Terps Drop Series Finale to Hofstra, 6-5
March 2, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Gerry Spessard (Hagerstown, Md./Smithsburg) homered for the second straight day and Steve Braun (Granada Hills, Calif./Pierce CC) extended his hitting streak to nine games, but the University of Maryland baseball team dropped it series finale with Hofstra, 6-5, Sunday afternoon at Shipley Field.
The Terps (4-4) were going for their first four-game sweep in program history, but had to settle for taking three out of four from the Pride (1-3).
Joe Palumbo's two-run single in the fourth inning gave the Terps their only lead of the day, 3-1. The Pride went ahead 5-3 in the top of the sixth and held off a couple Maryland rallies in the win.
The Terps cut the deficit to 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth on a one-out RBI double from first baseman Dan Benick (Glen Lyon, Pa./Nanticoke). However, Benick was stranded at third with one out as Palumbo struck out and Braun was robbed of a game-tying single on a nice defensive play by Hofstra pitcher Nick Panzarella, who fielded a sharp grounder destined for center field.
Down 6-4 entering the bottom of the eighth, Spessard led off with a home run down the right-field line, giving him three on the young season, tied for the most in the ACC.
Maryland came to bat in the bottom of the ninth still down 6-5 and things started well. Braun walked and stole second base. Jensen Pupa (Germantown, Md./Northwest), the Terps' starting pitcher and designated hitter, followed with a walk, putting two on with nobody out. However, Chad Durakis (Cockeysville, Md./St. Pauls) flied out to shallow right field, Mike Murphy (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Prep) flied out to left and Spessard grounded out to second on a bang-bang play at first base.
Pupa took the loss for the Terps, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Pupa fell to 0-2 on the season, despite a solid 2.53 ERA through two starts. Panzarella earned the win for Hofstra and Bobby Neelon earned a save, tossing three shutout innings in relief.
Durakis' third-inning single extended his hitting streak to all eight games this season.
The Terps' next game is at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Coppin State at Shipley Field.