As had been the case in the debut of the 2016 Alabama baseball team and the opening of the new Sewell-Thomas Stadium Friday night, things started well for the Crimson Tide on Saturday. But when the bad news came, it came in waves.
Maryland did nothing at the plate in the first three innings against Alabama starter Jake Walters, but in the fourth the Terrapins clubbed three two-run homers and held on for a 9-5 victory to even the series at 1-1.
Alabama and Maryland will play the rubber game beginning at Noon Sunday. The Crimson Tide will send junior righty Nick Eicholtz to the mound while the Terps will call on sophomore right-hander Brian Shaffer. The game will be televised on SEC Network-plus.
Walters had six strikeouts through the first three innings, but in the fourth he was tagged for two-run home runs by Madison Nickens and and Nick Cieri. Walters was replaced by freshman Dylan Duarte, who gave up the third two-run homer of the inning to Anthony Papio.
Alabama had loaded the bases in the second inning, and Chance Vincent drove in one run with a single, but that was all the Tide could muster.
Following the Maryland onslaught in the top of the fourth, freshman Cobie Vance blasted a solo home run to cut the lead to 6-2.
Maryland added a run in the fifth to make it 7-2. Alabama got a run back in the fifth and two in the sixth to close to 7-5, but the Terps put it away with two runs in the eighth inning.
Alabama out-hit Maryland, 13-9, and played errorless ball, but couldn’t overcome the damage done by the Terrapins homers. Also hurting the Tide cause was leaving 10 men on base, while the Terrapins stranded only three.
Vance led the Tide in hitting, finishing 4-for-5 with a solo home run, two RBI, one run scored and a stolen base. Connor Short and Chance Vincent each contributed three hits and one run apiece, with Vincent adding two RBI to his totals.