturday. 

The Maryland Terrapins lost the second game of their weekend series against the Michigan State Spartans, 5-2, Saturday evening. It’s the Terps first loss on a Saturday this season.

Maryland had plenty of chances to score throughout the evening, but never came up with the big hit when it was required. Two of the Terps best chances to score came in the bottom of the third and fifth. Each inning started with a similar script, beginning with an Elijah Lambros out followed by back-to-back hits from the Hacopian brothers. 

In the third inning Jacob Orr was hit by a pitch loading the bases for Maryland captain Kevin Keister. Keister hit a long fly ball to right center driving in the Terps’ first run with a sacrifice fly. That was all the scoring from that inning. The bottom of the fifth yielded no runs, only two baserunners left stranded. 

The Spartans didn’t leave many runners on the bases through the first three innings, scoring four of their five runs in those three frames. Michigan State started strong, scoring two runs in the first inning, making it five first inning runs so far for the Spartans this weekend. 

Michigan State scored the first run of the inning on an uncharacteristic error from first baseman Eddie Hacopian. Hacopian charged a slow hit ball from right fielder Jack Frank trying to cut down the runner coming home from third base. Hacopian couldn’t field the ball cleanly and both runners were safe. Freshman Ryan McKay drove in the second run on an RBI single through the right side of the infield. 

A second Maryland error led to the Spartans’ other two runs in the third inning. Chris Hacopian fielded a grounder at third base and fired the throw to his brother at first. The throw veered too far left out of the reach of the elder Hacopian going all the way to the Michigan State bullpen. The throw allowed the runner at third to reach home and the runner at first to follow suit. 

Maryland’s starter Logan Koester was able to shut down the Michigan State lineup from that point on, holding the Spartans without a run through the middle innings. The only other Michigan State run the right hander was responsible for came in the eighth when he gave up two hits after starting the inning with over 100 pitches to his name. Koester finished the game pitching seven and a third innings giving up six hits and only two earned runs on a total of 115 pitches. Koester tied his season high in walks allowing three free passes.  

All of Maryland’s runs came against the Michigan State starter, Nick Powers. Powers backed up his seven inning outing against Evansville with an eight inning outing in this game. Powers held the Terps lineup to two runs on seven hits while only walking one batter. The lefty gave up one extra base hit in the game which was a Sam Hojnar solo homer that scored Maryland’s second run. 

Maryland attempted its second comeback attempt in as many games, but after getting two runners on via the walk Chris Hacopian grounded into a double play ending the game. Tommy Szczepanski earned his third save of the season as well as some redemption after giving up the walk-off hit in the prior game. 

The rubber match between the two conference foes will be played on Sunday at 1pm. The Terps are looking to stay undefeated in weekend series this season.