Baseball Sweeps Maryland, 9-5
Communications Student Assistant
BATON ROUGE – The LSU baseball team defeated Maryland, 9-5, to earn its first three-game series sweep of the season Sunday afternoon at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
With the win, LSU improved to 7-1 on the season while Maryland fell to 1-5.
Sophomore right-hander Caleb Gilbert entered in relief for the Tigers in the fifth inning and earned the win, his first of the season. He fired two innings and struck out a career-high six batters.
Hunter Newman entered in the eighth inning and fired 1.1 innings, walked one and struck out one to work his first save of the season.
Right-hander Tyler Blohm (1-1) suffered the loss after tossing 2.1 innings and allowing five runs –two earned—on four hits. He walked four and struck out two.
Starting pitcher Eric Walker threw four innings and allowed three runs on seven hits, striking out six and walking two.
The Tigers return to action against Nicholls at The Box Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game will be available online only via SEC Network+ and can be accessed at WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN app. It will also be broadcast live on the LSU Sports Radio Network, including 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge. Fans can also go to LSUsports.net for live stats and audio.
“I was concerned about the mindset of our game with an early start today and cold weather, and with us having won the first two games of the series,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “Of course, they hit two home runs and right away we’re in a 3-0 hole in the top of the first. The way our hitters responded to that I think was very encouraging. We fought back, had a lot of great at-bats, and were able to take the lead.
“Walker did a good job in getting us through the fourth inning, and Caleb Gilbert threw the ball as well as I’ve ever seen him throw it here. He pitched great and kind of took control of the game.”
Maryland centerfielder Zach Jancarski hit a solo shot to left field to lead off the game for the Terrapins. With two outs and right fielder Marty Costes on second base, designated hitter Will Watson hit a home run into left-centerfield to give the Terps the 3-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Tigers cut the Maryland lead to one run in the bottom of the second. Right fielder Greg Deichmann led off the inning with a four-pitch walk. With one out, designated hitter Rankin Woley and third baseman Josh Smith drilled consecutive doubles as LSU trailed 3-2.
LSU had the 7-3 lead after pushing five runs across in the bottom of the third. Second baseman Cole Freeman started the inning with a single to the pitcher and moved to second on a wild pitch. Shortstop Kramer Robertson doubled down the left field line to score Freeman and knot the game at 3-3.
With the bases loaded and one out, the Tigers took the 4-3 lead when Smith was hit by a pitch. Catcher Michael Papierski followed with a two-run single through the left side, and after batting around Freeman dribbled a RBI single to score Smith.
Deichmann smacked a 451-foot home run over the right field wall, which scored Robertson, who reached on a single to lead off the inning, as LSU increased its lead to 9-3.
The Terps added two runs in the top of the seventh to make it 9-5 LSU. LSU right-hander Doug Norman allowed three consecutive singles, which scored the leadoff hitter, third baseman Kevin Biondic. After striking out a batter and walking another, Norman was taken out of the game with an apparent arm injury, and senior right-hander Collin Strall entered to pitch.
Maryland left fielder Madison Nickens singled through the right side, driving in second baseman Nick Dunn. Costes attempted to score but was caught at home by Papierski on a throw from Deichmann to end the inning.
“Our offense kind of got lax, and we sleptwalk offensively over the last few innings,” Maineri said. “Fortunately, we made some outstanding defensive plays, and Hunter Newman came in and got the last four outs to close out the game.”