COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Senior shortstop Gary Helmick continued his torrid hitting and the Tigers (25-22) outhit the University of Maryland (24-26) by a 13-12 margin. But the Tigers lost for only the third time in their last 11 games as the Terrapins handed the Tigers a 10-7 non-conference loss at Shipley Field on Wednesday night.
With the win, Maryland earned a season series sweep over the Tigers. In March, Maryland dealt Towson a 7-2 loss in a game that was also played in College Park.
The Terrapins broke a 6-6 tie by scoring a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Maryland scored three more runs to take a 10-6 lead, a lead the Terps never relinquished.
In the top of the first inning, the Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead. With one out, junior centerfielder Kevin Collins singled to centerfield. He scored the first run of the game when junior third baseman Steve Yarsinsky doubled down the left field line. A single by senior first baseman Matt Collins moved Yarsinsky to third base. When sophomore designated hitter Austin Harclerode hit a sacrifice fly, the Tigers owned a 2-0 lead.
Junior righthander Nate Curd, who had been sidelined by illness for more than a week, made the start for the Tigers and his lack of activity was apparent from the start. After walking designated hitter Jensen Pupa to lead off the inning, he surrendered a two-run homer to rightfielder A.J. Casario, the second hitter he faced. Casario’s ninth home run of the season tied the game at 2-2. After Curd hit senior third baseman Mike Murphy with a pitch, he walked first baseman Will Greenberg.
After pitching to only four batters, Curd was relieved by sophomore righthander Charlie Cononie. Cononie retired the next three hitters in order, preserving the 2-2 tie.
However, the Terps rallied to score four runs in their half of the second inning off Cononie. With one out, shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. When Pupa doubled to left field, the Terps had two men in scoring position. Casario followed with a two-run single to centerfield, giving Maryland a 4-2 lead. After Casario stole second base, Murphy tripled to centerfield, increasing the Terps’ lead to 5-2. Moments later, Murphy scored on a passed ball to give the Terrapins a 6-2 advantage.
Trailing by 6-2, the Tigers trimmed their deficit to 6-4 in the third inning. With one out, Harcelrode drew a walk. Harclerode moved to third base when sophomore second baseman Chris Wychock doubled to centerfield. A two-run single to rightfield by senior leftfielder Aaron Gabrielian made it a 6-4 game.
The Tigers came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth inning. Wychock led off the frame with a double down the leftfield line. After advancing to third base on a wild pitch, he scored on an RBI groundout by Gabrielian to make it 6-5. Freshman catcher Brian Wyman kept the inning alive with a single to leftfield. After he stole second base, Helmick lined a triple to left field, scoring Wyman with the tying run. For Helmick, who extended his hitting streak to 17 games, it was the eighth triple of the season as he tied the school record set by John Andrade in 1981.
After the Tigers tied the game at 6-6, Maryland took a 7-6 lead by scoring a run off freshman righthander Sean Bertrand. With one out, Rodriguez drew a walk. Pupa gave the Terps the lead with an RBI double to left centerfield. After Bertrand loaded the bases with two more walks, he pitched out of the inning by retiring David Poutier on a fly ball to leftfield.
Still clinging to their 7-6 lead, the Terps padded their advantage in the bottom of the seventh. Rodriguez started the rally with a bunt single. For the second time in the game, Pupa doubled to left centerfield as Rodriguez scored to make it an 8-6 advantage. A bunt single by Casario and a walk to Murphy loaded the bases and brought sophomore righthander Spencer Patton out of the bullpen to pitch. Patton got Greenburg to ground into a double play as Pupa scored to make it a 9-6 lead. When Poutier doubled to left field, Casario scored for a 10-6 advantage. Poutier was thrown out at third base, trying to stretch his hit into a triple.
In the eighth inning, the Tigers tried to get back into the game. With one out, Helmick singled for his 87th base hit of the season, tying the school record set by former All-American Gregg Davies in 2001. With Helmick on first base, Kevin Collins singled to rightfield, sending Helmick to third base. A sacrifice fly by Yarsinsky drove in Helmick to make it a 10-7 lead. However, the rally came to an end when Kevin Collins was thrown out trying to steal second base.
In the ninth inning, junior righthander Dan Gentzler retired the Tigers in order to earn his seventh save of the year.
Helmick, the leading hitter in the Colonial Athletic Association with a .437 batting average, led the Tigers with three base hits, including a triple. Helmick has now hit safely in 44 of the Tigers’ 47 games. He has had 28 multi-hit games, including 11 three-hit games and a pair of four-hit contests.
Kevin Collins, Yarsinsky, Wychock and Wyman each added two hits while Gabrielian drove in three runs.
Pupa and Casario led the Terrapins offensively. Pupa had three hits and scored three runs while Casario had three hits, scored three runs and had four RBI’s.
The Tigers, who finished their non-conference schedule with a 16-13 record, return to action this weekend when they travel to Georgia State for an important CAA series against the Panthers.