Maryland played its doubleheader Sunday without its star shortstop in the lineup. The Terrapins offense made Kevin Smith’s absence hardly noticeable.
Back-to-back home runs triggered a four-run outburst in the third inning and led the way to Maryland’s resounding 9-1 win over Rutgers to complete a series sweep in Piscataway Sunday.
Right fielder Marty Costes led off the third by blasting a high fastball over the centerfield wall. His sixth home run of the season carried well over the “410 feet” marker plastered on the fence and into the trees looming beyond the field.
First baseman Brandon Gum immediately followed by lofting starter Gaby Rosa’s next pitch over the fence in left, giving the Terps a 4-0 lead. Gum also drove in the game’s first two runs with a single in the opening frame.
Maryland tacked two more on in the fourth after Ryan Fleming came in to pitch in relief. Rutgers’ catcher tried to check designated hitter Will Watson back to third base, but the throw sailed into left field and Watson came in to score. Patrick Hisle, Smith’s replacement at shortstop, then struck a double into the gap for his first RBI of the season.
Smith exited Friday’s game an inning after he landed awkwardly on his shoulder trying to corral a bobbled popup.
The Terrapins scored three more runs in the following two innings. Costes scored after singling in the fourth and picked up an RBI with a sac fly in the fifth. The sophomore from Baltimore went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs.
Costes’ offense helped give starter Tyler Blohm a comfortable lead to work with, but a defensive mistake let in the lone run surrendered by Blohm. The freshman lefty exited with two on and two out in the fifth, and reliever Jared Price induced a pop fly to right. Costes misplayed the ball and dropped it though, and Blohm was charged with an unearned run.
Despite Costes’ error, Blohm had more than enough run support to pick up his fourth win in five starts. The Severna Park native struck out five in 5.2 innings and gave up just one hit.
Rutgers managed only four hits the whole game, its third loss in a row. The Scarlet Knights played a single run in each of its weekend contests against Maryland, getting outscored 20-3.
The 18-8 Terps come home to play Richmond Tuesday before traveling to Lincoln to face the 15-10-1 Nebraska Cornhuskers next weekend.