COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Senior rightfielder Steve Rice continued his hot hitting as he banged out two hits, scored two runs, stole two bases and drove in a pair of runs as the Tigers (21-21-1) dealt the University of Maryland a 10-6 non-conference loss at Shipley Field on Tuesday evening,
Towson and Maryland will play the second game of their two-game home-and-home series on Wednesday afternoon at John B. Schuerholz Park.
For the Tigers, it marked their 15 wins in their last 20 games. The Tigers, who had a 6-16-1 record on March 26, evened their record at 21-21-1.
Freshman righthander Christian Duclos (right) earned the first win of his college career by pitching 1.1 innings of solid relief. Junior righthander Tyler Austin also provided outstanding relief work. He entered the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning and retired eight consecutive hitters.
Senior righthander Zach Umberger nailed down the win by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
The Tigers, who have scored 90 runs in their last six games, got off to another fast start at Maryland, jumping out to an early 5-0 lead.
Senior shortstop Nick Natoli led off the game with a double to centerfield. After he moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by freshman leftfielder Brandon Gonnella, senior righthander Blair Delean proceeded to load the bases by walking senior first baseman Austin Harclerode and hitting sophomore designated hitter Andrew Parker with a pitch. Natoli was thrown out at home plate trying to steal. Moments later, Rice doubled to rightfield, driving in two runs to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Delean retired senior third baseman Chris Wychock on a fly ball to end the threat.
In the bottom of the first inning, senior righthander Tyler Bugna found himself in immediate trouble when he walked the leadoff batter, centerfielder Korey Wacker, on four pitches. Wacker advanced to second base on an infield ground ball and he stole third base with two outs. Bugna pitched out of the inning when he retired freshman rightfielder Austin Kilbourne on a ground ball to Natoli at shortstop.
The Tigers extended their lead to 5-0 in the third inning. Junior centerfielder Ben Winter led off with a double and freshman second baseman Mike Draper drew a walk. A sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Brian Wyman moved both runners into scoring position. Natoli's second hit of the game, a single to rightfield, drove in Winter as Draper went to third base while Natoli went to second base on the throw. At that point, senior lefthander Eric Potter relieved Delean. Draper scored to make it 4-0 when Potter threw a wild pitch. After Gonnella walked to put runners on first and third, Natoli scored on a wild pitch to increase the Tigers' lead to 5-0.
Maryland made a strong bid to get back in the game in the bottom of the second inning against Bugna. Freshman first baseman Tim Kiene led off with a double. After Bugna retired the next two hitters, freshman third baseman Jake Stinnett singled to rightfield, scoring Kiene to cut the deficit to 5-1. A walk to senior designated hitter Curtis Lazar and a bunt single by Wacker loaded the bases. But, Bugna stranded all three runners as junior shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez grounded out to shortstop.
In the third inning, the Tigers increased their lead to 6-1 when Rice drew a leadoff walk and stole second base with two outs. After Draper reached on an error to put runners at first and third base, Rice and Draper pulled off a double steal as Rice scored the Tigers' sixth run of the game.
The Tigers upped their lead to 8-1 by adding two more runs in the fifth inning. Rice led off with a single to centerfield. Wychock followed with a double to leftfield, scoring Rice from first base. After Winter lined out, Wyman doubled to left, driving in Wychock.
Maryland started its comeback in the bottom of the fifth inning. Bugna opened the inning by walking Lazar and Wacker. After the walks, Bugna was relieved by freshman righthander Christian Duclos. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before Duclos struck out Rodriguez. A sacrifice fly by junior second baseman Ryan Holland cut the Tigers' lead to 8-2. When Kilbourne drew a walk, the Terps had runners on first and third base.
When Duclos was called for a balk, Wacker scored to make it an 8-3 game. An RBI single by Kiene drove in Maryland's third run of the inning as the lead was cut to 8-4. Duclos finally pitched out of the inning when he retired freshman leftfielder Kyle Convissar on a fly ball to right.
In the sixth inning, the Tigers added two more runs. Gonnella led off by drawing a walk. When Harclerode reached on a bunt single, the Tigers had runners on first and second base with no outs. After freshman pinch hitter Hunter Bennett struck out, sophomore lefthander Jimmy Reed made a throwing error while trying to pick Harclerode off first base, Gonnella came in to score to make in a 9-4 lead. After Rice struck out, Wychock singled through the left side to drive in Harclerode to give the Tigers a 10-4 advantage. Winter followed with a single to leftfield but Convissar threw Wychock out at the plate, retiring the side.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, freshman catcher Alex Ramsey led off with a single. After Stinnett struck out, Lazar doubled down the leftfield line. When Wacker singled to rightfield, Ramsey and Lazar scored to make it a 10-6 lead.
Junior righthander Tyler Austin came out of the bullpen to relieve Duclos. He restored order by retiring Rodriguez on a fly ball and Holland on a pop up.
Austin retired the Terrapins in order in the seventh and eighth innings before senior righthander Zach Umberger came on to pitch the ninth. He nailed down the win by shutting out the Terps in the ninth.
The Tigers, who took advantage of four Terrapin errors, outhit Maryland by a 12-8 margin. Winter led the Tigers with three hits and scored a run. Wychock added two hits and drove in a pair of runs while Natoli contributed a pair of hits.
Towson will be seeking to sweep the two-game series when the Tigers host Maryland on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.