Minnesota swept on road by Terrapins in their Big Ten debut

The Gophers will play at Siebert Field on Tuesday after 20 road games.

Gophers Dan Motl leads off the base on Feb. 13, 2014 at Seibert Field.

Daily File Photo; Patty Grover

Gophers Dan Motl leads off the base on Feb. 13, 2014 at Seibert Field.

Ben Gotz

In their first series as a part of the Big Ten, Maryland showed it knows how to make an entrance.

The Gophers dropped all three games in Maryland — their first conference series of the season — losing in 5-1, 12-9 and 8-3 decisions.

“They just had the timely hitting,” senior third baseman Tony Skjefte said. “That’s really all it is. When they needed a big hit, they got it.”

One big inning doomed the Gophers in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

Senior pitcher Ben Meyer worked two clean innings before giving up a double in the third. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third, but Meyer recorded a strikeout for the second out of the inning.

Instead of stranding its baserunner, Maryland rattled off five consecutive hits to take a 5-0 lead the Gophers couldn’t battle back from.

The Gophers looked like they were going to reverse their fortunes in the doubleheader’s second game, starting with centerfielder Dan Motl hitting a leadoff home run in the first at-bat of the game.

Minnesota pounced in the first two innings of play to take a 7-0 lead, but the large early deficit didn’t deter Maryland.

Another five-run inning — this one in the bottom of the fourth — allowed the Terrapins to regain the lead, and the Gophers were unable to claw their way back on top.

“To be honest, we just had too many free bases that we gave them with walks and hit [batsmen], and then they were able to get some timely hitting,” Motl said.

Maryland shut the Gophers out in the final three innings using four different pitchers en route to its second victory of the day.

The Gophers jumped out to another lead on Sunday, but once again couldn’t stave off a Terrapins comeback.

Redshirt sophomore Jordan Smith hit a two-run home run for the Gophers in the first inning, and in the top of the third, freshman Toby Hanson singled to drive in sophomore Matt Fiedler.

But after the Gophers held Maryland to no runs in the first two innings, the Terrapins scored in the next five to take an 8-3 lead, and the score held from there for Maryland to complete the sweep.

“We weren’t able to increase our lead today. We didn’t match-up the rest of the game,” head coach John Anderson said Sunday. “We didn’t make a push to add on once we got the three runs.”

The series ended the Gophers’ 20-game road trip to begin the season. Depending on the weather, Minnesota will play its first home game against Augsburg this Tuesday.

“It’s obviously tough, but it’s Minnesota weather,” Motl said. “A lot of teams do it, and you’ve just got to make the most of it. It really shows what you’re made of as a team, and I think we’ve played some pretty good baseball — it’s just things haven’t really bounced our way.”