COLLEGE PARK — In a Big Ten conference faceoff between the University of Maryland and Ohio State University baseball teams, center fielder Ridge Winand hit two home runs, including a three-run homer in the top of the third inning.
Pitcher Griffan Smith also threw 10 strikeouts to propel the Buckeyes to a much-needed 5-1 win over the Terrapins at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium on April 21.
With the win, Ohio State clinched the three-game series after splitting a doubleheader with Maryland on April 20, taking a 14-8 loss in Game 1 and a 10-9 win in Game 2.
In the top of the second inning with one out, Winand crushed a solo home run on a high fly ball to right field to put OSU on the board first. Then in the top of the third, the lefty ripped another fly ball to right-centerfield – this time a homer that also drove in Brent Todys and Zach Dezenzo for runs – giving the Buckeyes a 4-0 lead on their way to the win.
“We needed this one. It was a huge win to boost our standings in the Big Ten,” said Winand, a 6-foot-2 senior. He also acknowledged his team’s all-around effort and Smith’s career performance on the mound.
“We played really clean baseball today. I think that was our biggest thing. We came up with big quality hits when we needed it, and again, as I said, Griffan Smith pitched a great game.”
In addition to striking out 10, Smith (4-2) allowed four hits and one run after pitching all nine innings to pick up the win.
On the other hand, Maryland starting pitcher Trevor LaBonte recorded four strikeouts and yielded four runs on eight hits and three walks over six innings. The 6-foot-6 right-hander falls to 1-4 on the season with the loss.
“Those two pitches are obviously the two that I wish I could have back,” said LaBonte, describing how the two fastballs he threw to Winand for home runs were not placed where he wanted them to be.
Right-hander Mark DiLuia relieved LaBone in the top of the seventh and gave up three hits and a run to go with two strikeouts. The Terps (19-21, 6-6 Big Ten) totaled four hits in 29 at-bats. Ohio State’s outfield would not allow deep fly balls and line drives hit by Maryland’s Taylor Right, Randy Bednar and Benjamin Cowles turn into scoring plays.
“We just didn’t get that one big hit today. So honestly that’s the story of today from my point of view,” said Terps catcher Justin Vought, who went 1-for-3 at in the box.
Cowles scored UMD’s lone run in the bottom of the third off a sacrifice bunt by shortstop AJ Lee. Cowles, Lee, Vought and Rednar finished with a hit apiece and combined for three doubles for the Terps. For Ohio State (22-19, 6-6), right fielder Dominic Canzone was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two doubles while Winand was 2-for-4 with two runs and four RBI, and Dezenzo recorded a hit and a run.
“We knew how good Ohio State was, and that just tells you how much you gotta finish games when you gotta chance,” Maryland Head Coach Rob Vaughn.
“Having that chance yesterday (April 20) to win the series and again, they (Ohio State) battled back, showed a lot of toughness on their end, and we just couldn’t quite finish it off. And that’s why it’s key – when you are in opportunities to finish people, you got to finish them.”
Vaughn, who is in his second year as head coach, said fatigue might have played a factor in the loss but felt his team just couldn’t “string it together” offensively.
“More than anything I didn’t feel like we went and coughed the game up today. I thought we got beat today,” he said
“As a coach, obviously any time you lose that’s not what you want, but I thought our guys showed up and competed.”
The Terps will host Virginia Commonwealth, a non-conference opponent they’ve beaten twice this season, on April 23 at 4 p.m. before opening a three-game series at Penn State from April 26-28.