The Terrapins baseball team appeared to have found an answer to its offensive struggles Saturday after recording five hits and leaving seven on base against Alabama on Friday.
Coach John Szefc’s squad turned in nine runs and three home runs Saturday, but it couldn’t carry the momentum into its rubber match with the Crimson Tide on Sunday.
The Terps stranded seven runners on base and fell to the Crimson Tide, 5-1, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It marks the Terps’ first three-game series loss of the season. Right-hander Brian Shaffer, who allowed two runs and two hits in five innings, took the loss.
For the third straight contest, the Crimson Tide took an early lead.
Shaffer hit third baseman Chance Vincent with a pitch in the third inning, and after a sacrifice bunt, right fielder Chandler Avant doubled to drive Vincent home. First baseman Cody Henry then singled, scoring Avant to give Alabama a 2-0 lead.
While Shaffer and right-hander Cameron Enck combined to retire 12 straight batters between the third and seventh innings, the Terps struggled to produce runs.
In the seventh inning, though, the Terps took advantage of their scoring opportunities.
After right fielder Anthony Papio and left fielder Jamal Wade singled, right-hander Nick Eicholtz’s throw to first base off catcher Justin Morris’ bunt was wide. The miscue allowed Papio to cross home plate, cutting Alabama’s lead to 2-1. The Terps left two runners on base in the frame.
The deficit returned to two runs in the eight, as Henry singled to drive in Avant, just like he had five innings earlier
Right-hander Hunter Parsons replaced right-hander Mike Rescigno moments later, and the Crimson Tide continue to extend the lead. After second baseman Cobie Vance doubled, designated hitter Connor Short also took two bags, scoring Vance and Henry to take a 5-1 advantage.
The Terps hit 1-for-10 with runners on base and received little help from their relievers. And after losing their season-opening series, it appears they’re still working to replace the 10 players they lost from last season’s squad.