Portland’s early onslaught enough to squeak by Terps in series opener

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Zach Toglia stepped into the right handed batter’s box with two runners on and one out in the bottom of the third. Toglia was no stranger to this situation, having come up in the bottom of the first with the same conditions. Toglia drove a two RBI double into left field the first time and the second time was no different. 

Toglia drove in four of the Pilots’ five runs helping Portland win the first game of the weekend series, 5-3, over the Maryland Terrapins, Friday night. 

Toglia finished two for four recording both of the Pilots extra base hits. All of Toglia’s hits came against Maryland’s starter Kenny Lippman. 

Lippman struggled in the first inning for the second start in a row, giving up three runs. Unlike his start against Charlotte, Lippman wasn’t hindered by walks, but contact. 

Jake Holcroft got the first hit of the game with a high chopper that he was able to beat out. Holcroft made his way to third base on a steal and wild pitch. Jonas Salk joined him on base due to a hit by pitch. Christian Cooney came through with runners at the corners, rocketing a hard line drive over the head of Kevin Keister at shortstop, scoring the first run of the game.

Toglia followed him with his first two-RBI double of the evening, sending the Lippman offering into the corner of left field. Lippman finished the inning after a mound meeting with pitching coach Jimmy Jackson, but the Terps trailed, 3-0. 

The Portland lead grew to five in the bottom of the third via Toglia’s second two-RBI double. That lead seemed insurmountable considering the dominance from Pilots’ starter Nick Brink. 

Brink came into the game following a rough start in his last outing against Creighton. Brink pitched three innings in that game giving up six earned runs while walking four. 

Brink was a completely different pitcher against the Terps pitching seven innings only allowing two earned runs. Brink struck out 11 Maryland batters, six of them looking, and didn’t allow a free pass all evening. Brink’s two earned runs came in the seventh, the same inning he gave up his only extra base hit of the game. 

The extra base hit came from the bat of Sam Hojnar. Hojnar’s double followed a Chris Hacopian single, putting the two base runners in scoring position. Hacopian scored Maryland’s first run of the game on a wild pitch and Hojnar scored its second on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Keister.  

The Terps scored one more run in the top of the eighth on an Eddie Hacopian double deep into left field, but that was the last run the Terps scored. Maryland was retired in order in the top of the ninth, all on strikeouts. 

Maryland struck out 16 times in the game facing three different Pilots pitchers. The Pilots offense struck out a total of five times in the game, although they didn’t score another run after the third inning. Andrew Johnson was the only Maryland reliever, coming in for Lippman in the bottom of the sixth and pitching three scoreless innings.  

Lippman’s day ended with a five inning outing allowing five earned runs on six hits. Lippman struck out four Pilots batters and walked one. 

The loss is Maryland’s second Friday loss in a row. The Terps will need to win the next two games of the weekend to avoid losing their first weekend series of the year.