Carried by its middle infielders and a strong running game, Maryland defeated Dayton 11-2 Sunday to go undefeated in the USA Baseball-Irish Classic in Cary, North Carolina.
Shortstop Kevin Smith and second baseman Nick Dunn combined for seven hits in 11 at-bats, six RBIs and three runs scored. Dunn also stole one of Maryland’s season-high six bases in the team’s third straight win.
Smith put together his second-straight multi-hit game, beginning to bust out of his early-season slump. The touted shortstop prospect entered the weekend batting .130 and dropped to a lower average with an 0-for-4 performance Friday. With his two doubles and three hits in five at-bats Sunday, Smith left North Carolina with his average up to .229.
Dunn set the tone for Maryland with a game-high four hits, three of those scoring a runner. He scored the second of three runs in Maryland’s first inning, who went through the lineup in the opening frame.
The early pressure helped knock out Dayton starter Tyler Jones in the third inning, with the freshman right-hander having given up eight baserunners in two-plus innings.
Left fielder Madison Nickens and third baseman AJ Lee led the way for the Terps on the bases, each stealing two bases. Nickens triggered a four-run outburst in the fifth inning by reaching with a bunt single and stealing his way to third.
Maryland was also effective on the bases in ways made less obvious by the box score. With a combination of speed and timely hitting, the Terrapins tagged up to third base on four fly ball outs. Three of those runners would eventually come around to score.
Defensively, Maryland made a pair of plays that kept Dayton from finding similar success on the basepaths. Starting pitcher Tyler Blohm picked off third baseman Pat Meehan at second base in the fifth inning. A frame later, catcher Dan Maynard nailed center fielder Robbie Doring trying to steal second.
Maynard and Blohm were involved in one particularly glaring error defensively, however. With designated hitter Maverick Prine on second, Maynard threw back to Blohm while the pitcher wasn’t looking. The ball made its way into center field as Prine circled home with an unearned run.
Prine was one of just two Flyers to score Sunday, with Blohm limiting Dayton to two runs in five three-hit innings. Striking out six, Blohm reduced his ERA to 3.65 and picked up his second victory.
The bullpen had no trouble covering the final four innings, giving up no runs and two hits. Mike Rescigno finished off the ninth by catching pinch-hitter Bailey Montoya looking for the Maryland pitching staff’s 10th strikeout.
Maryland’s win over Dayton was its third straight, moving its record to 4-5. The victory polished off an impressive weekend for the Terps, who defeated Notre Dame Friday and No. 6 North Carolina State Saturday.
The Terrapins have five games in the upcoming week, with William & Mary Tuesday, Saint Joseph’s Wednesday and Bryant over the weekend.
Edited by Austin Kleber.