NEWARK, Del. — Maryland closer John Murphy had allowed one hit through 8 1/3 innings this season, but needing one more strike to send Tuesday's game against Delaware into extra innings, left fielder Calvin Scott tagged him for an opposite field walk-off home run.
The longball left Murphy standing just off the mound staring at the plate. Delaware players spilled out of the dugout to celebrate the completion of their furious comeback.
After Maryland capitalized on erratic pitching to establish an early six-run lead, Delaware chipped away at the Terps' edge to capture a 7-6 victory.
"They kept their energy up the whole game, basically took it one inning at a time," center fielder Zach Jancarski said. "Even when they were down six, they kept pushing and ended up coming out on top."
An inning before the walk-off, coach Rob Vaughn brought in left-hander Grant Burleson with runners on the corners and one out in the eighth in an attempt to induce a double play.
Burleson forced a slow chopper up the middle and shortstop AJ Lee flipped to second baseman Nick Dunn, but Blue Hens center fielder Kevin Mohollen was called safe at first, bringing home the tying run.
"The middle had a great turn there," Vaughn said. "Their guy could really run — we knew that. Unfortunately, [Burleson] almost made too good of a pitch and [Mohollen] didn't get enough of the baseball."
Maryland struggled at the plate in last week's 7-1 loss against Delaware, and five days later, the Terps continued their futility. Jancarski led off the game with a triple into right-center field, but it took until the sixth for third baseman Taylor Wright's to record the team's second hit of the contest with a double.
"We just didn't really execute the plan that we bring day-in and day-out today as best as we've done it before," Jancarski said. "There were some good at-bats in there, but, you know, to have a big inning, to do what our offense does best, we need to string more together."
Still, the Maryland lineup capitalized on erratic pitching and suspect fielding in the third inning to establish a six-run lead before the Terps' pitching staff managed to squander the advantage.
Maryland never solved Delaware starter Matt Hornich last Thursday, the first of five left-handed starters the Terps would play in a five-game, six-day stretch. Maryland managed one run on three hits through five innings when facing Hornich in that College Park meeting.
Perhaps due to only having four days of rest between starts, Hornich lasted two innings against the Terps on Tuesday, allowing one run on one hit. Delaware's bullpen then surrendered five runs in the third inning.
Blue Hens right-hander Matt Ryan allowed three runs on two walks and a hit batter. Right-hander Nick Spadafino came in and promptly gave up two unearned runs from a botched force play and throwing error.
DiLuia maneuvered his way through the first and second innings after allowing two baserunners in each frame, but he struggled putting away batters in the fourth and was tagged for five runs on five hits, slimming Maryland's lead to 6-5. Right-hander Elliot Zoellner later surrendered the tying run in the eighth, and Murphy (0-1, 3.24 ERA) failed to extend the game in the ninth.
"They swing really hard to their [opposite field] gap, and that's a sign of a really good offensive approach," Vaughn said. "When you have wind like this and you cut a fastball over the plate, that's kind of a dangerous recipe. So, [Scott] put a great swing on it to finish it."