Looking to complete a sweep, the Maryland baseball team led Penn State 3-1 in the second inning as the raucous dugout screamed for more when right fielder Marty Costes stepped to the plate with two runners on base.
The clubhouse shouted for Costes to “get tropical” and deliver “corn dogs to all these people,” referencing Will Ferrell’s character Jackie Moon from the movie Semi-Pro.
Costes answered their demands with a two-run triple that bewildered Penn State’s center fielder.
The Baltimore native collected two more hits to make it four on the day and came just a home run shy of the cycle as Maryland pounded Penn State 15-2 for the series sweep Sunday in College Park.
Costes’ triple was a high fly ball to that Penn State center fielder Nick Riotto struggled to track. Riotto made a last-second lunge across his body, but the ball dropped in front of him and bounced to the wall.
The treacherous College Park wind toyed with pop-ups and fly balls all day and may have factored in to Costes’ triple landing safely.
“It’s something to get used to,” Costes said of the wind. “I fear for anyone that’s steps foot in this park sometimes.”
Costes doubled in the fourth and came up to the plate with the bases loaded in the fifth looking to complete Maryland’s first cycle since Chuck Easter achieved the feat in April 2001. Esteban Doria, the team’s strength coach, told the dugout Costes only needed a home run to hit for the cycle, but the team quickly scolded him for fear of jinxing Costes’ potential achievement.
He settled for another double, which knocked in two more runs. Costes popped out in the seventh and eighth to finish 4-for-6 with two runs and tied Lee for a team-high five RBIs.
“I think that in theory, I should have tried to get on base a little bit more at the end of the game,” he said. “But I definitely had a lot of fun out there in trying to go for something that hasn’t been done in a while. I felt good to even be in that position.”
Costes was able to swing for the fences in the late innings while looking for the cycle because of how big of a lead the Maryland offense built Sunday.
“A lot of that pressure was taken off of me because of how well my teammates played,” he said. “Hats off to those guys.”
The rest of the team joined in on the Marty Party, as the team set its season-high with 19 hits.
Lee and catcher Nick Cieri accounted for seven of those hits batting in the bottom two spots of the order. The pair combined for seven runs and six RBIs.
“We’ve been an offense that predicates ourself on being deep one through nine,” Costes said. “If our bottom of the order can do that, it’ll force a lot of teams to rethink their strategy.”
Lee reached base in all five plate appearances and homered in the sixth and eighth to identical locations over the centerfield wall.
“After I hit the first one, everyone was like, ‘You won’t hit another one,’” Lee said. “And I said, ‘We’ll see what happens.’ It just so happened that I got a good pitch to hit, and it just so happened to go over again. When I got back in the dugout they were all shocked. They couldn’t believe it.”
The sophomore, who hit two home runs before Sunday, said the team always teases him when he hits one.
“They like to say that I don’t have a lot of power, I’m more of a speed guy [and] just get on base and use my legs,” Lee said.
After bringing the score to 15-2 with his second round-tripper, the dugout gave Lee the silent treatment instead of a warm welcome, which he blissfully ignored.
“I tried to play it off like they weren’t giving it to me, but it was fun,” Lee said. “When I hit a couple, they like to say it was a fluke or it was wind-aided or something like that. So I like to give it back to them when I get a couple.”
Maryland scored and recorded multiple hits in each of the game’s first six innings and did so again in the eighth after going down in order an inning earlier.
Meanwhile on the mound, Terps starter Taylor Bloom held Penn State in check and picked up his fourth win. Two solo home runs from right fielder Braxton Giavedoni gave the Nittany Lions their only runs against Bloom, who went seven innings and struck out four.
The outing was Bloom’s longest since March 12 against Bryant. He’s struggled recently and has pitched a combined 3.2 innings over two starts in the last eight days, giving up six earned runs.
“I think it was big for him, and it was big for us in our effort to get him right,” coach John Szefc said. “We could have taken him out in the fifth, because we had a fully-stocked bullpen, but he needed to get his pitch count up, he needed to pitch out of some jams and he did a pretty good job of that I think.”
The Terps moved to 9-3 in conference play with their sweep of the Nittany Lions. They travel to William & Mary Wednesday for a 6 p.m. game and then take on Michigan State at home next weekend.