Maryland, a team disillusioned with its season, withstood six home runs in an 11-8 defeat of Howard, a team confident about its future, yesterday at Shipley Field.
Maryland's Mark Ciardi (5-3), who pitched a complete game victory, entered the ninth with an 11-6 lead. But Howard sophomore Rozier Jordan led off with his third homer of the game, to left. One out later, shortstop Bobby Spencer hit his second homer of the day to make it 11-8.
Gerald Adams reached on third baseman Chris Stark's two-base error. Jeff Gravely popped out and Harold Ross walked. But with the tying run at bat, Ciardi got his 12th strikeout, getting Anthony Tannon for the fourth time, to improve the Terrapins' record to 12-18-1.
Howard's season, although an improvement (15-14 now; 15-29 last year), has followed a pattern familiar to Coach Chuck Hinton. A large turnover in players from last season and an injury to starting shortstop Mike Hill have depleted team depth and forced players out of position. Hinton had only 12 men available for yesterday's offensive spectacle.
"It's tough with only 12 guys, but if they were all quality players, you could get by with nine," said Hinton, whose team has five freshmen, four sophomores and six juniors.
Hinton's depth problems were obvious in the fourth with the Bison trailing, 8-4. Losing pitcher Gerald Adams (3-5) allowed a two-run homer to Kwan So, then hit Stark, the No. 9 batter.
With no pitcher warming up, Hinton called for Ross, the right fielder, to relieve Adams. Ross threw eight warmup pitches, then retired Scott Rowe (three hits, three RBI) on a double play ground out.
Howard's defense ranged from spectacular to pathetic. The Bison threw out two baserunners at third and another at the plate, yet committed five errors that resulted in four unearned runs.
"Every year, recruiting becomes tougher and tougher," Hinton said. "It's not just finding ballplayers, it's finding black ballplayers. Not that many area black kids are playing baseball these days. They are playing football and basketball." Of Hinton's five freshmen, only Tracy Proctor is from the District; the others are from out of the metropolitan area.
"We're confident that we can have an excellent team in the next couple of years," Hinton said. "We've got a solid base for the future."