When first baseman and right-handed pitcher Kevin Biondic took to the mound for the Terps in the bottom of the eighth, it was the first time that a matchup featured him on the mound and not at the plate. With a shutout on the line, the senior helped secure Maryland’s 4-0 victory over Tennessee on Friday, Feb. 16, in game one of the Knoxville series.
Though Terps leadoff hitter Marty Costes started the game off with a single only two pitches into the season, the game remained scoreless through three innings, including a messy top of the second when both AJ Lee and Will Watson were picked off at first base on consecutive plays.
Maryland found some life in the fourth when second baseman Nick Dunn put Maryland on the board first with a home run to right field with one out. Then, junior transfer Taylor Wright added to the Terps’ lead, singling, stealing second and third, and then coming home off of Watson’s second single of the game.
With a two-run lead heading into the bottom of the fourth, Terrapin senior pitcher Taylor Bloom did his best to not keep the lead in tact with a scoreless inning that included two flyouts and a strikeout.
Tennessee pulled their starter, right-handed pitcher Zach Linginfelter, in the top of the fifth inning after he had recorded six strikeouts and had six hits against him on 78 pitches. The Vols brought in freshman right-hander Chase Wallace, who recorded one strikeout in two innings pitched and walked two runners.
In the seventh inning Tennessee brought in left-hander Garrett Crochet, who recorded two strikeouts and allowed two runs in 2.2 innings pitched. He was replaced by Richard Jackson, redshirt-junior right-handed pitcher, who finished the game for the Vols.
Bloom left the game after the seventh inning, and gave Biondic the mound for his first pitching appearance for the Terps. Bloom finished the night with nine strikeouts, matching his career-high, and 97 pitches.
Biondic started off the bottom of the eighth shaky, hitting Vols leadoff hitter Jay Charleston. The Maryland senior pushed through and forced out the next two hitters, sophomores Justin Ammons and Pete Derkay. During Ammons’ at-bat Charleston made it to second on a passed ball, then moved to third on Derkay’s ground-out. With Charleston in scoring position, Biondic walked Lipcius on a full-count.
Then, Santiago stepped to the plate, with two outs, two men on and the the chance to tie the game. Biondic pitched to a full count and caught Santiago swinging, recording his first strikeout as a pitcher with the Terps.
Dunn added to Maryland’s lead with his second home run of the night with one out in the top of the eighth inning, this time sending the pitch over the right-center field fence. knocking the ball over the fence between right and center field. Dunn finished the night with 2-3, including two walks.two hits in three at bats and two walks.
After pitching the eighth inning Biondic reentered the game at first, leading off Maryland’s offense in the top of the ninth. He fouled out and catcher Justin Morris flew out, leaving the Terps up 3-0 with two outs. Enter freshman right fielder Randy Bednar.
Bednar singled on the first pitch of the at-bat, sending the ball right back up the middle.. This brought Costes to the plate. Costes stood his ground, and with a full count, drove the ball into the gap in left field, marking his first double of the season and allowing Bednar to score, putting Maryland up 4-0.
The Terps had a chance for some more insurance in the ninth, but a Wright ground out to first base with the bases loaded left three runners stranded.
Terrapin right-handed pitcher John Murphy came in for the bottom of the ninth to close the door on the Volunteers, but got off to a somewhat rocky start. Murphy retired Daniels and Wyatt Sapp, but walked center fielder Brodie Leftridge and first baseman Luc Lipcius (who entered the game in the eighth inning).
With two outs, Leftridge on second and Lipcius on first, and the chance to bring the Vols within one run of the Terps, Charleston came to the plate. Murphy was able to get Charleston to flyout to right field, giving Maryland its first victory of 2018.
The Terps take on the Vols on Saturday, Feb. 17, at 2 pm, and Sunday, Feb. 18, at 1 pm to close out the three game series.
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